The Circus

This post has been on my mind for days now.

The Birthday Party. For a child.

What is such a time of excitement for your child and family can turn into a nightmare quickly.

Whom do you invite:  family only or just a few close friends or everyone you ever said hi to?

Do you invite your friends or just your child's friends? 

Do you end up with a random group of folks who don't know each other or just a small group of people who know you, your child and each other?

What about games? Do you really need an activity or is giving a group of toddlers enough sugar to power a locomotive entertainment enough?

Oh my, the presents. Should you open them with guests present or save them for after the aforementioned sugar high?

How do you find a balance between food adults want to eat and stuff kids want to eat? Scratch that. Just feed the kids sugar and the adults real food.

I love a theme. I just go to the invite store and peruse the aisles looking for something I can work with. The theme powers me to plan. (and spend.) Never mind asking my child what kind of party she wants. Right now, it's what Mama wants!

Let me explain what's been going on in our house for the last few years regarding THE BIRTHDAY PARTY.

So we have two kids. If you are expecting to have more than one child, I suggest keeping it all family until you just can't anymore. I didn't really consider this idea, being one who likes to plan, cook and entertain. Looking back, I have enjoyed every party we've done, but looking forward, I think I'm in over my head. I forgot to consider the fact that siblings of guests would come into the picture. I've always liked the idea of a child's age+1 as the number of friends to invite, but someone else doesn't agree with me.

Just like we talked about during the Christmas season, it's easier to stay simple and add more later. It's definitely harder to go from spectacular to simple. Even now, I think we're still in the range in which it will be easy to scale back for my kids, although my prideful self doesn't want to do that. I want to invite everyone under the sun. But I haven't.

For both of our children, we've tried to keep things the same. 

First Birthday: family guests, a lunch, a few decorations

Second Birthday: family+3 friends (child's friends), big food spread, decorations, games, favors

Third Birthday: pretty big production-I went overboard, family+friends of child+friends of ours, big food spread, decorations, games, games, favors

See where this is going? We've got until September until AE's next birthday. By then I'm afraid I'll forget how I'm feeling now. I am however considering the circus for a theme...


Lisa said...

It IS tricky, and I'm sure gets more complicated as the kids get older and start making their desires known.

My husband and I both come from families with four kids. Although we are both oldest, by the time we got around to having kids, there were already so many between the two families and we'd done SO many parties, just family.

So when Avery's first party rolled around, I was all about simple. Just family and a cookout. That's what we've done for all the parties so far, although I love to entertain and tend to go a little crazy with the food, too.

My baby in July will make the 13th grandkid, just on my side, so we are even starting to combine those born in the same month, when possible. Even though most of the family lives local, I feel bad dragging everyone out every other weekend.

I'm thankful for a large family, but it can make things interesting.

Happy planning...I recommend leaning towards the simple. :)

Tracey said...

Enjoyed this post; I also struggle with birthday planning each year (made more difficult by the fact that my girls' birthdays are on December 1st and December 3rd). I always start out meaning to keep it simple, but it sometimes gets out of hand....

Have a great evening!

missy said...

great post. i so get the birthday circus. i LOVE planning my kids parties. get way into the theme and having everything tie into it. go way overboard and about kill us all in the process. one funny fact: every year for every kid's birthday i make some major flaw on the invitation. forget the date, get my phone number wrong, don't say it's a birthday party, etc. it's my trademark, i guess.

Joyce said...

I enjoyed your post. It made me SMILE!It reminded me of conversations with my daughter about her childs BD parties.

Melissa said...

I totally understand! Birthday parties are weakness of mine! I LOVE throwing abig party to celebrate th ebirth of my child, but in the process I end up setting precedent for what our parties are expected ot be! I have 2 parties coming up. My boys will be 2 in July (last year we did a monkey themed party for their 1st birthday) and my daughter will be 4 in October. We had the BEST time with her party last year... princess theme. I'm already trying to plan the next 2 parties. Good luck with your party planning too!!