My youngest heathen turned seven on Friday. Unlike years past, I was pretty adamant that we would not do the big-event birthday party with all his friends and classmates. First, the expense is of feeding and entertaining 25 seven year-olds is not high up on our priority list right now. Second, I can barely keep up with my own kids, let alone chase down a gaggle of them after their parents drop them and disappear. Finally, in all the chaos of large, elementary school birthday party, I always seem to miss out on the important moments because I am too busy playing hostess. Frankly, dropping several hundred bucks on a bucketful of messy, mind-numbing chaos was just not going to happen this year.
However, we still wanted Bear to feel that he was getting the full birthday experience, so we decided to take a day off work, and give him a full day of fun. Obviously, he wanted to open his gifts first thing that morning, so we let him have at it:
Luckily for us, his wish-list was very manageable this year, and we were able to stick to a reasonable gift budget. We then met some of our close family at his favorite restaurant (which we coincidentally had $30 worth of coupons for), and had lunch with a couple of his grandparents and aunts. Since it was a work day, we didn’t have that much of a crowd, but he still got the impression of a “big” get-together. After lunch, we let Bear select any activity he wanted, and he chose to visit a local family fun center that includes an arcade, miniature golf, go-carts and bumper boats. We burned our allotment of quarters on arcade games, amassed several hundred prize tickets and then headed outside to the miniature golf course.
All the guys played, and I….supervised.
Thank goodness we did not keep score, because it was already an epic competition. Score cards are for sissies, ya know.
Finally, we headed home to have cake:
And the boys jetted off to play with all Bear’s new toys, including (insert long-suffering sigh here) yet another Nerf gun. Meanwhile, I made a margarita and hid in the bathroom.
Overall, I still had some Mom-guilt that we did not do the big, birthday she-bang. However, instead of a crazy, chaotic party, we were able to give him a full day of fun, and let him have the power of choice, which was a treat in and of itself.
I came away from this weekend realizing that the boys’ birthdays do not always have to be a gauntlet of party insanity. By playing our cards right and letting him “plan” his big day (within reason), Bear still had a wonderful, fun birthday, and his parents are not stressed, frazzled wrecks.
Not too shabby, if I do say so myself.