Thursday

Preschool Birthday Parties: No Tiara Left Behind


I barely have time to get IN one of my kids' birthday photos, let alone have time for a photo shoot before the party.  What is WRONG with people???


I have two birthdays coming up - one for my 4 year old, one for my 3 year old.  Normally, this wouldn't be a big deal, but I've been bombarded lately with these over-the-top postings on Facebook with photos of parties and party ideas, too many episodes of the housewives of ridiculous county, and wayyy too much Pinterest.  Just when I thought a nice Yoda cake would be enough, now I need matching cupcakes, cake pops (how I want to punch those cake pops in the stomach they're so annoyingly cute), and Williams Sonoma cut out Jedi cookies to decorate the dessert table.

Is this about the kids at all? Is it about one-upping a fellow preschool mother who has pretended not to know you all year long?  Is this about bragging on Facebook to people that haven't spoken to you since high school that friended you years later on FB to be nosy?  WHAT ABOUT THE KIDS? Does it matter what they want?  Kids just want to celebrate their birthday party - with their friends.  Can't we just get back to the basics without the whole dog and pony show?  Can you tell  I'm stressed over these parties?  I am going to let my frustrations out on you, my faithful readers.  Blogging, after all is keeping me out of therapy..well that, good friends, and the occasional mid-week drinky.

Look, let's just be real for a minute.  The economy sucks.  We own a small business - so things are tough.  Our health insurance alone has gone up 30% every year for the past several years...business is slow, the proverbial belt has been tightened so I've got to do this on a dime...and I will..and I will pull it off in the most wonderful, age appropriate way....but here are a few things I won't do.

  Expensive Invitations:  I am not going to spend $30.00 plus shipping on ONE dozen photo card invitations...and I'm DEFINATELY not going to dress my son up and make him do fishlips for a photo for the invitation.  I will be printing invitations that I make using Microsoft Word with the basic information - Date/Time, Place, RSVP number (which no one ever uses or RSVPs on time anyways - what's with that? Just call, text or email - YES I'm coming, or NO I'm not coming...I shouldn't have to chase you down for an answer! Emily Post would be rolling over in her grave from all of this poor etiquette these days)!


No doubt Jonathan is adorable..but no need for the junior fishlips..at all.
 PriceyVenue:  A Harry Potter Birthday Party sounds simple enough - but not at a local castle imitating Hogwarts.  Anything more than a $40 room rental fee for a venue is OUT!

Come to Henry's 5th Birthday Party at Castle in the Clouds!  Give me a break! I can't even afford the gas to drive there!


 Age-Inappropriate Activities for a Preschooler - The only cucumbers and mayonnaise at this party, will be on the veggie tray. 


 
Whatever happened to preschoolers PLAYING at a party? Is she really this stressed out over turning 5 that she needs some tranquil time?



 Too Many Kids-  Why do people invite the whole preschool to these parties?  Is someone graduating from high school at 5 years old like a mini Doogie Howser?  I can't imagine why anyone needs more than 10-12 people at a birthday party - and even 12 is too many, but I'm willing to invite the whole class so no one feels left out.  When you need a table the size of King Arthur's Round table then there is a problem!


If you have to number your tables, you have invited too many people.


  Five-Star Food and Beverage Service - Preschool party food should be pizza, chicken fingers, veggie platters, fruit platters, cake and ice cream.  Easy peasy.  What child is looking for a carving station at their party? None that I know of!


Is Billy turning 5 or is Billy graduating from law school?

 Over the Top Decorations - I was thinking of just putting one of the Star Wars Lego ships that the kids put together in the middle of the table as a centerpiece...along with a couple..wait for it...balloons! Nope, society says now I need to Tablescape.


Magical 'tablescaping'  - I hadn't even heard the term 'tablescape' until planning these parties.  Sigh.  I can barely keep up with my yard let alone my party table. 


 
   Outrageous Cake and Dessert Table -   And all I thought I needed was a bakery cake with a Yoda candle on top?  Wrong.  Thanks to this picture, I'm not going to sleep for weeks. Why? Because every five year old should have at least 4 desserts to choose from.


This just makes me want to cry.




