May 08, 2004

party boy

Last year, Damian's birthday party was lots of fun... for the grownups. I think many of the kids may have had fun too, but Damian felt uncomfortable. Too many people invading our house, especially too many children. Roving, rambunctious alien hordes. Not so great for a sometimes overly sensitive child.

So this year we invited fewer children and made sure they were all specific buddies: kids he's had play dates with and identifies as his friends. Not just classmates or children of people we like. We ended up with nine children. Damian, six friends and two siblings of friends. (Everyone we'd invited came, too, with only one exception. A first.) We filled the wading pool, set up an inflatable tugboat ball pit and filled several squirt bottles with water. That was it. No elaborate party games, no magicians or bubble demonstrations or petting zoos. Everyone does that stuff and we'd like to do it too but not this year.

This year we watched as the children -- eight boys and one two year old girl -- squirted each other, rode trikes through arcs of hose water, stood in the wading pool and tossed lightweight plastic balls at each other, ran away from each other as they shouted in delight, and raced each other on various ride-on toys.

And Damian was one of those kids. Shouting. Tossing. Splashing. Happy.

Sometimes it's not about what you want, you know? Sometimes you don't throw the perfect bash with the greatest entertainment and the best food ever. Sometimes you order in pizza and let children splash. Because that's what's best for the birthday boy. The party isn't you. You're the conduit.

Posted by Tamar at May 8, 2004 10:08 PM

How true, how true! "Sometimes it's not about you, you know!"

It can get, at times, to be just too much. The birthday parties these days can get way out of hand. Not meaning to sound like an ogre but who are we really doing the parties for? I love throwing parties - small ones and big ones alike. All the same, I can see such competition between the mothers in regards to the parties of who has the most original idea, nicest invitations, biggest bounce house, etc. . . I want my boys to have the time of their lives on their special day - they deserve it, they're very precious but their birthday celebration this past year has made me reevaluate what it's all about. So next year, it might still be a big celebration but with the reevaluation in mind,it will be for the right reasons!

I don't know Tamara, maybe there is something about the 6 year mark that makes us take a second look at what it's all about. Don't you love how these little ones keep us on our toes!

Posted by: CC Bowden at May 9, 2004 07:45 PM

Those are the kinds of parties we usually have at our house, too, Tamar. N's birthday party this year (and last, now that I think about it) was a "ball" party. As in, I threw every single kind of ball we had out in the backyard, and let the kids out there to play with them. ;-) We did have a bounce house at Em's 6th birthday party at her request, but that was it in terms of "special" stuff there.

I have to say that I much prefer parties that are more about enjoying the people around you than about making kids sit still for a show or a presentation of some sort. Nothing like the sound of laughter to let you know you have a hit of a party on your hands...


Posted by: Tiny Coconut at May 10, 2004 10:34 AM

Yeah, I definitely prefer the kind of party we had this year. But will there be a time when Damian's friends expect the big show and judge him badly for not providing it? I don't think he'll ever care about such things, honestly, but other kids might.

Posted by: Tamar at May 11, 2004 11:17 PM