It’s time to plan my son Jacob’s birthday party. (Any takers? Because I’m TOTALLY willing to delegate this.) I’ve tried to ignore this fact over the past few weeks. But I can’t. It’s hard to ignore when every time I turn around, someone is asking me for my child’s date of birth. Or Jacob is asking, “MOMMY: WHEN IS IT GOING TO BE MY BIRTHDAY?!?” Right. That. It’s coming up. In just a few months. Just days before we move. AWESOME timing.
A quick recap of the ways we have celebrated Jacob’s birthday in years past. (Don’t panic. He’s only four. This won’t take long.)
Turning one. We threw a party. A BIG party. None of Jacob’s friends were invited. Seriously, he was ONE. How deep were his friendships at that point? (I hate to put it this way but, at that age, most of his relationships were a bit utilitarian. Present company excluded I’m sure.) So, we invited all of our friends. We felt that we deserved a party. And lots of cake. After all, Jacob was (and is) a delightful child but only slept for about forty-five minutes of his first year of life. (None of them consecutive.) We survived. We celebrated. There was a dinosaur-themed cake. (We made the assumption that Jacob liked dinosaurs because he insisted we read him “How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight” eight bazillion times during his first year. Ironic? YES.)
Turning two. By this time, Jacob had some tried and true little friends. But we decided to take advantage of the fact that he had no idea what a birthday was. We bought him some cupcakes decorated with Cookie Monster and Elmo faces on the top. He was delighted. Good photo ops. Success. And some pretty serious sugar rushes. (I’m just starting to crash now.)
Turning three. Some bad seed at daycare had clued Jacob into the idea that, when you have a birthday, you sometimes get a PARTY. And, for some reason, Jacob was led to believe that the guest list was supposed to include HIS friends. WHATEVER. (The gig was up.) One of Jacob’s little friends was considerate enough to be born just a few weeks before him, so his mother and I threw a joint party. It was not at my house. Or hers. (Go ahead and say it: BRILLIANT.) There was jumping, there was running, there was tumbling. There was pizza. There were more cupcakes. And only one major meltdown.
Turning four. By this time Jacob had been at preschool for about a year. and many of his classmates invited THE WHOLE CLASS to their birthday parties. Really? Yes. All eighteen kids. And their parents. And siblings. I did not quickly warm to this idea. So, instead, I approached Jacob’s preschool for some guidance. I emailed his two head teachers saying, “Jacob’s birthday is coming up. Although we’d like to invite all of his classmates, we’re not sure this is possible. Can you please let me know which of the other children in the class Jacob is closest to and plays with the most?” After a day or two I received the following response: “Jacob plays with each and every child in the [name of his class] every day”. SUPER. HELPFUL.
We invited the whole class.
The tricky part about this? (Money aside.) Apparently only about half of the parents in the class felt obliged to RSVP. (Some of these parents DID, however, feel obliged to suddenly show up the day of the party. Fabulous.) With so many parents not responding to the invite, it was a bit tricky to figure out how much food to order. We needed enough pizza to feed somewhere between 25 and 60 people. Awesome. Anyhoo, once again we hosted the party at NOT-OUR-HOUSE. (Woohoo!) More tumbling. More running. Way too much pizza ordered. And too many cupcakes. No meltdowns. Success.
This year Jacob is turning five. Being older and more sophisticated about the whole birthday thing, he has requirements. “Mommy, I like balloon parties where each kid gets a balloon to take home.” “Mommy, I don’t want to have another party at [location of last year’s party]”. And then, a few days later, “Mommy, I DO want to have a party at [location of last year’s party].” Meanwhile, I am done with the inviting-the-whole-class thing. (Unfortunately, I’m not sure Jacob is.) We will be throwing this party just a few weeks before Jacob leaves preschool and frankly, I see no point in inviting kids he has been complaining about for the past few months. He loves most of his classmates but a few little ingrates INSIST on singing the wrong lyrics to “Let It Go”. (WHY. MUST. THEY. BREATHE. HIS. AIR?!?) Instead, we’re going to a place where the kids can paint a piece of pottery. There will be no running. No jumping. But there will be pizza.
“Mommy, I think we should get plain pizza and pizza with broccoli”. Done and done, my boy. This is Mommy’s cooking at its best.