  Lavish Party Favors -  Apparently, some dum dums, toys with a shelf life of 3 minutes, and stickers in a tiny plastic bag are no longer socially acceptable?


She even tacked the bags up on the wall! Arrrrrrrrrghhhh!





 Outrageous EntertainmentWhen did it become the norm for traveling zoos, djs, and balloon makers to be the basic must-haves and bare minimums at a preschool birthday party?  I was thinking a pinata and musical chairs would do the trick?


I just feel like having a dozen preschoolers is enough of a zoo - can you imagine setting up a traveling zoo in your backyard as well?




 Finally - look at this spectacular display of a birthday party theme....it's clever, outrageous, and clearly, hours have been lost on baking and planning.  To be honest, this is so freaking beautiful it makes me feel like a real underachiever.  If I had a little girl, I would have to do whatever it took to pull this one off. I'd hire a butcher, a baker, and a candlestick maker...but I would do it if I could.




This weekend, we are headed to three more preschool parties - one at a bowling alley, and one at a swimming pool of a hotel, and one at a kids gym.  Between gifts for all of these parties, and planning for my own kids' parties, I think its safe to assume that I am going to OD on birthday cake before spring comes.

Until next time...let your kids be kids...and start getting back to simple by just celebrating life, laughing, and enjoying the moment instead of worrying about what perfect photo you can put on Facebook. Kids don't care if they have Yoda head cakepops - they just want to get icing on their face, turn their tongues green and laugh with their friends.

~DG




23 comments:

  1. I couldn't agree more. I'm planning the party for my five year old twins. They won't to invite their whole class. That's 38 kids! Can't do just a girl or boy party because I have a girl and a boy. Everything is 500+, and I don't have that kind of money....bank robbing is out. I do not look good in stripes or orange. Gonna need a drink to finish this planning.

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    1. LOL!! I hear you! I have planned very fun, inexpensive parties by raiding Walmart the day after Halloween and putting it away with hopes that they are still in to that particular theme by March- also by scavenging the web for the best deals on favors, etc... Good luck, I feel your pain! xo

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  2. I agree!!! My Youngest teen will be turning 13 this month. She is having 2-3 friends over for a sleepover and going skating, then we will have a homemade birthday cake for family on a Sunday after church. Most likely at our house. That is as fancy as we get!

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  3. I'm so with you girl. ONe of my biggest fears is this bullshit when I have a kid. Asking what the kid wants is the best way and you are doing that. reeling it all back in is tough when we get bombarded by all the bullshit. I admire the hell outta you.

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  4. Ugh, I am in the process of planning my daughters 5th bday party...trying to have a cute and fun party yet still making it affordable. What a major pain in the patootie!! She wants fairy stuff, sweet NO PROB... but she also wants a spiderman pinata and dinosaur goodie bag things to stuff into her fairy goodie bags...all while I cringe at the non-theme I am also relieved as we already booked the clown that does balloon animals and face painting in an effort to not look like complete losers since we invited all the neighborhood kids since we are the newest family on the block LOL! Needless to say, I am overwhelmed!

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    1. OMG I love this - this sounds like the mish mosh party I had last year for one of mine..blue's clues favors, spiderman cake, batman decorations...why not - it's their party right! love it...good luck with the clown!! lol

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  5. I must add that our normal parties (we have 4 kiddos) involve calling the fam and close friends and saying.come to our on such and such date/time for pizza/cake/ice cream...so actually planning a party at our subs clubhouse and inviting ppl we don't know that well is quite a stretch!! Wish me luck;-)

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  6. This party thing drives me crazy!! Why as women do we feel such pressure to one up everything and everybody. Why are we setting up our children to fail by going over the top on birthdays, Valentine's Day, Easter, Halloween, tooth fairy, blah blah blah...It's just too much. I'm thinking that on each of my kid's birthdays that I should be the one who gets pampered and treated like a princess and showered with gifts. I'm the one who carried these kids in an incubater known as my uterus for 9 months and then had to be cut open to get them out and then breast fed them for 8 months. Seriously...I am pretty blessed though that my son could really care less about anythng except getting his next Xbox game and maybe having a friend or two over for pizza. And my daughter always makes her own invitations by drawing a picture and then making copies. Added bonus is that she doesn't like crowds so she invites 5 girls at the most to hang out in their pajamas.

