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Friday, May 4, 2012

How to Survive a Birthday Party

How to Survive a Birthday Party
Subtitle: A year by year guide to surviving what will easily come become the most nerve wracking day of the year, or days of the year, depending on how many times you decide to multiply. 
This entry is going to be slightly different. I have replaced the steps with the years and am grouping the ages slightly. No worries, you will still be amused.  I live to serve. 
Year 1: What a sweet year...  The year you are still reading parenting books and magazines and looking up cute things on Pinterest.  Every soul in a five mile radius wants to come and celebrate this big day with your family. How sweet!! (Sarcasm there, followed by some barfing noises and other obscene phrases). Look people, let me make this simple for you.  The kid is one. They are not going to remember anything.  Your parents, they don’t care what the theme is.  Your friends? If they have kids, they are laughing at you because they remember being just as stupid and if they don’t have kids they are making a mental list of what you are doing wrong as if they are going to do so much better.  So, who are you trying to impress? For this major milestone you only need ONE thing.  Just ONE.  A cake for the baby.  Big, little, chocolate, vanilla, hypoallergenic, whatever.  Something fun that your child can eat.  Sing the song and plop that bad boy in front of him/her and let’em go to town.  Don’t worry about food for everyone else. Trust me, no one wants to eat after seeing that.  
Years 2 -5: Ahhh.... the kid party years.  The years where you are still stupid enough to invite a ton of people and possibly every child at daycare or every child at homeschool playgroup despite the fact that NONE of them can behave and you hate their parents.  You might think it is ok to bring these little demons into your home and have a cute little party in your front yard, where the children will frolic joyously and blow bubbles. Please get the hell off of Pinterest and cancel that damn magazine subscription. Those parties NEVER work like they do on TV. And you have to talk to the children, not just sip wine spritzers and gossip about the neighborhood. Ergo, here is my solution: Chuck E. Cheese.  DON’T click away.  Allow me to explain.  You guys mentioned you liked charts.  Here’s another one: 

Party Item
How Chuck E Cheese takes care of it
How this helps you
Have both eVite or printable option
The moment other parents see the words “Chuck E. Cheese” they will scream in terror.  This eliminates all annoying idiots and brats from your party because only true friends will suffer this with you.  
Tokens, Games, Loudness
Not only does this help you avoid having to book other stupid party things, like clowns, magicians or Moonbounces, but the place is so damn loud and insane that you just hand out tokens and let them go with no worries of them terrorizing anything in your home.  
Pizza... and some other stuff...
Look, to adults, it tastes like crap, but the kids love it.  You didn’t have to cook.  And you don’t have to clean it up.  It’s a win, win.  Just bring yourself a protein shake; it will get you through a few hours. 
Cake/Ice Cream
They sell these too.  Extra cost. Of course.
This actually does not taste bad.  And they make it all cute and bring it out singing. You can bring your own cake, but honey, if you have never transported a child’s birthday cake before, let’s not start now.  It is a life experience one does not need. Your car will thank you. 
Goodie Bags
Either you can buy extra OR the kids get their own crap with the tickets!!
The last thing we think of are those “compete with the last parent who had a party” damn goodie bags.  This is better than that crap - this is CREATE YOUR OWN.  AND, you don’t have to worry about allergies!

Years 6-10: My own children are in this range.  This is a nice range, because I have managed to ELIMINATE BIRTHDAY PARTIES!!! Mwa ha ha!!! Here is how I did it:  Travel!! I let them pick a place to go for the night or for the weekend and we travel.  AND if the place is close, you can let them bring ONE friend (I opted for a cousin myself because if I break him there are fewer legal repercussions.... kidding, Heather, kidding....). This year the kids picked The Great Wolf Lodge and my kids are talking about DC/Medieval Times for next year.  But wait, it gets better!! You can influence these decisions as well, so YOU get to travel.  However, you need to make sure that you have thought out your argument and keep your spouse out of it.  I tried to convince my daughter that Canada might be fun at dinner one night.  Hubby looked up and asked what we would do there. I happily listed off some fun activities to do in Toronto. Hubby told me that list did not include stalking the Saving Hope studio and if we were to go to Toronto that activity would not be added.  Trick to use daughter’s travel present as an excuse to meet Michael Shanks - THWARTED BY HUSBAND!!! Damn him.  Next time, I will do that convincing while he is at work :-)
Years 11-15: The Limo.  I credit my mom with this idea.  Tweens and young teens love limos. You really do not have to do anything else but rent a limo.  My mom managed to completely entertain without complaints eight 13-year-olds for well over an hour with a Hummer Limo that had a slot machine.  Granted, 13 year olds cannot gamble, so the limo driver gave the kids a bunch of dimes and then swapped their winnings for candy, but they were so thoroughly entertained that when the ride was over and they were arriving for dinner, they didn’t want to eat. THIRTEEN year olds turning down food!! For a Limo!?! Yeah, it’s true.  And, like above, there is no clean-up, no people at your house and due to the size a party with a limited amount of children.  Maybe you can even avoid food if the limo driver has enough candy.
Years 16-18: Bonfire. Now, I know what you are thinking, what the hell happened to keeping people out of your house? The key here is that you DON’T have these children in your house.  Stack a bunch of trees in a pile like a teepee, pour on some lighter fluid and BOOM.  Get everyone to bring a covered dish and make your teenagers significant other grill the hotdogs (or if this is a party for a boy, make him do the grilling).  If you have some extra cash, since you are probably only buying hot dogs and sodas, get a Port-o-potty and THEN you can keep the dirty little heathens 100% out of your house.  At about 9 or 10 p.m. (later if you are feeling adventurous) start pulling out the marshmallows and campfire songs.  The teens will flee en masse. 
Years 19+: Your ass is GROWN.  Throw your own damn party.  Don’t you have a job? Do you realize how much these stupid things have cost me for the past 18 years?  Where is my party? What about 21 you say? Fine, I will buy you a drink.  Spanish wine.  You are gonna need it from here on out.  Might as well start now. 

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