Before I had kids, the thought of spending countless Saturday mornings at kids' birthday parties horrified me. It sounded like pure torture, weekend mornings should be spent having brunch in lovely restaurants, not spent with roomfuls of screaming, sugar-laden children, singing the "Happy Birthday" song.
However, now that I'm a mom I LOVE kids' birthday parties. Many of the parties we go to, are for kids I've known since they were born. It's always both amazing and nostalgic to recount and honor how much they've grown, so I actually enjoy celebrating their special day with them. Plus, since I still mainly control their social circles, their friends are the children of my friends, which means that kids' parties offer me a great opportunity to catch up with my own gal pals.
While in the past I thought I'd be giving up the freedom of my weekends for the confining schedule of toddler parties, the reality is that these parties provide some much-welcomed entertainment for both me and my kiddos. Two free hours at the Little Gym, followed by both lunch and dessert? RSVP, yes! Oh, we can come to your house and my kids can mess up your living room for a couple of hours instead of mine? We'll be there. Parties are especially welcome in the winter months, when entertainment options for little kids are limited. I've found myself hating it if we're conflicted out of a cake-infused gathering or if we wind up sick and can't make it. En route to fiestas, I often lead my kids in the chant, "Party! Party! Party! We're gonna go to a party!"
My daughter has inherited my love of birthday parties. While she enjoys attending any good party, what she really loves is hosting her own. Even prepping for her second birthday, the still one-year-old, would happily run any errand related to her special day. This weekend, we'll be celebrating her fourth birthday. For the first time, it won't be at our house -- it'll be at a bouncy house space. A princesses and pirates bouncy house party... I have mixed feelings about it. Part of me is liberated by the lack of planning and preparation needed when hosting it at an alternate venue. But, another part of me is sad not to have developed a master-theme for the event and to be fully delving into all of the little details that a home party entails. But, overall I'm happy, because I've got two solid hours of active entertainment scheduled for my kids on a day that promises to have terrible weather.