To say that there is a vast difference between the birthday parties I had/attended as a child and the parties thrown for children today would be an understatement. I literally remember my birthday cakes coming from the grocery store cooler case, with the price sticker still intact on top of the clear plastic domed lid. Themes? Nope. Entertainment? Possibly a round of pin the tail on the donkey. Every once in a while a piñata would be involved but that was as crazy as it got.
While I enjoy attending a Pinterest-threw-up-here-event, be it a wedding, a dinner party, a baby shower, etc (mainly for the Instagrammability factor, obviously), I in no way, shape, or form am interested in being a Martha Stewart-level entertainer. I'm just not a very efficient person who can do it all and I know my limits. I left my child alone in the crib this morning while I spent 15 minutes attempting to not look like a sleep-deprived crazy person, and came back to what can only be described as a scene of utter and complete carnage. Let's just say it looked like my son had gone to town on a chocolate cake...except there was no chocolate cake involved. I'll just leave you with that. But, I digress- my point is, I can barely keep it together with my current set of responsibilities and planning any type of event is so much additional work that I could only take it on if I was willing to let something else suffer- like spending time with my kids or working on my business.
Enter my 4 year old son. These last 6 months, he has truly learned what a birthday party is as he not only attended many, but started developing concrete ideas as a result. When he started talking about what he wanted for his birthday party 2 months in advance, I knew I wouldn't just be able to serve a cake in the house anymore and call it good.
While the parties we attend may be a bit extreme (we live in an urban setting in a very upscale neighborhood), they are typically a combination of the following:
-held in the party room of a luxury apartment building or at a country club that may or may not be 45 minutes away
-themed everything down to the color-coordinated linens, custom-labeled water bottles, and modern floral arrangements in the party color palette
-every inflatable possible- balloon arches and bounce houses, as well as some sort of playground because most building's have a kid's zone
-broadway show-level entertainment, complete with a full cast reenacting said theme's disney interpretation (for boys it's cars, toy story, and paw patrol, for girls- pick a princess and make sure your daughter wears the princess gown of her choice, because it is just a given that she just happens to have 10 in her closet).
-a sit-down plated meal of chicken nuggets and fries served by hired waitstaff, obvi.
-a piñata filled with prizes
-a custom layer cake complete with fondant figures
-a goody bag filled with more prizes and candies
-the event coordinator who oversees the entire production
And we haven't even gotten to the cost portion of it. While I am a bit practical and can't really wrap my brain around spending $500+ for a 3 year old, this mom's informal Facebook poll showed that most parents are ok spending this.
With that being said, I do have friends who go overboard in throwing birthday parties for their kid's and I support them 1000% because they actually love the process. And for a party-goer, it's really fun to attend for the eye-candy factor alone. It's just never going to be my thing, and I don't think my children will feel like they've missed out on anything as a result.
So, back to that 4 year old...what did we end up doing? Tune in next week when I post a roundup of althernative birthday party ideas.
What do you think about throwing extravagant parties for small children? Leave your thoughts in the comments below:)