Thursday, November 5, 2009

Summer-y Summary Part IV: Jared's Birthday

With a couple of exceptions, I mostly remember birthdays growing up being fun but pretty low-key affairs. Mom would bake a cake mix and decorate the cake with frosting and those stick-on candies that said "Happy Birthday." We would have some friends over and watch a movie or play on the slip and slide. We might even get to go with mom or dad to get our free birthday meal at Denny's. But I don't remember ever having huge elaborate parties. I didn't have a "friend party" every year. And I never went to an outside place like Chuck E. Cheese for a birthday.

So I don't know how I got swept up into big birthdays. Maybe it was because when we lived in California our student apartment complex had a tradition of huge birthday parties where you would invite basically all of the kids who lived in that courtyard and have a huge party. You kind of felt like a cop-out if you didn't at least have a huge cake with games and a pinata. Maybe it is because Dave always says, "Oh that would be fun for the kids, we should do it!" but somehow I always get sucked into doing a friend party. Part of me is crochety-old-person that says, "What was good enough for me is good enough for my kids. They don't need a party every year!! That will make them start to feel entitled and create spoiled kids, right?" (Now I'm REALLY starting to sound like an old person...) =] But part of me is a sucker and always ends up doing something... which usually escalates into something bigger and more expensive than I intended.

It seems like every year I say, "This year is going to be low-key. We don't need a friend party every year." And this has started to work a little bit. (Translation: My kids no longer assume that birthday = big pinata and 10+ kids coming over.) But although I have been successful at paring down the party, we always seem to end up doing something. Maybe that is a good compromise and I should leave it at that.

This year when Jared turned 8 I told him we weren't doing a friend party this year. Instead he could choose 1 friend to go to Chuck E. Cheese with us for lunch on his birthday and we would get some tokens. Nice, easy, low-key. Of course that one friend ended up turning into 5, but who's counting? Fine, I am a sucker.

1 comment:

Emily Laing said...

Ok, so after having kid number 4 and starting to add up the cost of treat bags and games, we decided to have a friend party every other year. It cuts down on the chaos and the expense. We do it on even years, so the big milestone birthdays like 8 and 12 and really works. Just tell yourself that you'll have more money to get them something they really want...yeah that's the ticket right?!