By popular demand (i.e., two people casually inquired about it), here’s an update on Phaedra’s birthday party. As funny as it would be to come on here and be all OH MY GOD SHIT WAS BANANAS AAAAAAAAAAAAAH, it really wasn’t. It was a hundred times more stressful preparing for the party than the actual party. The kids basically entertained themselves for an hour and a half, and then I jacked them up on cake and unlimited scoops of ice cream. Then I sent them all home with their moms. Goodbye, extra kids! I was super tempted to slip one of my kids into one of their purses, but in the end I decided that my kids were actually pretty cool and I should keep them.
Also, Surrey wouldn’t fit in a single purse. Seriously, why are these moms carrying such tiny purses? And how am I supposed to slip my enormous eight month old into such a tiny handbag? PLEASE TO UPGRADE.
Here’s the post-game analysis of how my suggestions and strategies actually worked out:
1. Semi-decorated cake: Um, I don’t mean to brag, but in terms of execution, this one was a total success. When Cake-and-Ice-Cream Time came, I popped off the plastic lid to my Meijer bakery cake, arranged Blossom, Bubbles, and Buttercup on their respective frosting balloons, and stuck a “5” candle in the middle. Everybody sang, she blew out the candle, and I served cake and ice cream to all.
Maybe everyone was in awe of my sweet decorating skills, or just really hungry, or trying to figure out why I didn’t even have the decency to ask the lady at the bakery to write my kid’s name on her own birthday cake, but suddenly everybody decided that all small talk should stop and everyone should silently glare at me while I served cake and ice cream, ignoring all my (awkward) attempts at chitchat. I have absolutely no idea what to make of this. Was it some kind of initiation or hazing? Because I already did that shit once at band camp, except instead of getting dessert at the end, I got to eat a plate of prune baby food. Surprisingly little has changed between then and now.
Also, please someone tell me what the fuck I was thinking when I bought a birthday cake two days in advance? I wasn’t worried about freshness, obviously, since the label on my cake clearly stated I had exactly one more day before it would become stale. I completely forgot that I live with Bella, a.k.a. Cakewrecker. She is deeply obsessed with cake. You know how in horror movies, a vampire can be talking to you about some deep, philosophical concept, but then they see blood and suddenly become single-minded monsters that will stop at nothing until they’ve sated their awful lust for blood?
Yeah. Substitute “blood” for “frosting”, and that’s what we’re dealing with here.
I put the cake in the fridge, thinking to myself, “This is a really bad idea.” Which was confirmed about two hours later when Bella took the cake out of the fridge and attempted to bring it to me, requesting CAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAKE!!!! FYI: Three-year-old cake vampires don’t understand the concept of waiting two whole days to eat a cake that you could be eating RIGHT NOW.
What was I saying about the cake being a total success?
2. Goodie bags: OK, for real, these sincerely were a success. Little Debbie snacks and Easter candy for everyone! I also forgot that my mother-in-law, amazing bargain shopper that she is, found a ton of Lalaloopsy Mini dolls on clearance for $2.00. Whut whuuuuuuuuuuut!!!!! So each kid got to pick out their own Lalaloopsy. Even the lone boy that came seemed kind of jazzed about getting a toy. I guess at the end of the day, a free toy is a free toy.
3. Decorations: Husband bitched, but hung the streamers in the dining room (where, almost two weeks later, they remain). I blew up about ten balloons, hung three on the mailbox, then watched them blow past the window about an hour later.
4. Cleaning: Here’s a fun story: a few nights ago, I noticed that every time I walked through the kitchen, I could swear I smelled sour cream and onion dip. Which was weird, because I knew we didn’t have any sour cream and onion dip in the house. Finally, after about the fifth time I noticed this, I finally thought to take a look-see at the dirty pots and pans I shoved in the oven OVER A WEEK AGO. Oh yeah, we did have onion chicken a few days before the party! Guess Rob didn’t really put the leftovers away after he ate his dinner that night. Guess that’s what onion chicken smells like after incubating in a warm, dry place for ten days. Guess I don’t cook that often in my house. Moral of the story: don’t trust your husband to put away leftovers.
5. Cut the guest list: This was a good strategy. We had five kids show up between three parents. Not a huge group, but manageable. In fact, from what I read online, a good rule of thumb is to limit the guest list to the age of the child, i.e., three kids for a third birthday, five kids for a fifth birthday, etc. Check out Little Miss Rule Follower over here! Another thing that worked in our favor was passing out invitations last-minute. The kids were on spring break the week before her party, so we passed out invitations at school the week of the party. So, you know, only the most elite kids and parents with absolutely nothing going on and didn’t mind shopping at the last minute for a birthday present were available to come over. Actually, the three moms that did come were downright delightful. It was like a party for everyone involved: the kids got to run around and have fun, and the moms got to sit and talk to other adults with minimal interruption by kids for an hour or so.
There you have it, folks: it is indeed possible to have a birthday party for kids with minimal effort. In fact, it went so well that I can’t wait to plan Surrey’s first birthday party this summer NOT REALLY.