We went to a 2 year old's birthday party yesterday. This party was for the son of a co-worker of dear hubby. We're not one of those families who attend a birthday party every week. The reason is simple - we don't have a party for our children every year and invite every other child we know. Before we had children, hubby and I decided we wouldn't have a big blow-out birthday party for our kids every year to try to keep up with the Joneses. We didn't grow up like that and we didn't want our children to feel spoiled with a big bash and tons of unnecessary gifts every year. We simply invite close family over each year and enjoy the children and each other's company. That doesn't mean every once in a while we don't get sucked in to a party - like yesterday's or the one a few weeks ago at a local indoor jungle gym. I have to admit, these parties get a little out of control. Let's start with yesterday's.
This is not the first time we've been to a party at this particular household. They have 3 boys and we tend to get invited to at least one per year. Since it is a co-worker of dear hubby, it's only right that we attend. This go around, there weren't as many people as usual, maybe 20-25. There are 2 things that stand out when it comes to parties at this home: the mom makes the birthday cake and cupcakes and she personalizes the treat bags. I think when we first started attending these parties, the cakes were just your basic square or round cake with filling. She's since moved on to character cakes with fondit. Yesterday was a monkey. Before that was Wall-E. The next one will be Toy Story. Puts a mom like me with no baking skills to shame. Then there's the issue of the personalized treat bags. I don't just mean she handwrites each child's name on a bag. She buys a gift that is personal for each child. Really? Yes, really! For example, the 4 year old got some colored pencils, glue sticks, and a craft project. Baby boy got a bag full of animal crackers. Is this what I have to worry about now? Personalizing the gift bags for each child? Like just having a party isn't stress enough! Then again, we could go the easy route and host a party at the jungle gym . . . for about $300+. Then there are the parties we attend with a face painter on hand for the kids. Or how about a petting zoo? Pony rides?
Where does it stop? Where, exactly, do you draw the line? What happened to clowns and balloon animals? This is the reason hubby and I decided not to have a big party every year. Maybe every 5 years. Which, unfortunately for us, means we should be hosting a big party for our soon-to-be 5 year old in May. Do I book the face painter now or spend my money on baking classes?