How much are you willing to spend on a child’s B-day Party?

Ok, so I have gone to a significant amount of birthday parties this year. Between my 4-year-old and my 6-year-old social butterfly I have had the opportunity to observe many moms in this Birthday Chaos Mode. We have attended bug themes, princess themes, dancer themes, super hero, dinosaur, cowboy, you name it and I am sure there has been a correlating themed birthday party we attended. Since when did a child’s birthday party become such a huge production?

The vast amount of time, energy, and money that is sunk into these occasions astounds me at times.  I always thought the big, break the bank party people threw was for weddings, not the case any more. My husband and I were discussing this birthday party epidemic the other day and we were trying to determine how this crazy birthday party revolution evolved.  When we were children we did not have birthday parties till we were at least 6 years of age and even then they were often smaller scale gatherings.  We would have a hand full of friends over to play pin the tail on the donkey, make a pretty picture, have some cake, and call it a day.  Granted every now and again I would have a friend whose parents would have a party for their child at a fast-food restaurant or even at the pool that they were members of but, again, it often wasn’t anything to elaborate.  So when did this birthday party revolution occur and how has it evolved into such a spectacle?

Was it a 4-year-old who woke up one morning and declared that he wanted a bounce house, a clown, tons of candy, cookies, cake, cupcakes, trampoline, pony, dancers, goody bags trimmed in gold that Donald Trump would be jealous of, and an outlandish gift that is not appropriate for my age that all my friends will envy.  Or perhaps we should blame MTV?  After all isn’t that the easiest was out? Why take responsibility as the parents, no, let’s blame entertainment media.  Did this all start because of the MTV elaborate show Sweet Sixteen where parents, mind you often millionaire parents, throw teenagers parties that any bride would be envious of? Perhaps the over the top party idea was then imbedded to memory and was unconsciously referenced when it came time for the 4 year olds birthday? Or maybe a mother really asked her child what they wanted for their party and they made their every wish come true? I don’t know about you, but if I actually threw the party my 4-year-old wanted there would be a space ship in our backyard, perhaps a few fire trucks as a safety precaution in the front, the Wiggles dancing on the roof, and Yo Gabba Gabba characters being shot out of cannons on the side of the house.  Oh, and the cake would be tons of PB & Jelly sandwiches in the shape of the spaceship in the backyard (don’t be surprised if you actually see this type of party on some celebrity reality show- talk about crazy!).

I guess we will never know the true culprit, who first entertained these crazy competitive, over the top parties but the crazy bus needs to be put out of commission. The elaborate birthday parties are making moms go wild and not in the cool crazy way. We are talking scary, nuts, veins bulging from their foreheads way.   It is not a pretty sight for anyone to witness let alone a poor, innocent, 4-year-old.  Why are these moms driving themselves crazy to have the best birthday party for their child? We get it, you love your child but don’t you love them enough to provide boundaries and limits to their expectations.  If you are starting off so elaborate at 4 how are you supposed to top it at their next birthday?  These moms are not only competing with each other but they are also competing with themselves.  If you have more than one child each party must be better than the last. 

Moms there is no need to break the bank when it comes to your child’s birthday party, keep it low-key.  Have fun planning the party with your child.  Bottom line and most importantly enjoy the day.  Your baby will never turn 3 or 4 or whatever age again, soak it in mom and designate another parent or girlfriend as your photographer that day.  You will be so busy with the activities that you will not have the time to take a lot of pictures, you will treasure them later.

So, how much is too much to spend on a child’s birthday, how much did you spend on your child’s last birthday? What is the most elaborate child’s birthday party you have attended? Any one happen to see the Real Housewives of OC last week? Alexis, a mother fo 3 young children had an elaborate party for her twin 4 year-old daughters (the entire thing was rather humorous if you are looking for a good laugh) and she had puppies for the guest to take home (like on Bridesmaids), how pissed would you be if you were one of those children’s parents who attended the party?

Wednesday’s what would you do?

