I’m in the midst of planning Littleman’s first birthday party. No, you didn’t misread that. I’m not talking about Baby Bo’s first birthday party (although he is the child who will be turning one soon!) In two weeks, Littleman will turn four but we are throwing him an actual birthday party for the first time.
I know that sounds crazy in the age of Pinterest and play gyms. But really, I just couldn’t wrap my head around spending hundreds of dollars on parties for a kid who was too young to know the difference. Sure, we could have had parties at our house to save money, but our tiny little semi-detached house can’t hold many people and a backyard party in January is out of the question.
I’m not a total party pooper. I just figured there were other ways to celebrate our kid’s birthday until he was old enough to actually enjoy having a party.
His first two birthdays were very low-key. We had separate family gatherings with each side of the family, so he still got to have cake and open some gifts. Last year, for his third birthday, we took the day off so the three of us could spend the day together (before Bo was born). We rode the subway (woohoo!), went to the aquarium and went out for lunch. We gave him a couple of presents. It was special and fun.
During this past year, though, he finally started to really understand the concept of “the birthday party.” We’ve always attended them, but more recently, he starting asking when his birthday was. So I knew the time had come to party on.
So what are we planning? Well, I found a relatively inexpensive indoor play gym to rent. There’s a big playroom where the kids do some activities (and climb on stuff) while supervised by the staff. Then, the kids sit down and eat dinner and cake (which I have to provide). There’s plenty of room for all the parents and the younger siblings, which was important to me because almost all of Littleman’s buddies have baby brothers or sisters now. And, of course, the kids are still too young to come to a party without their parents.
I am not totally immune to the draw of Pinterest and have found cute ideas for a construction-themed party. I’m not going to focus on decorations because we don’t get access to the venue in advance of the party. Instead, I’m focusing on the cake and party favours. Keeping it simple is important to me because I hate when Littleman comes home from a party with a loot bag full of crap. Dinner will be pizza (plain cheese for the kids and a couple other options for the parents). I will make a big rectangle slab cake and decorate it to look like a construction site. (Think dirt, piles of rocks, bulldozers, etc.) I found some awesome little Caterpillar construction vehicles for a good price, so I bought a bunch. I’ll use some to decorate the cake and rest will be wrapped up for party favours.
Beyond that, I need to bring drinks, cutlery, plates and napkins. I hope I can keep it pretty simple because I know all Littleman cares about is having fun with his buddies (and eating cake. The kid really, really likes cake!) I don’t want to stress too much about having the most unique decorations or the fanciest cake or the snazziest venue (the last party place we went to actually had a zipline!) because, let’s face it, the kid is four. We will have many more birthday parties to plan in the future and I don’t want to get caught feeling like each year needs to top the last.
So there we go. That is how we’re planning to celebrate my four-year-old’s first birthday party!