I planned a birthday party for my boss recently. I have yet to enter the birthday-party-every-weekend phase of life since my children are a little young for that, but boy did I get a taste of what’s to come.
Here’s what I learned:
1) Adults are way more concerned with party decor than kids. Back before pinterest we could only compare our party efforts to those of our friends and neighbours. Now, oh goody, we can compare ourselves to women all over the world. Three yards of multi-patterned fabric bunting with embroidered monogram. Pom poms, topiaries and garland – homemade – of course. When I was growing up there was a $2.50 Happy Birthday banner from Wal-Mart and some balloons. Did we have fun? I’m pretty sure we did. I don’t recall hearing a friend say “man, this party would sure be kickin’ if Jimmy had his name on the wall in decoupage letters.” Party favours. I mean really. No favour bag? Sorry, my favour was looking after your child for two hours and giving her sugar.
2) Kids don’t need fancy food. Gone are the days of cake from Publix and vanilla ice cream. Now it’s a whole new species. In 2012, we budget for birthday parties year round. Entire tables of food that make a pop sound. Cupcakes with life-size butterflies, rose petals and miniature dachsunds made of fondant. Cake balls and mini tarts and a whole assortment of food children don’t even like. Now, don’t get me wrong. I did slave away in the kitchen making cupcakes and rainbow coloured sugar cookies. Know what the kids wanted? Smarties and teddy grahams. I would have felt slightly demoralised had I not seen the adults scarfing down the cupcakes. Glad the chaperones were pleased.
3) Entertainment is where it’s at. There was a clown at this party. A clown who, for two whole hours, entertained the kids. He played pass the parcel (Australia’s version of hot potato). He chased and ran and danced and sang. He let the kids hit him with the balloon animals he made. The children were screaming with laughter and the adults, well, they just sat back and ate cupcakes. My kind of party.
If us parents could stop competing with the phantom Pinterest Stepford Wives and forfeit the neurotic comparison game, we just might have more fun.
PS – What I Learned series….