Sunday, 21 August 2011

The birthday party monster

I have a mothering flaw.  Okay, sorry, you're right - I have another mothering flaw.  Not only am I rubbish at house work, competative with lunchboxes and impatient with sick kids ruining my plans - I'm also a birthday party monster mother...

When Eldest K had her first birthday party it was a complete non-event.  We only knew one other couple with children at all - so there was only 1 other child there, and the very few of my friends that tolerated all this mummy stuff (most were still off  having careers...).  I bought a bog standard vanilla sponge cake, stuck a plain candle in it, stuck a store bought poo-bear hat on her and her friend's heads (which they promptly pulled off and chewed) - that's it - a great time was had by all.  I was, surprisingly, happy with this as a party.  Looking back however I'm so embarrassed, and K is a little disappointed with the photos.

But between K's first and second birthday party something happened.  We started making more little people friends and started going to other parties.  And I had my eyes opened to my inadequacies.  There were themes!  There were colour co-ordinated accessories. Good mother's baked cakes.  Every one ooohed and ahhhed.  It was like a wedding.  It was competitive.   It was important.  You needed to co-oridinate the invites, the outfits, the cake, the decor and the thank you notes. You had to - surely? Surely? Okay - I'm not stupid.  You don't have to.  All kids want is a day that's all about them, they don't give a hoot if the plates and napkins match the balloons.  And mother's that think they do need to get a life.  But the thing is - I looked around these parties and I thought - project!  I want to do this!  This looks like fun...

So K's second party is a bit more of an extravaganza.  There was a theme - Roo, from Pooh Bear (not straying too far...), I got someone to make a Roo cake.  There were Roo napkins, plates, cups and brown and blue balloons.  I stuck a picture of Roo on the party packs.  I rocked it.  I was pleased with my efforts.  I gave myself a high 5...  Looking back it was probably worth 2 out of 10.  Third birthday - Princess theme.  Table cloth, my first home made cake - a purple castle with plastic princess dolls stuck on it, multiple shades of pink mixed together for the napkins and balloons, individualized party boxes with colouring in on the lid and then different shades of pink paper stuck under them, even cut with scrap booking scissors.  Contents of said box all embellished with the wretched princesses - stickers, tattoos, pencils and rubbers.   Not a bad effort - even looking back nearly 5 years later.  5 out of 10.  By the time Middle E had her first birthday I'd started getting snobby.  I needed a non-Disney theme (teddy bears), I needed nice textured organic things (brown paper party bags tied up with string).  No plastic fantastic thank you...  7 out of 10, and my first half decent cake to boot.

And so it goes on. I evolved into a birthday party monster. Each year it got more extravagant, more expensive and received more eye-brow raising from my husband - no dear I don't think August is too early to start planning a party for December...  I haven't always managed to steer away from revolting themes (I've done Tinkerbell, Hello Kitty and Peppa Pig) but not matter the theme I have become obsessive with each party. I spend a ridiculous amount of time thinking about what colour to make the serviettes and what cake to make.  The kids start suggesting their next party theme before they've had their last one...  Middle E and Baby G both have their birthdays next month.  Yesterday I spent 4 hours cruising the internet for things for their parties.  Much to my husband's horror I even bought stuff off the Middleton's site...  G is having a Very Hungry Caterpillar party - not so much because she loves the Very Hungry Caterpillar (she is 11 months old - she loves her dummy and pulling the cat's tails but neither of those make for a great party theme) - but because I want to make a VHC cake and a large Caterpillar out of balloons.  E is having a Russian doll party.  A challenge - can't get this stuff everywhere, had to order stickers from the US!  And this really excited me!

So - relection time - is this a brag blog or a cry for help?  I'm not really sure.  It is okay to get this carried away with cakes and accessories?  I know it doesn't make me a better mum than others, but does it make me a worse one? Me and my kids spend weeks planning these parties, but are we losing the point of the simple celebration of a birthday?  I'm not sure, but I do know I "well chuffed" with array of paper plates I bought yesterday...

1 comment:

  1. Dr.B, This is common in the Emery household, it has been passed from generation to generation. The planning is a sign of love for the person it's Birthday it is, and a way to show how deep that love is. My mother started this with me as of age one! I had the most amazing snake cake, techni-coloured with smarties, chocolate triangles, gum name it I had it! Every year it improved from there...My Daddy also had heart failure, just like Mr.B ;)
    When I was old enough to notice,I asked my mother why she had been so-called "OTT" with every brithday celebration she replied it was being a good mother and a good hostess- (think Stepford Wives)and showing me the joys of celebrating my life. Today I plan my beautiful boyfriends birthdays to the T. I bake amazing cakes, plan the food, do the grocery shopping for the party atleat a week before and then again on the day. I purchase his birthday presents 3 weeks before as I have been meditating on his wish list for months...struggle to make up my mind, because there is so much to choose from. The long and short of it is, I love planning parties- as my mother said, I will be a good mother, a good hostess (when my time comes to be a good Stepford Wife)and to show my children the joy of celebrating their lives :)
    Dr.B I sincerely love your cakes and all the photos you post of your beautiful children's birthday personal favorite was Middle E's Lady Bird Brithday. You all dressed up, even will your preggy belly you rocked a lady bird outfit :)