Kids Parties- Is it just keeping up the the Joneses?
My daughter turned two this weekend. Yes, I know, it is hard to believe. I can barely wrap my brain around it either. However, you know what the hardest part of her turning two was for me? It was- To have a party or not to have a party? It was the ultimate question on my mind. What would people think if we opted out of this birthday milestone? Would we be labeled as bad, unloving parents?
I drove myself mad with this conundrum. I wanted so badly for her birthday to go right I kind of freaked out. There were blog posts about it. I consulted friends and family. Everyone had an opinion and an idea of what I should be doing or forgetting all together. When it came right down to it I felt like my husband and I would be pretty bad parents if we went, what I call the "70s route".
The "70s Route" is a term I use whenever I refer to how things were done when I was a kid. Meaning, no big fuss, usually family-oriented and things were simple. I sometimes think my whole parenting style could be some bad retro comedy in itself except that I'm wearing 'flared' or 'boot-cut' jeans and not bell bottoms.
But I digress...
After talking it over with my husband and feeling that it would make no difference to our daughter we opted for a family day. Meaning just us. Not even grandparents. Why go nuts and spend gobs of money for a kid that did not fully absorb the concept of a birthday anyway? Instead, we made waffles for breakfast complete with extra syrup and let our cutie assist in the making of her cake. She ate raw cake batter too. Before breakfast. The shame. We took the tot to Toys R Us and had just as much fun as she did playing with balls, bikes and blocks. My spouse had to rip me from the Wii games section as I claimed to no avail that the trivia games and underwater discovery discs were for our kid and not me. We spent almost two hours wandering the aisles of this kiddie holy land until we decided to take her out for a birthday lunch. When posed with the question, "Red Robin or Thai?" She yelled out, "I eat Thai food!" So there you go.
It was a good day. Full of fun, presents (the kid got a cart of toys, clothes and more from friends and family) and good old fashioned from the box Duncan Hines cake with chocolate frosting. She wore a birthday crown and blew out her candles. She ran around the house on a sugar high yelling, "BIRTHDAY!" and I have to say I was a bit envious. That 'no care in the world' attitude is infectious but it is also hard to sustain as an adult.
It made me realize that all my fussing and analyzing over what would be the perfect way to spend her day was not only ridiculous but not about her and more about me. I cared more about how other people would view me as a parent if I didn't throw my child a party than I did about the actual day. That is not only insane but also not the '70s route' I so adore. After having all that fun in such an easy manner I've learned something. Next year? I'm not throwing a party then either. Unless of course she wants me to and if that is the case, then she can plan it.