Evolving birthday parties

Recently we had our first drop and go party. My oldest had her best school friends birthday and it was a weird new experience for me. Awesome! Since I had three other kids in the van and wasn’t sure what the heck I’d do if I had to stay and supervise. We found the perfect set of toys for her here – an L.O.L Surprise! Interactive Live Surprise Pet with Realistic Sounds and L.O.L. Surprise Hairgoals Makeover Series with 15 Surprises.

What we always do is invite families. We hate, absolutely hate, to exclude people and this way the entire family gets to hang out, catch up, eat food and relax. All the siblings come and since my girls are such various ages everyone has a buddy to chill with. We’ve done the big play place, we’ve done small home parties, we’ve done almost everything it feels like sometimes. In total with all our kids we have had 16 birthday parties.

The first ones are always for the parents, let’s just be real about that. It’s typically the only real party a parent can plan alone and not worry about what the child actually likes “theme” wise. We’ve done Ewok smash cakes (made with red velvet because this Mom is a freak) a set of boobs (my personal favorite. It started out as a Death Star but Mommy can’t do fancy icing.) and a fairly standard adorable one for the second youngest. The youngest is only six months and I’m already planning out her first birthday. Not everyone is weird like me but I like to plan stuff out waaaay in advance because I tend to forget then remember oh god I have to plan a party….

I wish I could do the latest trends of cool balloon sculptures but I like breathing and a latex allergy is a PAIN to deal with. I tend to make all of our decorations since I’m handy like that, and give away handmade goodies in the goodie bags. It didn’t start out as a money saving thing but as the kids get older and more plentiful it worked out in my favour.

This year, the going to be 8 year old wants a drop off party like her friend a few weeks ago. So instead of inviting everyone like we usually do, I let her set the guest list and she even made her own invites. It’s hard giving up control for me, but she is truly becoming her own person and part of being a Mom is respecting that independence. The flip side of that is even with reminding her to bring them to school for a solid week she didn’t send out the invites till the last minute and at this time only two people RSVP’d – mainly because I quietly texted the parents and let them know. She set the date, the hours, and is helping to create the decorations this year. It’s science themed but we aren’t going to do any science experiments. She has a show on Netflix she enjoys, and wants to watch some episodes with her friends.

Because I’m friends with a parent or two they are going to come and bring the siblings so the younger kids don’t get excluded. That way we can hang out and the littles can go play outside and not bug the big sisters. Her favorite friend of mine at the moment is almost a clone family wise of us. They have two girls, exactly the same age as my two oldest and the Mom and I get alone smashingly.

When doing the count for the party this year we landed at 14 kids total, including three out of four of mine. Talking to the birthday girl she wants to make science ID badges with my embroidery machine. We’ve made all sorts of these before but of course she tells me this the literal day before the party. I’m so happy that my machine does 1300 stitches per minute and has a large work space. Without that it would take days to finish 14 of these suckers. Over the years these little crafts have become my favorite part of the party planning process -even though it’s stressful when it’s last minute- because me and the kiddo get to spend some good quality time together working on a project she gets to show off. Hearing “Oh yeah isn’t it cool? My Mom and I made it” just makes my heart full. You can’t ask for anything better than that.

Since the party is over dinner time she also picked her favorite meal to feed her friends. Once more I almost feel like I got this Mom thing handled because she asked for my “famous” handmade chicken strips and French fries. We used to use a lot of premade frozen foods until around Christmas when I got a deep fryer to replace my old one. (Moving sucks and the cord got lost) Kiddo has written about her favorite Mommy dish in school projects once or twice “Mommy made fried chicken and fried fries” which adorable and mildly horrifying. You’d kinda want something healthy to be talked about at school but in the end I’m just glad she thinks of what I make fondly.

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