Thursday, October 10, 2013

My Brain Goes Kablooie

Charles’s birthday is coming up and I’m having feelings.  This is the first birthday of his for which we are doing what he wants and not what I want.


When Charles turned one and two, we had parties at home for him (he was teething and angry about the whole thing for his first birthday, and I was early pregnant and trying not to look sickly for his second birthday) and then we went big for his third birthday at a local indoor jungle-gym because I had an infant and couldn’t handle the idea of a party in my house.  Which was covered in burp cloths and smelled faintly of baby poop.  Then we had a movie party at home last year, to which we invited all of his friends and all of our friends.  We burned the pizza, but everyone pretended not to care, and the kids had a blast.  And now we’re having an expensive party at an ice skating rink because ever since last January, when he attended an ice skating birthday party for a friend of his, he has wanted to have his party there.  Okay.  Hard to say no to your oldest when he is stuck on something for literally months and he’s cute and not quite as much of an asshole all the time like he was a few months ago.


So, after dragging my feet hoping he would forget the idea of a skating party (he didn’t), I booked the party.  And now I’m kind of dreading it.  I want my kids to have these lovely, fun parties at home, ones where I bake the cake and I invite people over and I have a glass of wine and you have a glass of wine and everyone leaves happy and much too late.  Ones to which we can invite everyone.  All the friends.  All the relatives.  All the siblings of friends.  I was left out of birthday parties as a kid, mostly because I was a total nerd and not at all cool, and it sucked.  At the skating rink, we are limited, and I hate it.  It’s in a town about 30 minutes away, so not everyone can just pop over.  We can’t afford to pay for everyone’s skates, so we’re asking adults to rent their own if they want to skate, and that feels wrong, somehow.  Like being asked to be a bridesmaid but then buying your own dress that you will never wear again (“I love you so much that I want you to stand up for me on my wedding day, but you have to pay for the privilege”) (I bought my bridesmaids’ dresses).  We can’t invite every one of our friends and all of Charles’s friends and all of their older and younger siblings.  They won’t fit in the party room, the party comes with skate rentals for only twelve… this is really cramping my “the more, the merrier!” style.


And goodie bags!  Oh my God, you guys, when did we decide that every kid had to go home with presents?  But it’s what you do, so I already bought puzzles for everyone at the dollar store.  After all, every party we’ve been to has had a goodie bag, and the kids love them, so there.  Done.  I’ll tie a ribbon on the puzzles, I guess.


I have to let this go, and I know that.  My children’s parties are about them (even though I truly believe that I should be receiving presents for making it through another year of parenting them), not me.  After Charles’s skating party, we will go home and there will be no cleanup (how am I supposed to feel useful without cleaning up after my horde of boys?  Besides cooking and cleaning, I hardly serve a purpose).  There will be no one at our house to say goodnight to the kids except me and Tony (the kids’ grandparents don’t come to their birthday parties anymore, perhaps because I am neurotic).  Since his party is not on his actual birthday, maybe I can get away with baking two cakes.  After all, if his skating party is what he wants, then on his actual birthday, maybe we can celebrate the way I want.  With more food.


Liz said...

We always had two parties. One for family on our actual birthday and one for friends that weekend. It's good! Wait until he get's to pick the food and cake! That was my favorite part. I STILL ask for my Mom's Mexican casserole on my birthday. And a spice cake. That's how I roll.

Margarita Primavera said...

When we got older we also always had two - on our birthday we would have cake with ALL of our cousins & aunts & uncles, and then on that weekend we would have a small party with our school friends.