Can I Overcome Five Years Of Birthday Party Failures?


Elby will be five on November 12th, which in case you weren’t aware is “only a few weeks away and a week is seven days – Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday – that’s a week!”

Every day it seems that Elby and I need to go over her “birthday list.” This is a compilation of all the things she’s seen on commercials that she really really wants but knows she can’t have except for a special occasion.

How did she find out about all these things? Well, normally everything she watches is grouped methodically on TiVo and doled out in small doses, one Lazytown at a time. But once in awhile the TiVo times out and suddenly an episode of Hannah Montana has just ended and Elbs is yelling from the other room, “Mama! I want this! Mama! Hurry!” and “this” turns out to be something called Moonsand. “It’s revolutionary, Mama! It never dries out.” On the one hand, this toy costs like thirty bucks but on the other hand, before you judge, at least she’s learned the word “revolutionary,” right?

Bigger than my problem of all the toys she wants for her birthday is what exactly we’re going to do to honor her special day. Five is a big one. Jon and I got away with no birthday party for her first birthday because we jointly decided that people who throw a party for their one-year-old are either mentally deranged or have a lot of money they need taken off their hands.

When her second birthday rolled around and we noticed that she didn’t yet have the language skills to ask “what are we doing for my birthday?” we took it as an invitation to just invite some of our own friends over and celebrate making it through two years (presents were welcome -especially if those presents were alcohol related).

By the time Elby turned three, I was only six weeks out from bringing twins into the world (as it turned out, I was two weeks out but I didn’t know it then) so we decided to have another little shindig at our house. At least this time I threw up a Dora themed “Fiesta” sign, grabbed some Dora plates and hats, made a batch of cupcakes and invited five or six of her friends to party along with the adults. Elby had a fantastic time but I ended up in the hospital on bed rest a few days later. Obviously I blamed her.

Cut to our munchkin’s fourth birthday: we needed a real plan. For months we’d been attending professional birthday parties for her classmates -parties at places like “Pirates and Princesses” or “Diva Girlz and Adventure Boyz” where your kids can spend two hours getting glammed up, eating pizza and collecting a goodie bag for the low low price of four hundred bucks (pizza, beverages and cake not included). Elby thought every one of these parties was just about the greatest thing that ever happened to her so it only seemed fair that we do something along the same lines for her. One of our neighbors runs an adorable ballet studio for kids which Elby had been to sporadically and seemed to enjoy so I thought we’d have it there.

A real live kids’ birthday party thrown by moi. I decided early on that I didn’t want to spend our whole mortgage on it (considering this would be the first of many), so I looked for ways to cut costs. Luckily my neighbor gave me a huge discount – which was a bonus – but between the pizza, champagne (it seemed like a good idea at the time), coffee, bagels and juice boxes, we hardly had much left over for the goodie bags. On a whim, I hit the 99 cent store and found some stuff called Floam – which is like Silly Putty only made from a substance that cannot be traced back to this planet. It comes in neon green, orange, yellow and hot pink and from what I’ve heard, eleven months later it’s still lingering in some of our guests’ couches, rugs and hair. I will not be forgiven for Floam anytime soon but other than that, the party was a success.

So here we are, on final approach to birthday number five and I can’t think of what to do. I’d love to have it at Chuck E. Cheese and call it a day but Elby, rather than being happy that she had a birthday party at all last year, is actually expecting us to step it up a notch. She wants My Gym or The Jump Around or a princess party with a real live princess who comes over to hang out with her and her friends and puts glitter in their hair.

Yeah. The kid is four-years-old going on delusional if she thinks I’m dropping that kind of money for her fifth birthday. Then again, time is running out and I don’t have any better ideas. So okay, I may end up giving in and having her party at the Jump Around, a building full of dirty jump houses, where the only parting gift the kids will get is swine flu.

But there is no way I am buying her Moonsand. I have to put my foot down somewhere. Ah heck, I just Googled it and it’s on sale for twenty dollars… Happy birthday Elbs.



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