Party Pooper

God I loved this show. Sing it with me, "The Looooove Boooat!"

One of the many hats I wear as a stay at home mom is to act as my children’s (and let’s be honest, my husband’s) social events coordinator. Short of organizing limbo parties on the Lido Deck, Julie McCoy has nothing on me. I coordinate play dates, schedule sleepovers, sign up for various recreational and sporting activities, plan excursions to museums and theme parks, respond to invitations to parties, and follow up with thank you notes on behalf of my children to our hosts. But perhaps the Number-One-Biggest-Do-Not-Screw-This-Up-Or-I-Will-Be-Scarred-For-The-Rest-Of-My-Life-And-Perhaps-Turn-To-Narcotics-To-Cope social responsibility in my daughter’s young eyes is the planning and successful execution of her birthday party.

And I have to say, this year, I was weak…so, so weak. I let Sarah’s 6th birthday plans spiral out of control into a place that I have been dreading to go for many months now. Why months? Well, to say that Sarah likes to plan is like saying Charlie Sheen likes cocaine. She already has #7 and #8 mapped out. She had tomorrow’s upcoming birthday #6 set in stone sometime in early spring 2011. So basically, she has been wearing me down with party plans for about 10 months. Can you blame me for crumbling? I was utterly powerless against the strength of her determination, conviction, and organizational prowess.

Sarah at Little Gym for Birthday #3

It’s not that I begrudge anyone a party for their children. We are happy to celebrate with friends to mark the anniversary of their birth. But for the past three years, Sarah has had the big party with a dozen or so friends at various local institutions whose sole mission seems to be to create such a frenzy among the 5 and under set, that it basically turns your child into a social pariah if they too do not host a large and lavish party at said location. And as much as I love my child and her friends, I also love order, quiet, and sanity: not words often associated with a child’s birthday party. While some parents can revel and embrace the chaos, this is not a strength of mine as a mother. I’d almost rather be a contestant on Fear Factor than face a mob of children doped up on adrenaline and cake who will kick you in the shins if their demands for more ice cream, lemonade, pizza, or sugar are not met.

So this year, I wanted something different. I had pictured her 6th party as an intimate affair with 2-3 close friends. We could potentially host a movie night at our house or take a field trip to some other location, such as American Girl doll, and have a mellow, yet enjoyable, time ringing my daughter into her 6th year. It would be tasteful. A time of reflection, yes, but also spirited conversation and witty banter…a few knock knock jokes peppered with some discreet potty humor. My husband and I would gaze at our daughter lovingly and then, our eyes would lock with a mix of pride and joy. And most important of all, the party would not have me wishing I had brought a flask or taken a pre-emptive valium, which is what I am usually doing during our daughter’s past parties.

But as I said, I was weak. There will be no intimate soiree. No witty banter. No pride and joy. Instead, horror at the spectacle that I have no one to blame but myself for creating. Guest list? Too big. Budget? Definitely out the window. Potential for a massive migraine? Absolutely.

Now, my loving and supportive husband, whenever we need to discuss the party, always tacks on the phrase “I told you not to do this” to the end of his sentence. For example, “How many girls are coming…I told you not to do this.” “Will we have to wear pajamas too…I told you not to do this.” “How big of a cake will we need….I told you not to do this.”

So I am counting down till noon tomorrow, Central Standard Time. By then, all of this will be over. Sarah’s Pajama Party Brunch Extravaganza with twenty girls preparing and cooking their own meals (hot open surfaces and children…really, what was I thinking!?) will have come and gone and hopefully, I will remain standing and sober. And, I will recite over and over again between now and January 21, 2013, “I am stronger than Sarah. She is not the boss of me.” Perhaps if I say it enough, it will come true.

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12 thoughts on “Party Pooper

    • Uggh- cannot go there with the wedding. Although maybe it wouldn’t be so bad if it was like Kim’s– just have it sponsored by different people and you could actually come out of the whole thing in the black! Ha ha.

  1. TWENTY FREAKIN’ GIRLS? I may need to pop one of your pre-emptive happy pills! Count on me to pack an extra tube of Neosporin!

  2. All I can say is: I can’t wait to see the pictures. Oh also I am thinking this may not be as bad as having 10-12 4,5,and 6 year old boys for CHris and Larry’s birthdays in our basement in Jan and FEb in North Dakota.ha I almost have a headache thinking of those days. Hank, he wouldn’t remember. He was working. ha

    • Yes- thank goodness we did not have it at our house. Chris would probably have a stroke with that many little folks in our house. We Reicherts of Minnesota are very big on outsourcing, you know 😉

  3. You are so funny and witty Jane! I always love to read what you post on Facebook as I am sure it will make me laugh. You are an amazing mommy(servant) and your sweet girls and Chris are blessed to have you. I know the party will go great and put many smiles on kids’ faces- namely Sarah’s. I do have a suggestion for your sanity: I do not allow rylie to talk to me about her party until exactly one month before her bday. Until then, I encourage her to write her ideas in a journal of some sorts. It saves me from having to listen to it from the day after her last party ends. Also, not every year is a “friend” party either. Save a little money. However, I always make a big deal of my girls’ special day to make sure they feel very special so I am not one to talk on budgeting. Lastly, you could give her a budget as she gets older and everything she plans HAS to be covered within that budget. Just some ideas to help you from becoming a January alcoholic. Have fun tomorrow! Love, meg

  4. I am so sorry Jane! We were pretty fortunate with our kids. We started with the low key family parties, then told them they could have a BIG friends party at 5, 10 and 16….other than that..low, low key! You are a wonderful mother and your kids will have wonderful memories of their special day. I love the wedding comment though, Chris watch out!!! You better start an account now! Have fun, try to stay sane, and look at the bright side; the party has a beginning and an end, and it isn’t at your house!!!
    Heidi

  5. Pingback: Party Post-Mortem « Mommy, Are You Our Servant?

  6. Pingback: Them Pearly Whites, Part Deux « Mommy, Are You Our Servant?

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