Let me set the scene…

So, we got home late last night from my parent’s house so the kiddos went directly to bed without making their lunches. Our 6 and 4 year olds fell fast asleep but the 17 month old had a high fever followed by crazy coughing fits.  So I gave her some Tylenol to lower the fever but for some reason Tylenol acts as a stimulant for her and she was up and miserable and she definitely wanted me to know it.  The night went a little something like this…

Or…another convenient method that is all the rage with the toddlers these days is just wiping their noses on mom. This way it cuts the cross contaminate process out entirely and she is guaranteed to get your germs. After all isn’t mom always saying you need to share?

We got cozy on the couch, or as cozy as one can get on a couch with a toddler that moves ever ten minutes.  I would get close to falling asleep then she would sneeze or cough a wet nasty cough using my face as a tissue and say “mama ouch”.  Her sweet raspy voice saying “mama ouch” really distracted me from the fact that my face was starting to stiffen up from the amount of snot I had accumulated over the course of three hours.  I say three hours because my eyes were constantly on that crazy clock determining exactly how much sleep I could get if we fell asleep at 1pm, at 2am, at 3am…then we were greeted by another visitor, my 4-year-old.  Followed by my 6 year-old at 4:30am, she had to sleep on the Yo Gabba Gabba couch on the floor surprisingly our couch could not comfortable sleep all 4 of us.  Around 5:30am I found myself exhibiting jealous feeling for my 6 year-old that was squeezing her long legs into a small Yo Gabba Gabba couch on the floor.  Why? Because that small couch only sleep one and was snot free!

You know you have reached a new low when you find yourself contemplating throwing your child off this couch so that you can sleep on it. I haven’t experienced jealous like this since I was in sixth grad and Kimberly pulled off the Blossom hats better than I did (what were we thinking?).

Unfortunately 7am came and I had still not slept a wink but this means nothing to anyone, after all I am mommy, we are supposed to just function on  oxygen alone, food and sleep are just luxuries.  Remembering the kiddos did not have time to make lunches the night before I quickly started to throw lunches together then got breakfast on the table.

Even after 2 cups of coffee this mama is still not waking up so I am running on empty for the remainder of the morning and I opt to do morning drop off in my PJ (it is really difficult to tell in the winter since I have a longer coat, boots, and sunglass on. Although it is not sunny out so that might have been a dead give away). 

Well at least my unconventional attire might have provided a topic of conversation for some mothers, your welcome ladies. I was thinking of you all along and how I could make your day more fluid and besides, there is nothing worse that sitting down with a friend and have nothing to discuss.

So, as we are heading out the door I do the double-check/reminder questions, which go as follows;

Do you have your folders?

Do you have your lunch?

Do you have socks on? (Yes, surprisingly sometime they rush out without socks even in the winter but I think my talk about frostbite and gangrene really help or just scared the crap out of them, either way they are wearing socks).

All of which my 6 year-old replied a firm YES.

Upon our arrival home I let out a huge sigh of relief, I did it, I made it through the morning mayhem on no sleep. Then I see it……

Stupid Kitty!!! She isn’t even smiling but it feels like she is smirking at me.

That crazy little kitty waving at me, I have never experienced so much animosity towards an inanimate object in my life.

So, what would you do?

They say children lean responsibility in three ways. First, by watching the behavior being modeled for them by their parents, they are watching your every move, secondly, by being instructed, and third, through their own life experiences.

I have already instructed her to remove her old lunch bag from her book bag when she returns home.  I have also provided guidelines in term of the morning routine of removing the lunch bag from the refrigerator and placing it into her book bag.  I also encourage her to double-check prior to leaving the house that she has everything that she requires. This morning she answered yes to all questions including the lunch bag question. Therefore is it time to move onto the third step, should I let her learn through her own experience?

They say (doctors, therapists, professionals, etc.) if you don’t do things for them and let them fail they can learn the consequences otherwise they will not take the ownership.  But they never said how hard it would be, should I just drop off her lunch? She is going to have nothing to eat. But then again she does get a snack and she does have friends who might share the stuff they don’t want, like the healthy stuff, carrots, apples, etc.  But then again I am the mom and I am supposed to provide for my children but I am also supposed to be raising a one day self-sufficient contributor to society. Ahhh…..I  don’t know what to do but maybe it is because of my lack of luxuries, you know food and sleep, gotta get me some of those.

What would you do if faced with this dilemma?