I am almost embarrassed to say I have developed an addiction – to children’s party blogs. It started when I stumbled upon P is for Party, a really beautiful blog by a mother and former event coordinator in Texas. This then led me to a whole slew of other party blogs, like The Hostess with the Mostess, Peas and Thank Yous, Catch My Party, and Hello Lucky, and now I am following 20+ party blogs on Facebook. Oh, the themes: should we have a cardboard box party, or a trash-man party, or replicate this fabulous vintage plane party? Not sure where I can secure a retired military aircraft in which to stage the event. (“In”, not “near”, being the defining element.) My older boys are way into Harry Potter these days, so when My Harry Potter Party started me fantasizing about ferrying little wizards across Hogwarts Lake (aka our pool) and wondering how I could make an active night sky appear on the ceiling of a freestanding, turreted Great Hall to be constructed for the occasion, I realized things were going too far. The truth of the matter is that there’s a very fine line between planning a party for the kids – and planning a party for yourself. Some of these parties are absolutely exquisite, but there are no children in sight, and it’s hard to imagine children appreciating the extraordinary details when all they really want is a pinata and a wagonload of frosting.
My new party-crack habit almost led me to hijack my older sons’ joint birthday party last month. My boys’ birthdays are exactly one month apart, with my oldest son’s big day frequently coinciding with the last day of school. So it’s become a bit of a tradition for me to throw an end-of-the-year party for both of them so they can celebrate with all their classmates before everyone scatters to the wind for the summer. (Making this a class party also helps manage the guest list.) When I found myself unable to sleep due to visions of sandwich wrappers/water bottle labels/cupcake toppers running through my head, I realized I was losing sight of what this party was all about. Throwing a great party can make a mom feel good for having made the effort to do something special for the kids. But that’s the thing: it has to be special for the KIDS.
This year’s theme was sunshine, which inspired the “sun” themed music mix we gave each kid on CD as a party favor (thanks to little mama Jamie for the idea!). Each kid also got to tie-dye their own t-shirt as a take-home, which (a) won’t break into a thousand pieces, and (b) is fun to see when the kids show up at school in their hippie duds. I bought a printable sun-themed kit from Dimpleprints‘ Etsy shop and made birthday banners, stickers, and whatnot, all in colors of yellow and orange. The food was three-foot sub sandwiches, Sun Chips, and Capri Suns, (see: a theme!) plus lemonade, fruity spa-water, and yummy flavored slurpy-ice to keep everyone chill. Sadly, my sons insisted on a Wall-E themed cake which at least was primarily yellow even if it didn’t really go.
The pool was open (with a lifeguard) and the kids went bananas on a giant inflatable water slide on the grass….or at least where the grass used to be. I borrowed a pop-up tent from a friend, draped it with sheets and shower curtains, and converted it to a changing cabana, which helped keep wet slippery bodies from wiping out on my kitchen tile. (I’ve learned a few things from our past go-arounds.)
The party fell far short of the levels of party perfection documented elsewhere on the inter tubes, but the kids had a blast, and aside from a few minor injuries and one required visit to the ER to get two staples in the head (eeek!), I’d say a good time was had by all – kids and me alike. I could have slept all the next day, except the roofers arrived in a thundering herd at 5:45 a.m. A mother’s work is never done.