For the record, let it be noted that on January 21st at 4:31PM, a mere 4.5 hours after her 6th birthday party had ended, Sarah turned to me and, in a brisk, business-like tone, asked, “Now…can we talk about my 7th birthday party?” I am 100% sure it would have been even sooner but she was occupied with ski school for about 2.5 hours immediately after her party. This girl is formidable.
So yes, number 6 has come and gone and now, we have number 7 to negotiate (even as I write this, I am mumbling, “I am stronger than Sarah. She is not the boss of me.”). And I have to say, the party yesterday was not the 8th circle of hell that I was anticipating. In fact, I found myself actually, dare I say it, enjoying it…without the aid of mood enhancing drugs! I had time in the middle of it all to witness and appreciate the joy on my daughter’s face. Chris and I even had a moment where we locked eyes across the room and smiled with pride and joy! And reflect! And savor! Yes! <Insert fist pump here> Of course, this was before we had to pay the bill which was equivalent to more than double my monthly car payment back in grad school, but believe me when I say, up till that moment, I felt giddy and flush with parenting success.
Which brings us to this post. What made this year’s party different than the last three parties? Maybe it was because I knew that this would be the last such circus we’d ever host (for Sarah anyway….God help us with Katie). Or maybe it was because the folks at Way Cool Cooking School could NOT have been better (seriously, Chef Jeff was amazing with the girls). Or maybe I finally have learned to loosen my Type A++ personality into a much more go with the flow Type A- personality. While all these may be contributing factors to the successful party, I think I know what the answer is to a happy, almost stress free children’s birthday. Lean in closer and let me share my newfound wisdom with you.
All these years, I have been under the misguided assumption that a child’s birthday party requires children running amok. Allow me to present Exhibits A, B, and C.
Exhibit A- Three year olds running amok at Little Gym:
Exhibit B- Four year olds running amok at Pump It Up (please note that Sarah has actually landed on her head):
Exhibit C- Five year olds running amok at Kiddywampus:
But in reality, what you need is a party where the the principal activity requires the children to be seated! What an A-HA moment this was for me! I had 20 girls with their rears parked for almost 2 hours while they prepped, cooked, and consumed their pizzas, muffins, and pancake sundaes. I was not in a flop sweat chasing after party goers who seemed more like rabid animals rather than the human beings they were purported to be. There was no chance of kids hurtling their bodies at one another in a what can only be described as some misguided attempt to dance. No possibility that an errant paint brush would poke another kid in his/her eye, blinding them for life. No fear that I was just one tug of the fire alarm away from a lawsuit! No!! I present to you Exhibit D- Six year olds NOT running amok at Way Cool Cooking School:
Even Katie at two years of age stayed on her butt for the majority of the time. It was a birthday party miracle.
And now, my mind is racing. This could be a major paradigm shift in children’s parties and party locations. Birthday parties at spinning classes! Chair factories! City buses! Casinos!!! The possibilities are only limited by your imagination.
So go forth, my fellow parents, and plan your own children’s festivities armed with this knowledge. If I can just help one other mom or dad in this otherwise painful rite of passage, I feel like the past three years of suffering will not have been in vain.