The two events my children’s lives revolve around are Christmas and their birthday. They look forward to Christmas and as soon as that is over they plan their birthdays. That passes and they start writing letters to Santa.
Did someone say presents? You, Sir, win a million dollars.
Christmas is manageable. Or was until they understood the concept of money and consoled me, “Mumma, don’t worry about money. We will ask the expensive gifts we want from Santa. You can buy us something small.”
But it’s not Christmas that has been making me go daft. It’s their birthday. And every year it’s the same story.
The other thing they ask for besides presents is a party. And despite the previous years’ experience, I keep giving in.
And like every year, starts off with Pinterest.
Theme – Aeroplanes.
Wow! Look they created an airport with a runway. The cake is shaped like an aeroplane, balloons like clouds. Look at the little passports the kids get as invites. The return gifts are even bagged to look like luggage. So clever.
Wouldn’t it be fun when my son grows up and becomes a pilot – I could show him these pictures and say, “See, I knew all along.”
This is the exciting part. Starts about 2 months before. Pin this, pin that and my board looks awesome. Tick.
Invites – “So, who should we invite?”
Always ends up with “our class”…That’s about 50 kids and I went for it last year only to learn a lesson. This year we write down the names of the 50 kids and circle the ones they really, really know. That’s down to 20. Now let’s put a tick mark against the ones whose Mummy or Daddy will most likely be free to attend. That brings down the number to 15. Perfect. Now let us finally look at which of these 15 attended last year and thus, will probably attend this year too… ah, the magic number 12. Tick.
Venue – Outdoors!
Yes, it has to be outdoors. They enjoy it better when they are free to run around. Tick.
Food – Too much leftover the last time
So this year we’ll keep it simple. Just the ones that are popular with kids… French Fries, Cheese Poppers, Sandwiches, Donuts, Cake and a lot of Juice.
Return Gifts – Gosh!
The decor, venue and food itself cost a lot so no point being extravagant. Something small but useful – pencils, erasers, colours that can be used even at school. Tick.
6 Days to go and my head is spinning.
Theme – I forgot to order the décor pieces!
Amazon cannot deliver it before the party! Breathe. No point getting the runway, the kids won’t even notice… blue balloons with clouds drawn on them with a sketch pen should do. Ah, the aeroplane food trays – I forgot. The invites went via Whatsapp. The return gifts would have to go…in wrapping paper of all hues. The neighbourhood shop did not even have enough of any one colour so I could stick to a colour theme let alone any theme.
Invitees – 38!
How did that happen, you wonder…Well, my boys came home each day after school and added a few names. “Mumma, today I made a new friend. He was standing in front of me in the line. Mumma, today I met a new classmate who is very cool – he has a Thanos bag. Mumma, he is my best friend – we have been sitting next to one another for 2 days now.”
The count went up to 48.
How would the 2 boys we don’t invite feel if they realized they were the only ones we left out? Not going to happen.
50 invites went. 38 confirmations came.
Venue – What if it rains?
Let me get an indoor venue. Doesn’t look like it will. It’s been sunny for days. Nah, we stay outdoors.
But if it does, what will I do? Indoor! Safer!
But 38 kids plus my 2 indoors will be too much to handle…outdoors.
Indoor venue with attached lawns. Tick.
Food – What was I thinking? What will people think?
Not sure which one I answer but the menu starts accommodating enough choices for vegetarians and non-vegetarians, with nuts and allergic to nuts, with dairy and lactose intolerant, kids favourites and adult’s specials, on diet parents and no diet parents…
The poor aeroplane shaped cake (which I managed to not forget) parked at the centre lopsided.
Return Gifts – Well
Since the Pinterest stage, we had already attended 2 parties. Were gifted 3 sets of 301 piece puzzles at one, and video games at another.
Pencils, erasers and colours…urg. What could I add? Colouring books, moulding clay, pencil boxes, tiffin boxes, water bottles.
I stopped short of adding school bags.
By the way, since then we did get school bags at a party we attended.
Like every other year, it did not rain…the children played a lot and ate a little, loads of food was leftover, the cake was too sweet thanks to all the fondant used, the return gifts were excitedly torn, notes exchanged about who got what and promptly forgotten.
Piñata. Darn. Left that at home.
For me, another party is done. Tick.
I sit back and my wounds, lick.
About Dragon Mommy: She is an IIM alumna who left the corporate world after 15 long years to raise her twin sons in a small town because she wanted to enjoy the simple pleasures of motherhood. Besides she didn’t really have a very successful career in the city. She is single by choice. Not hers. She used to be fun. Now she writes about parenting.