Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Birthday Parties and Labor

I've been hiding out from the extreme Texas heat. It's been sizzling (even by Houston standards) and its only June.

No one is showing up to feed me ice-cold grapes in the heat
of the day. Or fan me while I lie on a hammock .


Keeping Only Child entertained inside all day (did I mention naps are dead?) means never a quiet moment. This high maintenance only-child racket is swiftly coming to an end.

My little boy will be four years old in July! We went to my nephew's birthday party this weekend. He also turned four and it was a perfect plan: a small crowd at a shaded, covered park pavilion. Chick-fil-A tray. Simple. Easy.

The heat was so oppressive that the birthday boy was threatening to heave by the time the clown was packing up.

I'm SO not up to throwing a big party right now
! (Or even a little one.)

Our family alone totals more than 20 people. We live on a street full of kids, 15 kids to be exact. My good friends have 13 kids between them. Who to leave out when we love them all?

Decisions had to be made and so they were made.

Only Child thinks staying in a hotel is a great adventure. I figure we'll stay in Galveston and make a weekend out of it...take him to the beach on his birthday, lunch somewhere, order a cake...everyone is happy.

Isn't that a great plan? Who wouldn't like to stay in Galveston for their birthday?

And when did kid birthday parties get so out of control? I must admit, the cost of throwing a party at the usual places has tipped the scales in favor of my Galveston plan. I was trying to think of something different to do because parties at Chuck E Cheese and the bouncy place are so popular that I'm afraid my son doesn't appreciate how special they are.

And, I hate to admit it, but my kid has come to expect a nice goody bag on the way out the door after a hosting family has already dropped a nice chunk on the festivities. (And I am fully part of the circuit, don't get me wrong.)

No more. I'm starting a movement of Mom's breaking the cycle of extravagant kid parties...the MBCEKP, if you will. No more dropping the equivalent of a car payment on kid parties. My organization calls for a retro celebration, or none at all.

Who is with me?

Am I sounding like a scrooge yet? It gets better...

On to labor.

Mistakes were made the first time around. We didn't have a plan. I didn't know I would be cowering in pain and waiting HOURS for that epidural. My husband left the hospital with his mother to buy a hamburger while I was in labor and then he was too...nice to ask his family to leave when I begged it of him in his ear. I had to do it myself.

That is all unacceptable.

This time around, if "you" haven't had dinner before the show starts...there will be granola bars in my suitcase.

Also, we will receive no visitors until after the blood and gore.

I take that back. My SIL Julie, the shining star of birth I, who took care of me during the dinner-run has forever ingratiated herself to me. She was my comrade in the trenches. Julie may enter the room, if she would like. And I will be comfortable in saying, "OK, thanks for coming, bye now."

So friends and family, please don't be offended that I don't want to take center stage in my most vulnerable hour. Please understand why you didn't get an invitation to the big 4 year celebration and why you won't get an invitation to the next birth-day, either.

We'll take lots of pictures and fill in the colorful details here.


Kellie said...

Oh girl, the first part of this post took me back to my first pregnancy: My son was born at the end of September in San Antonio TX. That was heat like I had never felt before....and I grew up in the desert.

And your party story reminded me of a birthday party my son went to when he was about your sons age that made me realize that parties for children had gone the way of America: over the top and over priced.

It was cowboy themed, with real life horses to ride, and at the end of the party every child left with a stick horse pony (that made hoof-clopping sounds when you pulled the reigns) cowboy hats, and a HUGE cowboy boot cookie with their name hand written in frosting.

Seriously, I spent less on the gift I brought.

After parties like those, what else is there in life? ;)

Live.Love.Eat said...

I love your idea on breaking the mold for bdays. I have done quite a few at my house which I love but we have also done the usual ones as well. Funny, I have the same exact bouncy picture of my son going down a slide. Thought it was him for a sec. I would love to stay in a hotel in Galveston for my bday!!!! It's 10-29 in case you wanted to know :)

Aggie2percenter said...

Does this mean we don't have to attend other people's parties? If so, count me in!

Christie said...

Oh, the heat. This has been a bad few weeks around here, too.

And, um, yeah. I was the one who got the iphone for my husband's birthday. An iphone for ME, not him.

Best. wife. ever., right?

Jill said...

The heat is horrible. I'm SO over it and like you said, "It's only June."

I don't have kids yet but the extravagant kid birthday parties drive me crazy. I've noticed with my friends it's a competition among the moms.

Picky said...

Wow! Get up on the wrong side of the bed this morning? Pregnancy hormones?

Should I be feeling guilty that my kids LOVE, LOVE, LOVE their birthday parties??!! Bryce and Brenton are constantly "planning" what they want for their next one. I look forward to seeing them enjoy their day with their friends and family.

And the labor thing? That's your fault for letting him leave LOL. I let the ex know, if I can only have ice chips and we both got ourselves into this mess, you're only on ice chips too buddy!

Girly Stuff said...

I'm with Picky on this one. Birthdays are the one time of year it is legal to spoil your kids and their friends (I mean the kids of MY friends!)

And I do believe in the "thou shalt not eat if I cannot eat" command of labor and delivery. I think it is the 11th one.

And having a party in the hospital room? Well...maybe if they bring a bottle of wine. ;)

Aggie2percenter said...

That's the thing Girly Stuff, they did bring wine. They were having a good ole time!

Girly Stuff said...

I could have had wine in the room???

Bonnie said...

I have two SIL'S in Houston.One of my neices from there is visiting us here in Colo and the other sister and her family will be here Wednesday. They are looking forward to a break from the heat.

I hear you about kids bday parties. I've done it many times but I think I'm done! It's just out of control!

Bonnie said...

Ps. I left a little blog award for you over at my blog.


Tooj said...

I think your MBCEKP (if that's right...I'm too lazy to go back and double check, probably because of the heat) is a great idea. I'm definitely guilty of throwing parties in the "fun" places that cost too much. I always rationalized it with this - "our house is too small, my parents are divorced so their houses are out of the question, we LIKE throwing parties." All of these things are true and so it makes it easy to decide on a neutral location and throw parties. My husband and I really do enjoy all the planning and seeing people come and have fun. And the pictures I take and the scrapbooks I paste together will be good memories for the boys. HOWEVER.....the $$ needs to become an issue. I shouldn't overlook it and "make it work". It should stop. I have a birthday in August for my soon to be 5 year old. I will see if I can put myself in birthday party rehab and do a lay-low gig. Wish me luck.

And on the "allowing people in" thing? You're very nice. I said HELL to the NO. :)

Janine said...

With all four kids, my husband and I have decided to alternate years. We have a small family gathering on the off years, and plan ahead for the bigger years. For example- this year my daughter turns 10, a big birthday, we're not doing a party, per se, but she's going to her first concert ever with me, her dad, and her sisters....and that's her big birthday, whereas next year, it's an intimate special dinner at home. The one tradition that's never overlooked (my kids won't allow it) is buttermilk pancakes) in the morning with balloons and presents.

I think you can do so many things to make birthday's special and it's so individual to each families' circumstance, but I agree that it's gotten out of hand in today's society if people feel they must throw a gala for their child's birthday that they must go into debt for.

I love your ideas on labor. I'm so glad you enjoyed my post on the subject. Again, everyone is going to feel differently, as you can see from the comments, it seems as if some people would love the company and other's whole heartedly agree that it's an intimate experience. Every opinion is so individual. You articulate yourself so well...fabulous!