Random Musings: Kid's Birthdays

Question: Thoughts on kid's Birthdays. 

Courtney: What, My kids have Birthdays?!? That is probably what Dana thinks I think about the day my children were born...However, both of those days (the day I gave birth to them) were the happiest days of my life! That may not be reflected in the parties that I plan (or don't plan) for them...A few things play into this. 1) Mason was born right in the middle of Fall wedding season! Every year I want to plan something big/themed/etc...and one year I did (it was his first birthday) but every year I am just so bogged down with weddings and planning those that Mason's birthday is an after thought...I know that is terrible...but there are only so many hours in the day! and what do you remember pre 5?? 2) Mason is happy with ANYTHING...I mean that literally...he tells me every year that his was the best party ever! Even picking up on unintended themes like last year's "tractor party" (I put a tractor on his cake and made the cake look like a rock quarry) So I don't feel the need to go all out....maybe Dana's kids are harder to please :) 3) Nora has no idea what a Birthday party is....doesn't really care much about toys/presents/cake etc....She may next year (I said that last year...and she didn't!) 4) Similar to number 1, Nora's b-day is the end of wedding season and I am tapped out! Can't think of another party/event even if it IS my kids birthday. 

All this being said... I know I need to step it up as Dana has some crazy (that is putting it mildly) need to one up herself every year (How do you one up hand sewn Dora backpacks with a liner as a favor....??) and I think Mason is catching on. We just got Ada's invite in the mail and Mason said "Mom, I want to send out papers for one of my parties some time...." Thanks sis!

Dana: What can I say? I really love kid's birthdays! I was really stressed for Ada's first birthday. I felt like I had an "expectation" to uphold being a party planner. The problem was that we were on a tight budget, so I had limited resources. Her party went off well - WAY too many people, but it was fun! I realized that DIYing it was the way to go! I got preggers soon after the party and realized that their birthdays were going to be a month a part. I really didn't want Ada to feel slighted because of the new baby, so I started planning months before knowing I would be too tired to deal. I did insist on making the cupcakes and at 2am, when I finally finished - I decided to never do that again! I enjoyed all the little things - the dirt cake cups that I (well my mom helped) to look like Oscar's trash can, the paper banner, and all the decorations. I decided that it is actually a stress reliever to have a plan and idea months before - I am able to sleep at night. Seriously. If I can't sleep - it is probably because I need to make a to do list for work, life, or birthdays.

Everyone - I mean EVERYONE says I do these parties for myself. What will a 1,2, or 3 year old remember? Probably nothing about the invitations that took hours to perfect, or the hand sewn backpacks that kept me up until 2 in the morning finishing, or even the paper banners that took hours on the computer to design and then put together. Yes, they may not remember it. But, they will remember that birthdays were always a big deal when they were kids. I remember a handful of birthdays, all the family that was there, and the cake - I seem to always remember the cake :) But birthdays weren't huge in my family. Every year I dread my birthday. Mostly because I have an expectation or even wish that it is a big deal to other people. And it always falls short - selfish, I know. But it all started when my entire family forgot my 18th birthday. Very 16 candles - Courtney was getting married, mom was sick, dad was living in Florida. It was also the day I found out I was wait listed for Teaching Fellows. Courtney came be-bopping in as I was crying, and she asked what was wrong, I told her I didn't get fellows. She said, "Sorry - is that all?" And then I yelled at her it was my birthday. Her response "happy birthday!" I slammed the door and went to work.

I try to stay under the $100 mark for each party - to do this, it requires a lot of hand made projects, late nights, and thinking outside the box. Thank God for Pinterest and tutorials! The last two years have been not as exciting for Ada, but as we are giving her hints about her party - she is SO excited. And that makes me even more willing to do crazy things like make backpacks for all her friends, felt maps, various decorations, and stress over the details of food and drink. In the middle -  sometimes I hate myself for caring so dang much - I mean really, is a kid going to notice that I  didn't hem the end of the strap perfectly? Probably not - but I will notice it, and it bothers me. Why? Maybe it is a sickness..