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    1. I agree with being the one pampered on bdays! LOL... We did all the work!

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  7. UGH!!!! In mys kids school (they are in 1st and 3rd grade) we are told that if we have a party we have to invite the entire class. That is such a load of bull. I stopped doing parties a few years ago. Now, for my oldest son who has a Sept Bday and my bff's son who is the same age and has a Nov Bday we go to Canobie Lake park in October with both our families for the Screamfest as their birthday treat. Then for my youngest son who has a February birthday (next week!) we go to Coco Keys indoor water park as a family for his treat. Much better than parties and they love it!

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    1. A fellow New Englander! Yay! Glad you are here.

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    2. You get a better New England state then me though, I am stuck in Massachusetts :(

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    3. Then pay no attention to my blog post entitled Massholes - doesn't apply to you! lol!

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  8. Our schools require that if you are sending invitations to school, you have to invite the whole class. My 2 boys are in the summer and for my oldest's 5th Birthday, I went all out and no one kid from his class showed up. He was happy with the kids from the sitter's but I had party favors coming out my ears for months. So, we just do family parties with some of our friends kids, balloons, some water guns and the other basics. My daughter will start preschool this year and her birthday is in February, not sure how we will handle that yet.

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  9. I have to admit, I was cringing when I read this ... I. Am. One. Of. THOSE. Moms. There I said it. I know now that I have a SERIOUS problem! My life is a controlled chaos consisting of my darling husband, Rick; my three amazing kids - (7 y/o boy, Avery, 3 y/o girl, Harper, and a newly turned 1 y/o girl, Ellis); two high energy chocolate labs, Quik (13) and Gertie (3); and a moody and mischievousness squirrel, Lola ... that in itself is a WHOLE other 'kit & kaboodle'! So, five weeks ago, I found myself panicking about a theme, yes, a THEME, for our Ellie's first birthday - what has happened to us moms that we turn into cream puffs when it comes to brainstorming ideas for 'one upping' each other??! Needless to say, I turned to the devil incarnate ... Pinterest. So there I was, sewing a birthday banner - in yards of yummy pink fabric, making 10+ tags for a 'sweet treat table' and snatching up just about every dreamy, girly party decoration I could get my hands on in just about EVERY shade of pink you could possibly imagine. And how was I awarded, you ask? Not one, but TWO birthday cake disasters - one who's top tier, yes, TIER, decided to jump off it's supporting layer and the other 'replacement' cake was left sparkling in the sunlight from shattered glass ... from said 'sweet treat table' apothecary jars. As well as two trays of scattered food along the ground for the wildlife to enjoy, and numerous head injuries from the pretty 'paper' lanterns and tissue paper flower bundles that danced with the wind at the park ... hey, the forecast NEVER mentioned it would be a blustery day. Although it was January. In the park. Under a shelter, ON the open water. So, what did I learn? I learned that all that matters at the end of the day are the giggles and smiles ... and that next year we'll be celebrating in the comfort of our own home and dining on PB&J sandwiches, a fruit bowl and a cake courtesy of Betty Crocker and mommy's love!
    (BTW - LOVE your blog!)

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  10. Oh Maggie! (Who am I kidding, I'm one of those moms too but I fall short which is why I like to write these blogs!) I LOVE those candy jars from the sweet table - they are spectacular - but reading your story makes me think about the things I wouldn't normally think about when putting them together... Can't believe it..so sorry! But the head injuries from the paper lanterns made me laugh out loud. I'm soo sorry that happened! Don't stop doing it though - it's fun, and their only young once...maybe just scale back to plastic apothecary jars and single tiers? xo Glad to have you here!

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  11. I enjoyed reading your blog, though I am "one of those moms" because I have a blast doing it. I was more excited than I have been in awhile the other day when I came up with Watto-melon for my son's Star Wars themed graduation party. All on my own. Mostly I steal ideas from the web.

    I enjoyed your writing. How did the party end up going? Are there pics somewhere? Cheers! Erica

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    1. OMG Watto-melon? Wow - that is simply awesome..from one star wars mom to another. Awesome.
      No - no pics - just stories. :) So happy to have you here reading.
      Thanks!
      DG

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