Tuesday, November 28, 2006

What would Clair do?

I'm trying to channel my inner TV Mom as I grapple with The Birthday Party dilemma. Can I just say how much I dislike kids' birthday parties? They are just barely tolerable when all the children involved are small and adorable. By elementary school, however, any residual cuteness has worn off and you are left with semi-jaded kids expecting to be entertained in ever more thrilling venues. Bleh.

I've been hinting, not at all subtly, to my very soon to be 7 year old daughter that it would be wonderful to celebrate her birthday be inviting ONE OR TWO special friends to join us for the local performance of The Nutcracker followed by desert at the local ice cream and candy emporium. She is cool to this idea, lobbying instead for inviting all the girls in her class to a blow-out at John's Incredible Pizza, (that's Chuck E Cheese on steroids for those who don't have one in your area). I cannot tell you how unexcited I am about that idea.

Of course, it is her bad luck to have been born smack in the middle of Advent to a clergy mom whose available time and energy to plan and execute birthday bonanzas at this time of year is always going to be just about nil.

We are reaching the point of no return soon. We either have to send out invitations or decide not to. Have any of you successful transitioned your off-spring from the kids' birthday party to more subtle and mature forms of birthday celebration? How did you accomplish this?


Princess of Everything (and then some) said...

I am no help...sorry. Birthdays are a family thing around here. I avoided that trap at the beginning. *grins*

Katherine said...

John's Incredible Pizza was built when we lived there... we wondered, as it was in construction, is this a movie theater? A Walmart Supercenter? a.... PIZZA JOINT?!

In my family, it was well-established that birthday parties involving more than one or two close friends only happened when we turned 6 and 16. I guess two per decade per kid was as much as my parents could face. I never really fought it, because it was one of those family rules, like no Beverly Hills 90210 or Ho Hos. :-)

I think the smaller birthday parties can be just as memorable and sometimes infintely more fun than the out of control bashes.

But good luck!!

ppb said...

No kids. Advent birthday, too!
My parents adopted a policy early on that my sister now follows with her kids: parties only for odd numbered birthdays, one guest for every year old you are. In between, it's just the nuclear family, or maybe you can have a friend over for dinner.

Susie said...

No kids here either... but when I was a kid, the hard & fast rule was parties were at home. No roller skating parties, no McDonalds parties, no bowling parties. They had to be at home, and I had to pick the games. And the number of people had to fit around the dining room table with the card table on the end, so 12. Then, when you turned 10, you could upgrade to slumber parties, but the guest list was reduced to 8. Of course... at that age, renting a VCR was really cool since most people didn't have them, and we'd watch 2 or 3 movies.

At some point, maybe 11 or 12, I decided that getting to take two friends to a cool mall that wasn't the one in my own town was a good was to celebrate. So, there is hope.

Anitra said...

She is seven now? I can only imagine...

One year we did Chucky Cheese. Never again. Among the many reasons not to do this was the fact that the kids were locked down at the table rather than allowed to interact with each other.

Another year we did the local gerbal tube/ball pit thing which was much more entertaining but I'm not sure those emporiums are still around.

I wonder what you daughter wants from this event? Is it common for all kids to be invited to bdays? Is she wanting to fit in with what she has experienced with other kids bdays or is it about the present haul?

Is her reluctance to do the Nutcracker a desire to separate the birthday from the larger Holiday (I've heard its a problem for December birthdays) or just not active enough?

You already have a track record with elder brother - what kinds of parties has she experienced with him? Family birthday celebration policie will include him too....

Around here with the stepsons - there is a willingness to celebrate on the day with something quiet (special dinner of the celebrant's choice) and then a larger event up to a month or two later when it is out of the crazy time.

For what its worth. Happy Birthday to your daughter!

SpookyRach said...

My step-daughter has a May birthday, right at the end of school, which lends itself to inviting one or two kids to go camping with us. Score!

Lisa in Austin said...

Long-time lurker, first-time commenter.

I have twins, boy and girl, birthday Dec. 20, turning 10 this year. We do kid birthday parties earlier in the month [the 9th this year] and family on the 20th.

Beginning in kindergarten, separate parties. One from 10:30-12:00, other from 12:30-2:00, or something similar. Last year we went to Main Event [bowling and pizza] and had it together. This year we are back to separate parties. Son is having a "Survivor" themed afternoon party, daughter is having a "Disco" evening party. Eight invitations each [that's how many are in a pack!]

I can't do "no parties." I had a summer birthday and we were ALWAYS at my grandmother's, so I NEVER had a friends-invited birthday party. I'm compensating now.

I would love for them to get to the point of inviting one or two friends for a special event -- dinner, movie, sleepover, whatever -- but we are not there yet.

Connie said...

I am reading these comments with interest, since my soon-to-be six year-old is already learning that such things as Chuck E. Cheese exist. Saints preserve us!

But Lisa--I just have to ask: back-to-back parties with kindergartners? I am not worthy.