Thursday, 11 December 2008

Party Panic

In a little over a week, Max and Me will be hosting his first proper birthday party.

And I am defining proper as having to make an effort, it is actually on his birthday, and we are inviting more than just the grandparents and immediate family.

Due to the closeness of Christmas, and the fact that I have seen little benefit in having parties for children before they can at least understand what they are, and also what sharing actually is. My son has not really had a birthday party before.

There has always been cake, and a few people around with a sprinkling of children, but we have, up to this point, spent his birthday out and about doing something I have thought he would enjoy.

Last year we went on a steam train to visit Santa, and then went to a football match, that was also billed as a family fun day with fair rides and the like.

18 months ago I did throw a party of sorts, a two-and-a-half birthday. Thrown half way through the year, so to space out his birthday celebrations from Christ’s.

He had a good time at that, but I really did not commit to it, as I was a bit self-conscious that it was not his actual birthday, and by inviting kids to a party you are also really asking them to buy him a present.

Last year, with the previous in mind, and with the house-build nearing the business end of the works, I did no such thing. Instead I promised my son he would get a proper birthday party, in our new home, on or very near his birthday.

It has obviously stayed in his mind, because he has often been saying to people, “I love (or like) you, you can come to my party.”

He has also been throwing out random, but quite specific requests.

A number four cake but decorated with Spiderman themed items.

The party has also become fancy dress.

As we are having it at home I thought this might put a few invitees off, so that is actually a very good thing.

But the guest list is a right can of worms, where do you cut it off?

Children seem to bunch up, you can not invite one without the other and so on.

There are also siblings to consider and account for. As my son’s birthday is timed just as the school term finishes everyone will be at home.

All was sort of coming into place. I eventually managed to get some party invites, what a ball-ache that was.

I had a list of people to invite, the selection criteria was final, and I had created a to-do list.

Then bam.

I lose the list, and Junior is sick.


Max has a horrible cough, but no temperature, so I am sure it will pass, and I hope by having it now, it means we shall have a healthy birthday and Christmas.

But it does mean he is off nursery, and it was this week I was going to carefully distribute the invites.

Giving everyone two weeks to get themselves sorted an outfit and my son a suitable gift.

Now as my son clambers over me, concurrently watching Over The Hedge, I really need to stop typing this and create a new action plan.

And I also need to think about how many of his party guests I can get in contact with via the traditional methods of dropping things through their known addresses, or by the less formal, telephone communications, even text message.

If Max naps this afternoon, like the last couple of days, it will give me time to formulate a new strategy. As I know it will need my undivided attention to get in right.

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harassedmomsramblings said...

Welcome to the world that is kids parties! It can become a dark and sordid world :-p

Seriously there are rules and its a big deal :)

Sorry Max isnt feeling well though :(

Kerrie said...

Hope the poor little Possum is well for his party.

As a veteran of fourteen birthday parties for my daughter and three for my stepson my only advice would be to keep it simple. You don't need to go to a lot of fuss with food, the children don't mind as long as there is a cake. Simple sandwiches work well for children too.

You might like a look at my friend Karin's blog for some ideas, her son just turned four and had a pirate party...she sets the bar pretty high. She's on my Blog Roll, her blog name is The Sum Of Mum.

Remember...keep it simple, far less stress on you.

Tismee2 said...

I agree with Kerrie, the last one we had for Alexander involved a room at the local sports centre a bouncy castle and box of games thrown in. I was worried that the kids would soon get bored but they were like Duracell batteries, went on and on!
The fancy dress will add to it - after ours which was halloween theme several parents said how much their children had enjoyed getting dressed up for it.

personally I never do food other than a takeaway goodie bag. Kids don't want to sit and eat, they want to play.

Hugs to you both and hope you have a great time whoever turns up.

Zoeyjane said...

As far as contacting people, can you get info through Max's teachers? I'm sure they'd have phone numbers or even be willing to hand out invitations to applicable parental pick up people.

May the force be with you. Personally, I'm all for giving kids a ton of food, letting them lose in a playground or playroom, then giving them some sugar and sending them home with their parents.

All of the bigger, better, bouncier things? Can totally wait until he's 7 and really concerned with being popular with the ladies.

Penelope said...

I'm afraid I didn;t do too many parties at home. We went for the "taking them off to trash somewhere else" option. Your other commenters are right, though; cake and more cake. Maybe some ice cream and don't forget "pass the parcel" but make sure everyone gets a turn and a sweetie ;o)

Crash Course Widow said...

You know, I've decided that sometimes things fall apart and go to hell for a reason: because my original plan was possibly (probably?) too crazy for a still-grieving widow to take on.

I don't know how even-keeled you feel most days about grieving your wife's death, but I know as time goes on and I genuinely (finally!) have started to feel a lot better that I tend to overestimate how I'll react. Like Anna's birthday this year. Like you, for the first time this year I planned a "big party" (otherwise ignoring the insane 60-75+ people I invited for her 1st bday BBQ 6 weeks after Charley died)...which, for me, meant I was inviting friends and not just family, and having the party off-site rather than at home. I thought I was fine, over the whole Anna's-birthdays-suck hump, and up to the task of a bigger, happy, festive Candice this year...and her birthday this year turned out to be harder than the previous few. Go figure.

So since this will be a "first" for you in your widowerhood--the first big party for Max--maybe it's not such a bad thing that it's getting pared down due to unforeseen circumstances. It might help keep it more manageable for you, or to limit the guest list to only those you really, really want to have present.

Hope it all works out well, however it may be.

Take care,

Single Parent Dad said...

Harassedmom - He is better now and my sense of humour is returning, the party doesn't seem a big deal, at this moment in time.

Kerrie - Simple is my middle name. Hot dogs (bread for any veggies) pass the parcel, musical statues and pin the tail on the rabbit - all being organised by a willing grandparent.

Tismee - Max insisted his party should be here, which inpart I was very pleased with, means he is more than comfortable in his new home.

Zoejane - Most likely, but then there is the keeping it as much on the QT as possible so as not to spark a whole 'Why wasn't Johnny invited?' dialogue.

I agree on the entertainment front. Simplfy man.

Penelope - Going out would be a favoured option, but cost and availability at this time of the year are not good things.

Crash Course Widow - First have been horrible, but I suppose there has to be a first time if you ever hope to do these things - does that make sense?

I am learning to cope with them better and balancing the feeling sorry for myself/what we're missing versus witnessing and sharing in my child's first joys towards the more positive.

Thanks for your comment as ever, it is 'nice' sharing experience with someone in very similar situation.

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