Sunday, November 02, 2008

When you next hear me say

"oh, I am going to make it easy on myself", and it happens to be in relation to celebrating (or not celebrating) 'Salina's birthday and it is in regard to the "no party, no stress, no fuss" aspect I have attempted not once, not twice, not thrice but - oh goodness, lack of latin, you rear your ugly head now? - four times in her lifetime, just smack me on the upside of the head and tell me to stop fooling myself.

For her first birthday, we had a party in the park. Despite having friends (childless) who couldn't quite understand the concept of timing a party to the birthday girl's naptime (that would be why a beginning and end time were on the invite - heads up, end time has something to do with when we expect a nap, not when we expect the last guests to arrive), all went surprisingly smoothly.

For her second birthday, P. had just died and I was in no fit state to throw a party - but my amazingly wonderful sister took over and gave 'Salina a lovely party in their back yard.

We were 2 for 2 in the birthday party stakes.

For her third birthday, I thought rather than a party, we would just meet a few friends down at the park and have a play and some cake. The weather looked ominous. Brisbane in November has an even chance of being stormy, and we had just blown the chances. I cleaned my house and yard, rang all the invitees and held it at home in case it stormed. It didn't but I blew the "relaxed" approach.

For her fourth birthday, I decided that I would push out the boat. It was a full on organised party, with over 20 children and easily double that number of adults (I have many friends who still "borrow" my child), a clown and a sausage sizzle. It was huge, I didn't get to see a thing as I was running around "ko kokosh bez glave" and she scored heaps I cannot attribute as the children had a run on the present table before any adults thought to start writing down what was coming out of the flurry of paper.

Her fifth birthday I thought rather than a party, we would just meet a few friends down at the park and have a play and some cake. The weather looked ominous. (I was on a forum at the time where I wrote a splendid rant about the day - unfortunately the forum is now a memory (or rather, a webpage devoted to adverts on single parents, it appears)) So I cleaned my house and yard, rang all the invitees and held it at home in case it stormed. Luckily (for my sensibilities) it did storm - and I was confronted with a dozen children indoors wanting party food (I had a cake at least) and games - that was what the park was going to be for, kids!!! One other mother was the children's coordinator at her church so she stepped in. Ah, the good old days when parents stayed with their offspring at such times.

So - 3 for 5.

Her sixth birthday she had a surprise party with family (and lord how she howled at that - note to self, six year olds do not deal with surprises). For her friends, I thought rather than a party, we would just meet a few friends down at the park and have a play and some cake. The weather looked ominous...

4 for 6.

Just as a test of a theory, her seventh birthday saw not 1 but 2 organised parties. Unfortunately it was a month before I discovered blogging, so you do not have the benefit of that experiment. Let us just say that it proved:
  • weather turns out wonderful when I put the word "party" on an invite;
  • I am crap at paper mache, and
  • chocolate melts in pinatas

Last year, I dodged the whole weather-watch aspect to her birthday, so I am not sure if I include it in the statistical analysis? I shan't.

This year, I went for the (lets all join in here) "rather than a party, we would just meet a few friends down at the park and have a play and some cake" - only to avoid the whole afternoon thunderstorm thing, I pitched it for the morning and a swim at the beach. So yes, rather than thunderstorm warnings, we had morning drizzle that threatened to clear...

That would make it
  • I organise a party, it happens (although I am so stressed on the minutae it burns, yes even griefstriken and letting my sister do all the organising I stressed about the little things) with no weather intrusions - 4 out of 4 (although do we count the 6th as 1 party or 2?);
  • I organise a "play and cake" alternate to a party and end up having to roust up a party with the added degree of difficulty of cleaning my house and yard - 4 out of 4

Of course, I speak from the sort of deprived childhood that only had 1 proper birthday party - one that I had to share with my sister, even.

So deprived was it that I remember that party as a truly wondrous and special occasion, where my mother baked cakes decorated in nursery characters (it was fantastic) for my sister and I and 8 of our friends.

