Tuesday, February 06, 2007

The Tyranny of the Child's Birthday Party

As Middlebrow and I sat last night contemplating where (o where?) we might be able to have Son's 6th Birthday party, we remembered: we never had no stinking parties!!
When we were kids, we maybe had a few friends over and played pin the tail on the donkey. Since my birthday is in December, we couldn't have an outdoor party. I don't remember any parties from when I was a kid. Except when I was in 8th grade and my best friend and I had a joint birthday party at the Holiday Inn. Complete with sleep over at the hotel, swimming and miniature golf. Those were the days, baby!
But as I edged nearer to a nervous breakdown last night, wrestling with the guilt I would feel if we didn't invite everyone, imagining the school ostracisim of us, the exclusive partiers, trying to figure out how we were going to either a) pay for every child in his Kindergarten class to go bowling or b) fit everyone in his Kindergarten class into our 500 sq. ft. home, Middlebrow came up with an elegant solution so simple it boggled the mind: no party.
What? you will say. No party! But listen here: I hardly ever had parties, and I turned out fine. When Son was 4 we took his whole pre-school class bowling. Were we nuts? yes! It was insane!
Last year we invited just the boys to our house for a Spiderman birthday.
But this year: Middlebrow will take Son and a friend or two for an afternoon extravaganza. The benefits: no presents! no paper plates! no pizza and cake to throw away! no goodie bags!
Son and I will make a cake to his specifications. Frosting! Decorations! Hooray!
And we don't have to spend $200 to do it! Ah, the liberation of simplicity!


Nik said...

I like it. I like it 100%. May I remember this in July and many July's in the future. I like the idea of either very small events (2 or so friends) or special birthdays--5, 10, 15. Or something like that.

Lisa B. said...

Excellent plan. I never understood the whole thing about how you had to have every freaking kid in the class to the party. Wasn't that way when I was a child, no sir. Also, in my own family (as in the one I bore), we always alternated "friend" birthdays with "family" birthdays. Partly that was because we couldn't bear the parties with friends, but it also kept the cost down and enhanced the parents' sanity.

michael ringwood said...

Excellent. That is just what any son would love. I was just reminded of all the wonderful father-son outings me and my dad indulged in on my birthday. It was the best time of our lives.
Peep into my blog on on birthday e- cards for some beautiful e-greeting cards and other interesting info.

ErinAlice said...

well done. I think this may be in the future for my daughters this year. Some parties we have been to have been outrageous. Ah sweet simplicity! You know our kids won't remember the parties anyway...

Counterintuitive said...

My wife created the special b-days: 5, 8, 12, 16. It works swimmingly well except on the year of the special party. Just had my son's 12th. Driving 20 minutes each way and bowling with six 12 year old induced much anxiety. The highlights of anxiety: "stay in your lane that nice man trying to bowl w/ his young kids is already pissed" and rolling down the car windows 7 times even though it was 20 degrees outside--pizza and young boys digestive tracts do not mix well.