Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Childhood is magical

I had a really great childhood! Growing up I have such fond memories of summers in the pool, playing manhunt with the neighborhood kids, and stopping the ice cream lady (Mary Ann) for strawberry frozen fruit bars and screw balls. My sister and I both have Birthdays in the winter — hers in January, mine in March — and despite not being able to have an outdoor party, our parties were the best! Extend the dining room  table, stream some colorful ribbon from the ceiling fan and chandelier, order a pizza, buy a Carvel ice cream cake, rent a video camera, play dress up and blow out the candles in the midst of a few friends, a couple cousins, and the best aunts a girl could ask for.

Twenty five years later Birthday parties look a little different. For starters, parents do not drop their kids off anywhere to enjoy a Birthday party. Kid parties include not just the Moms these days, but most Dads come too. Many of our friends with children choose to have their kids' Birthday parties out of the home in a bounce castle place or bowling alley, for example. And rightly so, since the cost of an at-home party could be just as much as having a party in a public place in which you pay per kid and many times includes invitations and goody bags. Once you factor in a variety of food and drink for both parents and children, places to sit and eat, activities and crafts for the children, decor, goody bags, invitations, proper Birthday attire, and desserts in every shape and size, it all adds up. I could write an entire post about the stress and anxiety of creating the perfect goody bag for each child in attendance. It's nuts I tell you!

To celebrate the first year of Molly's life, we hosted a big first Birthday party in our backyard. The party was set to a picnic and watermelon theme. Watermelons everywhere! There was a large tent that we rented along with tables and chairs (decorated with red and white checkered table cloths) for our many guests. A luxury port-a-potty was brought in, also rented, to off set the fact that we live in a one-bathroom home. There was lots of (picnic type) food, dessert, fun and plenty of stress for me. The party was awesome — and cost a small fortune. And you will not see any pictures related to said first Birthday celebration because I forgot to hire a photographer!

For Molly's second Birthday we again had a backyard party, except this time, it rained. No, let me correct myself here, it poured — all day long. We had to cancel half of our guests because we just couldn't fit everyone into our small house. We bought tents, which wound up buckling and breaking due to the weight of the rain. We decorated the inside of the house and kept the kids entertained with indoor activity and music. There were chairs everywhere and we made the best of it, while staying dry inside. It literally did not stop raining the entire day. Our theme that year was farm animals and we rented a goat and a sheep to hang out with our backyard chickens, ducks and rabbits.

Molly trying to stay dry in her adorable rain coat

This year, I've decided to take a year off from throwing a backyard party and booked a party at a little frozen yogurt shop. What kid doesn't love fro-yo? The party will last one and a half hours and include dancing and frozen yogurt with plenty of toppings. And (I'm sure) the Birthday will be a happy one. I've also decided to forgo goody bags because, quite frankly, I just don't feel like doing goody bags this year. I'm not feeling particularly creative or in the mood to come up with some cute idea related to Molly's frozen yogurt party that integrates goody bags in a fun way. (Though a Frozen theme would be cute! Get it, frozen yogurt?)

This post was inspired by a recent article that I really related to.

Childhood is magical. Even without the big expensive party. Sometimes the best memories and the best magic is made when we are not trying so hard to make it...

I say this all the time to my friends and colleagues, but the fact is, we really need to make our own rules. If you are a creative person who enjoys the Birthday party hoopla and having a theme party and related Birthday attire for the entire family then rock on! I'll probably like every photo you post on Facebook and Instagram! If you decide to have a low-key party with peanut butter and jelly and box-made cupcakes, rock on! Write your own rules and live by them. And above all, have fun! I know far too well, as I approach my daughter's third Birthday next month, that time is flying by! I can only hope that we are creating magic in the little silly things we do on the weekends spending time as a family. I can only hope she remembers her childhood with a big smile as I am right now reflecting on my past Birthdays.

1 comment:

Natalie said...

I was just debating this very thing...I am really thinking of a low key birthday this year for both boys. I just don't think it is worth all the planning and hoopla when they would just love something simple!