Things I Learned This Weekend — this weekend being the weekend of my son’s 3rd birthday party…
I should note that the poor little tyke had been screwed out a proper birthday celebration for the previous two years thanks to the all-important family reunion beach thing, put on by the huz’s clan, that we’ve attended for the past 15 years or so.
I like to think of it as “THAT WHICH CANNOT EVER BE HELD AT ANY TIME OTHER THAN THE 25th WEEK OF THE YEAR OR LIFE AS WE KNOW IT SHALL COME TO A SCREECHING HALT!”
See, it just so happens that mah precious babay’s birthday falls during THE SACRED WEEK and thus, we cannot have a birthday party at home because nobody on the huz’s side would drive their tired asses 25 minutes in from the beach to attend AND IT WOULD BE SELFISH OF US TO ASK THAT…even if it was his first birthday, which is, to most people (like his parents), somewhat of a BIG EFFING DEAL.
So we celebrated his first birthday at the beach and it sucked. It couldn’t have been more of an afterthought but who cares because, you know, HE’LL HAVE ANOTHER BIRTHDAY NEXT YEAR.
Last year was the same kind of nonsense, more or less, and P’s birthday was something of a non-event. We opted not to do the family reunion thing, which was being held 3 hours south, and had a small party with a few close friends. Woo hoo.
This year, I was determined to give P his very own full-fledged kid party and that’s what we did. And it was cool. Everyone had fun. And considering that it was held outside at a park, it wasn’t even that hot. No extended family members were in attendance, as expected, and we didn’t care. It was a great party.
I tried to make the party as green as possible but dude..not as easy as it sounds. We did, however, bring an empty box and collected all the recyclable stuff. Also, I totally broke from standard kid party operating procedure and didn’t give out a treat bag full of useless crap because seriously, does anyone need anymore plastic whistles or mini yo-yo’s or ball-bearing puzzles or tiny bottles of bubbles or themed pencils and erasers or mini-packs of crayons or plastic slinkies floating around in the back seat of their car or in the junk drawer or under their kids’ beds?
I also didn’t have the kids do one of those pre-fab foam crafts, which, no offense, has got to be the stupidest waste of time and resources ever invented. I hate those foam door hangers and visors and crowns etc. that you make them sit down and decorate. I can’t tell you much of that junk has entered my home over the years. Seriously. Cannot stand.
All I sent the kids home with was their booty from the piñata (Smarties and Sweet Tarts) and a punch balloon. Remember those? it’s a big latex balloon with a rubber band handle and you bop it back and forth against your knuckles? Now those? Are a fun parting gift. And they’re latex which is biodegradable. I know…am genius :)
Now, as promised, here’s the short list of what I learned this weekend:
1) Just blow up about a hundred balloons because they were the most coveted thing at the whole damn party. Kids kept accidentally popping them and then asking for more and when there weren’t enough (because they were supposed to be decorations!) there was some balloon-stealing and subsequent fussing going on (this includes the 4, 5 and 7 year olds, too). Next time, I’m just going to pass out a bajillion balloons to the kids and everyone will be happy as shit.
2) Don’t buy anything your kid actually likes for a piñata. Case in point — my son loves trucks and construction equipment so we got him a piñata shaped like a dump truck. Um hello? When your son sees everyone beating the crap out of the piñata shaped like one his favorite things in the world? It’s not going to be pretty. Next time I’m getting one shaped like a snake because when I showed him one outside the other day? He no likey.
3) From now on, I will always make food for the grown-ups. Because the party was at 10am, I made two quiches (one vegetarian, one with sausage and cheese) and they were totally gobbled up. Doesn’t it suck when you go to a party and there’s nothing but kiddie-crap set out to eat?
4) No matter that your son has never seen Cars or Spiderman or Batman, simply because he is a boy, some part of every gift, whether it’s the wrapping paper, gift bag, card or the present itself, will feature the aforementioned marketing juggernauts. It’s, like, a rule.
5) You DON’T have to have a specific theme for a party. I know all the party stores and party supply catalogs would have you believe otherwise but really — you can break that silly rule and nothing terrible will happen. I used party stuff from previous years’ themes (Thomas the Tank Engine and Fire Trucks and some generic red plates and napkins) and picked up a few other things emblazoned with construction equipment and cute frogs and Curious George and we just rolled with the totally unmatchy-matchy anti-theme theme.
6) People do not care how obnoxious certain toys are or how much they make you want to rip your ears off. They will buy them for your child anyway. And then LAUGH about it.
Amazingly, the whole party went off with absolutely no stressing out on my part — a miracle I can probably attribute to a minute dose of physician-prescribed Xanax :)