Little Man will be turning 1 at the start of September, and Boo is coming up to her fourth birthday, in early October. Naturally, I’ve been pondering how best to mark these milestones and make them special for the children. And I guess that’s the sticking point and crux of this post really – ‘make them special for the children‘. For Boo’s first birthday, we took her to the farm and then we did have a little party for her. Nothing huge, just family and a few close friends round to our house for a birthday tea. She was exhausted, I was a little stressed with the preparations and rushing about fitting it in around her naps to ensure she wasn’t wiped out by it all, and I was left wondering whether she really ‘enjoyed ‘it? I suppose at that age, it is more about us then them, so is that right? I have Little Man’s coming up, and as we did this for Boo, I’m feeling that we should do the same for him. The husband disagrees. He thinks smaller scale, spread it out over a few days and give him little treats each day. We have, amongst other things, a farm and park visit, cake and balloons, a trip out to Thomasland, and presents to open, across 5 days worth of ‘birthday time’. We’re going with this, as really the only point on which I differ from his here is that ‘she had it, so he should’ – but I’m wavering on whether that really matters. She had a lot of things that he doesn’t have, like peace and quiet, thanks to her!
Moving on to Boo, since that first year, we’ve done things a little differently with her. We have little birthday teas at each grandparents house, including family on either side attending the relevant grandparents’ tea, which builds in to our regular weekend visits to them anyway. There’s often cake and balloons, so all is well. For her second birthday, we took her to Chester Zoo, and then stayed in a hotel up there overnight, which was a first for her, and she loved it. For her third, bearing in mind Little Man was just 4 weeks old, we went to Thomasland for the day (she’s a huge theme park adrenalin junkie!), as it’s only 10 minutes from us, so an easy day out and her grandparents popped in to see her when we got back. This year, we’re booked into Splash Landings hotel, with our Alton Towers tickets all ready (free, of course, thanks to Tesco Clubcard, as were Thomasland tickets last year…!) and she can’t wait. But some of her friends are having parties. We’ve been to some for 2nd and 3rd birthdays, and they seem to be increasing as she gets older. I can only imagine the surge in her social calendar when she starts school. But is it the correct etiquette to reciprocate? I’m aware that she’s had fun at the expense of these parents laying on parties for their children, yet their kids aren’t getting that time back in kind from us. I’d rather spend the money on something a little more spectacular for just the four of us (the tickets might be free, but alas the hotel and water park are not!). I’m also not one for the whole ‘keeping up with the Jones” and trying to throw a better party than the one we went to last week. My mind doesn’t operate like that, but is that fair? On our children and others? Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that as the children get older, if they want parties, I’ll point blank refuse them. I’m just not up for having them simply because everyone else does! I’m probably influenced by the fact that when my brother and I were younger, we didn’t have big parties either. Friends round for a tea and some games or a film, yes, but never a hired hall, entertainer and the entire class. I was happy with that, and I was aware that that meant more of the budget could be spent on my presents 😉
What’s your take on this one? Do you do big parties? Should others reciprocate? I’ve a feeling once Boo’s at school the party treadmill will begin..!