Birthday Bash Burnout

autumnsbdayI thought I had learned my lesson and learned it well. Last year I invited six five-year-old girls to my home to celebrate my oldest daughter’s fifth birthday party.

We finger painted. We blew bubbles. We colored. We danced. We belted out the latest Disney tunes. That took all of fifteen minutes. I still had another 45 minutes to fill and I was out of ideas.

This year I had planned to improve. My daughter’s list of who to invite grew by leaps and bounds. I remained firm. I sent invitations out early. I booked the local fast food restaurant’s play area. I had learned my lesson.

I mentioned the upcoming party to a friend of mine. In return I got sympathetic advice to be sure to pack some aspirin. No, that was last year. She smiled knowingly.

“Mom can I have everyone spend the night? Please,” my daughter begged. I gave in. We were up until midnight. The next day, we removed the birthday banner and the crepe paper. My daughter was thrilled. I was tired. The party had been a success.

Less than two weeks later and another birthday bash is upon me. My youngest daughter is about to turn three. I plan a simple family party. I’ll make a cake and put up the banner.

Then we see THE cake. On the cover of Woman’s Day magazine is a cake complete with a blue Jello pool and Teddy Graham swimmers and sun bathers.

“Please?” my soon to be three year old begs. I relent. Have you ever tried to use icing to create tiny bathing suits on teeny tiny teddy bear shaped crackers at 2 a.m.? I keep telling myself it is worth it. She only turns three once. I’m creating memories.

I crawl into bed around 3 a.m. I’m up again at seven with my husband as he prepares for work. He asks what the house looks like. House? Oh no! I get up and string some crepe paper and put up the banner just in time.

The birthday girl wakes up and wanders out of her room. She stares up at the banner hanging on the living room wall.

“Can I go into the kitchen Mommy?” she asks.

“Sure,” I answer perplexed. I follow her as she walks into the kitchen and looks up at the bare ceiling.

“Where’s the rest?” she asks. It seems I didn’t decorate the kitchen with enough crepe paper for her demanding tastes. I quickly show her the pool cake. She is enchanted.

I think from now on I am sticking to my original plan. I will adhere to the KISS method. (Keep it Simple, Stupid). I will buy the cake, keep the party to family members and one friend maximum. I will….

“Mom,” interrupts my four year old. “Can I have a pool cake for my birthday?” Before I can stop myself, I have agreed to a pool cake, and a party for ten of her closest friends. I finally remembered how to say no when she asked for the horse. She gives me a kiss.

KISS, my plan…. So much for that plan. Her party will be in October, which reminds me…. I need to make their Halloween costumes. Can you pass the aspirin?

Copyright © 2000 Linda Sherwood

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