A few weeks ago, my daughter turned six years old. There was something quite monumental about her starting grade one this year, that move from still being a little kid to being in elementary school, and her sixth birthday really cemented it for me. This was the first year she had a birthday party with friends and she spent so much time waffling about what she wanted to do that I was forced to host it at our house.
Nobody has birthday parties at home for their kids, these days.
I could completely understand why. No need to decorate, no need to clean your house before in preparation, no need to clean up the bombshell the kids set off in your house after and the activities are taken care of. Sounds like a dream, until you’re three weeks out from the birthday and every single potential party location is booked solid. Ooops.
But I planned that party like a boss, and the kids walked away happy, my daughter was thrilled, and I was just relieved, honestly. It was only two hours long, but I sure learned a lot.
We had a balloon artist come for the party, to make balloon animals for the kids. There were sword fights, butterflies flying, crazy hats getting shown off, and dogs being taken for a walk. There was also a game of soccer and bonk-kids-in-the-face with the standard balloons I had as decoration.
I will admit to being utterly gobsmacked when I found out only 20 minutes had passed when I first checked the time. And when I checked the time every five minutes thereafter, I continued to be shocked at how slowly time seemed to be passing. There must be some kind of rip in the space-time continuum that takes place during kids’ parties.
Forgive me for sounding trite. I talked about having a glass of prosecco for the entire party, but I just didn’t feel comfortable being in charge of a bunch of kids and not being completely in charge of my own damn senses. And rightfully so.
Honestly, giving kids creative control over their dessert was hugely successful.
LESS THAN 10 MINUTES FROM START TO FINISH, PEOPLE. I’ll admit: I cried a little.
I thought all my planning, my Pin the Tail on the Donkey, my Ring Toss, my face painting and balloon making and cupcake decorating would be utterly engrossing. I’m pretty sure it was when all 14 kids were climbing on the swing set in the backyard that they were having the most fun. It was unplanned, unexpected, and a joy to witness.
I was thanking my lucky stars that we had asked my mother-in-law and my own mom to come and help out. And that the mom of one of the girls who came asked if she could stay. And a good friend whose son is close with our daughter stayed to hang out. Because at one point, I had kids on the main floor playing, kids in the basement playing, and kids in the backyard playing. Don’t be a hero if you’re doing this at home–make sure you have coverage.
Let’s see, with two kids, I only have about 30 more birthday parties to deal with, right? No big deal.
No big deal.