Monday, September 29, 2014

I hate birthday parties

"How can you say that? Doesn't everyone love birthday parties?"

No. I don't. Here's why.
I made this garland. I <3 it. 

I don't hate all birthday parties. Really, I just hate big birthday parties. Like the one I'm throwing Dino Boy and Dino Baby on Saturday. Yeah, even though I hate them, I'm hosting one. What. the. heck?

As a kid, I was not deprived of birthday parties. Every year we had a family party. They all kind of run together, honestly. When I was 12, 13 and 16, my parents hosted friends parties for me. I remember them all distinctly, and mostly, not for good reasons.

When I was 12, in 7th grade, the "cool" thing to do was have a dance for your birthday. In hindsight, this was insane. My parents rented the local community center for $25 (I wonder if it still costs that?) and brought our tape player and told the kids they could bring tapes. My mom made a cake and had some other snack foods available. It went from 7-10, three of the longest hours of my life.

I grew up in a small farming community, and country kids just don't dance with each other. We weren't even cool enough to know how to line dance at that point! So the girls danced with each other while the guys hung around on the outer edges. Until the guys disappeared. My dad got suspicious (he reminds me a lot of Red Foreman from That 70's Show). He found all the guys in the hallway outside the bathrooms attempting to scale the walls of the two-story building. After that the bathroom was policed. You could only go in one at a time, and he timed you. Fun times. The highlight of that evening was receiving a stuffed Christmas Reindeer from the boy I had a crush on, named Robert. I took that thing with me to college.
I used the leftovers from the first one to make this one. Thrifty! 

When I turned 13, my parents had apparently learned their lesson and decided no boys would be allowed at this party, which ended up being a surprise sleep-over. I thought I was allowed to have one friend sleep over, but my parents invited all the girls in my class (6!) plus my cousin from the other side of the county. She was practically an international visitor to be honest, since she attended a different elementary school and seemed more worldly than us. We rented Gremlins from the local video store, which completely freaked me out and gave me nightmares. We also enjoyed putting on a fashion show with the clothes from my mother's closet. She was a good sport. At midnight we drank sparkling white grape juice, which one friend thought was champagne. She was shocked that my mom would allow that and refused to participate. My most memorable gift this year was from my best friend, Kelli. She gave me a Boston tape (which I think I still have), and clear mascara, my first make-up. I think the overnight thing did my parents in though, because...

When I turned 16, they had a dinner for me at the local Applebee's. All I remember about that party is that the waiter was really cute, and I was totally embarrassed when he sang "Happy Birthday" to me.

Fast forward 22 years. I am hosting a 4th and 1st birthday party for my two Dino Kids. It's a pirate party because dinosaurs are no longer so cool as pirates. So I've worked my tushy off for almost a month now to make this happen, all because I won two hours of an entertainer named Silly Miss Tilly at a birth expo in March. Can't let that go, can I?

So, here's the plan. Have the party at the park before it gets too cold, so the kids will have plenty of space to run around and be crazy. Serve mostly fruit and water. There will be cake, too. I'm not heartless. Have LOTS of crafts, games, etc. to keep little boys busy. Finish by 6 so we can get to bed on time. Sounds easy right? Only, here's the problem. Pinterest. I search for pirate party and up pops 6 bazillion versions of the height of pirate partydom. I feel inadequate. I MUST be better!

Hence, a month of prep for a party for a 4 year old and 1 year old. The four year old better remember this! I'll show the 1 year old pictures until it is seared into his brain. So who am I doing this for, really? Me. I always wanted a fun, cool party and my parents just weren't fun, cool party people. Bless their hearts. They loved me, and they tried their hardest, but it never quite worked out. So, here I am setting the bar way too high, I'm sure. Next year, nobody's getting anything though. Dino Boy will have to wait until he's 12 for another party, or at least as long as it takes me to forget all the work this one is taking.

P.S. I'll post pics of the final outcome after the party on Saturday.