Advice? Stories?

The good news is that under the house is finally tidied in preparation for the wedding, so its a left-handed tick in the to-do box!


megz_mum said...

The dreaded birthday parties! Gotta love them! We have all the birthdays in the "wet" season, and have fluked good weather. Never stress free, never easy, but what can you do? I am hoping to make "happy memories of childhood"

Melody said...

Oh this post had me laughing out loud Jeanie!! (Thanks for that!!)

I'm not one for lots of children in a small space so this year (and last) it was Monet and 3 friends. Nice. At home. No games. Just playing in the bedroom kinda thing but with a take home party bag included. I once read somewhere (another blog perhaps) that it depends on the age of the child how many friends they get to invite - turn 7? 7 friends can be invited etc., I quite like that theory and it shall be one I will follow in the future....

Debby said...

Gotta tell you, I cannot BELIEVE you are worrying about a birthday party when you're getting married in a couple weeks. My birthday parties were usually held at the child's favorite fast food restaurant. I brought a cake, and everything else was provided. When they got older the party was wrapped around an event. For instance on my son's 18th, he went paintballin' with some friends at a local paintball field. He was a pooper. He was the one who simply said, "I don't want a party." The girls always had a party. Cara just planned her own. She wanted her friends over for the weekend. They had piles of videos and food, and we just stepped over them. It gets easier.

MissyBoo said...

Hahaha! I'm dodging the party this year, and skipping the country. Miss (turning) 3 will think the champagne brunch we're at is in her honour anyway!!!

Happiest Birthday Wishes to 'Salina for Monday!

Maude Lynn said...

I'm of the view that birthday parties were created to torture mothers!

Life. Complicated. said...

Happy Birthday dear 'Salina!

Well, I dont know how to turn things happening into a non event. This year I have to plan a 16th birthday party. It isnt really sweet since the birthday belongs to a boy but I do want to do something rad! Oh. and it is the week before Christmas. --sigh--

Jayne said...

We don't do birthday parties per se, we just invite a stack of family friends (and family) over for a casual bbq, drinks, tea and coffee, lounge around the back yard with the radio playing, the kids all running amok and demanding rides on a friends' Harley Davidson while we natter and gossip....

Pencil Writer said...

My first born had the good form of entering mortality on, of all days, New Year's Eve. Yes. Every year is a total bash--provided by whomever is doing the whole firewords thing, you see. And since her younger brother and a few guys from Church and a near neighbor all are/were in the fireworks selling business . . . we had some wonderful displays for her annual celebrations. The best, however, was probably one year recently when she lived with another school teacher friend who's house just happened to be on the river where the town has a spectacular fireworks display EVERY year. They actually begin the first weekend of December and every weekend thereafter, plus New Year's Eve.

However, as a young child, she felt very cheated by the celebrations--since they were for nearly all the Western World. So we had a couple of "unbirthdays" in June. They were pretty fun.

Anonymous said...

Oh dear, I have a meet at the park for a play and some cake for Ivy and Noah's thrid birthday, in a matter of days... perhaps i should reconsider.

dadshouse said...

Your daughter is going to have some pretty fabulous memories from all those birthday parties. Nice job!

Woman in a Window said...

I spend a great deal of energy trying to evade the parties too but end up with a quasi party for friends and then family. That's two parties each kid every year. ugh.

♥.Trish.♥ Drumboys said...

You had me nodding and *sighing* Happy birthday to Salina.I hope her party rocks and the weather is beautiful.

We had a bad run of weather every year - mid June for our now 15yr old.

The twins are July and it has been same deal 2 out of 2 .

Wow - your weeding is so close ... Can't wait to see the pictures and hear the tales .


Party? You're suppose to throw them a party?

Of course I did but always away from home...bowling alley, game venue, kiddie restaurant. He didn't seem to care one way or another and probably doesn't even remember.

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure I'd be game to go another one after all that lol

pressie for you at my place :)