Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Birthday Dilemna

Caroline's 5th birthday is 3 weeks from Thursday and we STILL don't know what we're going to do for it. Ugh. I'm really not a birthday party person and other than each of the kids having a "party" for their first birthday, we haven't done one since. I'm just not a believer in the fact that they need one to have their day celebrated/honored by some kind of big party every year, especially in these younger years. And as luck would have it, we really haven't had a lot of other kid birthday parties to attend so it's not like either kid expected one. Yes, we go to a few a year, but it's hardly been enough to make them think that they need a party too. But, that could be changing. This Saturday, they have been invited to two birthday parties in the same day. The one in the later afternoon is down the street for a neighbor girl who is turning 4. They've always had parties for her at home and include a lot of family and a few friends. But then last week, the kids got their first birthday party invitation from a school friend. It's for a girl that is in Caroline's class and who she likes a LOT and it's at Chuck E Cheese. A place that both kids have always wanted to go and we've never taken them. Plus, she saw the invitation! So, I thought about it and decided to let them go to both. Should be quite a day.

But that just leads me back to decide what I want to do for her party. One of the big problems at this point is that at this age, it's still kind of common for parents to stay with their kids at any kind of party. So while that's okay, that means that more people are having to be invited to any kind of party. And now there's the whole issue of inviting kids from school and who gets invited and who doesn't. And then add the issue in that I really don't feel like having a bunch of people over to my house at the moment - I've got enough to manage right now with working, 3 kids, and the holidays coming - an afternoon of insanity doesn't really appeal to me. So the natural response would be to do it outside the house, but where? It's already only 3 weeks away and I haven't done anything plus we really aren't looking to spend a bunch of money either.

I asked Jason what he thought and he laughed and said, "Don't ask me! I HATED birthday parties when I was a kid!!!" So basically, I'm pretty much alone on this decision. I've asked Caroline what she wants to do and she can't really give me any guidance either. Over the past 4 years, we've just had grandparents/aunts/uncles over for dinner, cake, and gifts and they've all been happy with that. So maybe that's the route we'll go again. I honestly just don't have the energy right now between all of us having a cold/cough for the last 3 weeks, not getting a decent night's sleep because someone is always waking me up at least twice, and just having a lot on my plate. Maybe that's selfish, I don't know. As a kid, my mom made the decision early on that if we had parties, we were only allowed to have them every other year. And even when we did have them, they were generally at our house and were fairly simple. I just don't know if Caroline will feel like she's missing out if she doesn't get some kind of real party. Not that she'll never get one, maybe just not yet.

Even if she doesn't get a party, I still want to do something fun/special with her so don't think it will go unnnoticed. Maybe I'm just one of those people that believes that while a birthday is important, it doesn't need to become some kind of blown out affair every year. I mean, we all have birthdays every year, right? Or maybe I'm just a birthday humbug.


Lisa :) said...

We always did the family/few friend parties. My daughters birthdays are 8 days apart. We always did the parties together. (which I always hated having to do with my sister and I swore I would nevermake my children do it)! It is too hard to have everyone give uo a Saturday or Sunday two weekends in a row. My sons birthday is Dec. 1 and that was hard enough to get everyone together because at that point everyone is fixated on putting up the tree and shopping. As long as you always make it seem special to them, I don't think they will feel like they didn't have anything special. Heck, I have always hated my birthday on the 21st (same as yours) and I still hate it to this day. I feel like you can't have that special day for yourself because there is always just too much to get done for the holiday. Hang in there! I am sure what ever you decide Caroline will enjoy.

Viv said...

I say go with what you feel that you can handle and what's right. I'm sure Caroline will love whatever you do as long as you make her day special!

Christine said...

I agree that if you don't think she'll miss it- skip it! This will probably be the last year she won't think much of not having a party anyway. If you do feel like you have to do something, I'm sure there are TONS od placves to do parties and I've found that once you factor in the cost of feeding/entertaining everyone at your house, it's cheaper (or at least the same) to go to a party place. And TONS easier- all you have to do is show up! We've done Chuck E Cheese and a kids party place already and this year it's at a plaster painting place so they do a craft, then have a short party- easy peasy! You could always make it a week or 2 after her bday if you want more time or sooner if you want less kids to show (haha!!!).

Don't stress about it!

Kelly said...

You are NOT a birthday humbug. Please, if you start this route now you'll end with Caroline on "My Sweet Sixteen". Ha!
Family parties and home parties are more then fun. As long as she's getting gifts and the people who love her are wishing her happy birthday she will be more then happy.
You could always see if the pre-school will let you bring in cupcakes that day for her class. That way she feels she's celebrating with her friends.
If you need any help with getting something together let me know!
You're an awesome mother and whatever you come up with be great!!!

Anonymous said...

I wouldn't worry. Anything is special to them at this age.

Of course you will have to do a family party with the g'parents and all, but beyond that is icing on the cake.

Emily's friends party this year was very last minute, but she did have lots of fun. Honestly, it could have been with 2 or 3 friends and she would have had a blast. Her fav game was musical chairs (w/o taking away a chair). Cheap and easy entertainment old-school style! The kids loved it!!!

(P.S. Of course C&B would have been invited if it weren't in the middle of the week and at night!!!)

You could always go on a mommy/daughter date and do a fun outing with just you two...paint pottery or go out to eat or something or come visit US!!! I have lots of ideas!!!

Mama said...

I agree...these parties get out of hand and expensive, not to mention the gifts...each parent wants to top the other so their kid can be the one who gives the "BEST" birthday presents. Oh, its a nightmare. Hang onto simplicity as long as you can. As for who to invite and who not to (when the time comes), one Mom I met has a rule that her kids can only invite the number of kids to a party that matches the age they are turning (i.e, turning 5 then 5 kids can be invited). It keeps the party smaller and you don't have 20+ kids at your house. Good luck! I vote for keeping it simple with just family this year. I am glad Gretchen is born in July...I hope to escape inviting school friends to her parties!

Lisa :) said...

I agree with Anonymous. Stick to your family party and have a Spa Day with Caroline. Girls love to have their nails painted and a nice lunch out with Mom :)

Viv said...

A spa day sounds so grown up and perfect for a 5 year old! Take your camera and capture your big girl being a princess. And it's your special day too cause it's the 5 year anniversary of you becoming a Mom for the 1st time! I may have to steal this idea when Makenzie turns 5 in 2010 which will be perfect since my sister is getting married 2 days before M's birthday so I'll do it ealy and kill 2 birds with 1 stone! Maybe I'll make it a spa day with me, M, my Mom and sister! Ok now I'm rambling..... sorry, I just hope I can remember this idea for 2 years!

Anonymous said...

Don't stress about it! You're the parent and you know you will do something to celebrate. Save your energy(and stress) for when the "big things" come up later in her life. This is where parents put themselves in the position of manipulation. Be true to your values and don't set Caroline (or the others) up for all of this drama. She'll be fine whatever your decision if you are decisive.