"I won't do that," I promised myself. "What kind of mother lets the holidays overshadow her baby?"
In the whirlwind of the Thanksgiving/Christmas/New Year's madness (now with more madness! One less week!), I didn't realize that Genevieve's birthday was a mere TWO DAYS after New Year. As we say around these parts: Oops.
[For her "real" birthday, I whipped up some cream and put some candles in it. Fact: she liked this even more than the cake she got at her party.]
So, I let all of our family (and closest friends) know that we would be celebrating the following weekend.
"To give everyone a short break from all the holiday business," I said, flexing the truth, just the tiniest bit.
Then, I promptly went to Pinterest, my favorite source for finding other people's brilliant, creative, marvelous ideas. I searched "Two year old birthday party."
Pinterest is also where some of us go (myself included) to see the beautiful things parents do for their children. Clothes, creative ways of serving food, beautiful cakes, elaborate party games. I get vicarious joy from these things, and also, more than a little bit of that horrible Mommy GuiltTM. And envy. Oooooh, the envy. (Pinterest Moms, I admire you. Really, really, really.)
Instead of wallowing in the "I barely remembered the day," guilt, and the "There is no way I have the time or energy to do ANY of this," I thought about what the most important part of Genevieve's birthday celebration should be: Genevieve.
When we were younger, my mom would say, "I can do things FOR you, or I can do things WITH you." Meaning, if she spent all of her time doing laundry, dishes, cooking, cleaning, etc, then she wouldn't have time to do fun things with us. [My mother is a GENIUS.]
The same applies to a child's party that takes twenty hours of prep time. Twenty hours of doing things *for* Genevieve, when really, she'd prefer to read with me, or play together on the floor, or do anything other than play by herself while I work myself mad.
I really feel like an important part of parenting is recognizing what your kids *really* want and need. I could do the elaborate stuff, but Genevieve would get maaaaaaybe ten minutes of fun out of it. Not a great return on the time invested.
So, I thought about what Genevieve loves to do. Play at the park. Read books. Play with balloons- BINGO! We would fill the living room with balloons, and she could play with them as much as her fuzzy little heart desired.
We took her to Affordable Treasures, where they have (what I affectionately call) a balloon bar, where you can pick from a kajillion kinds of balloons. We let Genevieve pick as many balloons as she wanted, got some Sesame Street party plates, cups, and whatnot, and brought it home. (The total for the balloons was in the neighborhood of about $15. Tops.)
(I would like to point out that Genevieve was *exquisitely* well-behaved in a store full of tiny, fun, grabbable things. She held my hand or the shopping basket the whole time, said "thank you" to the checker, and helped carry the reusable Sesame Street shopping bags out to the car. These bags have been a fantastic investment, since she always wants to help carry them. Full hands = helpful = well-behaved. Another of my mother's brilliant ideas.)
We served crudités for snacks (Genevieve's favorites, of course), and did a build-your-own sandwich bar for lunch. We got a couple of different cakes from Bijan's (our favorite bakery), and part of the entertainment was blowing up the balloons, of course.
|Hours of fun for the whole family!|
And joyous arms!
Since we're all about returns on investment, and getting a good value? The balloons are still in the living room, and as they lose their oomph, they slowly disappear.
Which is why our Christmas tree is still up. We're maximizing the return on our investment.
(That's my story, and I'm sticking to it.)