They Say It’s Her Birthday

November 12, 2009

Emilia’s birthday is this weekend. She will be four years old. Four year olds, she informs me, always have birthday parties.

“So do five year olds. And sixes. I don’t what happens when you get really old, but I hope you still get cake.”

I didn’t tell her that when you’re really old, like, thirty-something, you’re lucky if someone fixes you a bowl of cereal and washes the dishes. No point in rushing the disillusionment.

She asked for a birthday party, so we’re giving her a birthday party. The problem is, it has only just occurred to me today that throwing a birthday might mean doing something more than sending out invitations and cleaning the house (memo to self: clean house). There should be a cake, I suppose. And games. Do kids play games at birthday parties? Is Pin-The-Tail-On-The-Donkey still an acceptable game, or has PETA come out against that? Do I have to hire a clown or something? Can I drink? God, please tell me that I can drink.

We threw her a birthday party when she turned one, but that was more for us than for her, and really, with a birthday party full of babies and toddlers you just give them some teething biscuits and then sit back with your martini and watch them get jacked up on cookies and roll into each other. Four year olds, I’m guessing, are a bit of a tougher crowd.

I have about 48 hours to pull this together, and a limited budget. I need inspiration, advice and suggestions on how to turn a juice-box into a cocktail.

HELP.

Related Posts with Thumbnails
Share!
  • email
  • Facebook
  • StumbleUpon

    { 88 comments }

    Pepper November 13, 2009 at 2:41 am

    Ooo, the big thing right now is doing a craft at the parties. I would think about a craft.

    A really good website with parties by theme and age is: http://familyfun.go.com/parties/

    They have crafts, food, coloring sheets, and games. My vote would be for the Flower Party.

    CAKE: You can make cupcakes pink(or her fave color) and yellow frosting. And set them out in flower shapes. Easy but very cute!

    DECOR: Get some colored tissue paper at the dollar tree or a craft store and make these giant flowers: http://familyfun.go.com/crafts/giant-tissue-paper-flowers-667712/
    Let the guest take them home if they wish. Give any boys balloons.
    Add some green streamers and you are set.

    GAMES: Cut lily pads out of Green Construction paper and play musical lily pads. Play pin the Bee on the Flower.

    FAVORS: Fill tiny flowerpots with seed packets, flower stickers, bug stickers and gummy worms.

    FOOD: Make veggie fruit trays: http://familyfun.go.com/recipes/vegetable-flowers-with-homemade-ranch-dip-685566/ Gummy Worms, Put snacks in flower pots.

    CRAFT: Little tissue paper flowers or paint flower pots. Or make these paper leis for the kids to wear (I would pre-cut the flowers): http://www.enchantedlearning.com/crafts/flowers/lei/

    HTH
    .-= Pepper´s last blog ..Thankful Thursdays: My Boys =-.

    Cayley November 13, 2009 at 9:36 am

    I’m having the great internal struggle over opening gifts vs. not for my 6 yr old’s party tomorrow. On the one hand it does avoid that crazy frenetic unwrapping chaos — and avoids having to deal with that one pain of a kid that always tries to “help” with the unwrapping. The last time we went to a party they didn’t open the gifts. I kept waiting and waiting, eyeballing the pile and my watch. To be honest it was me that was disappointed I didn’t get to see the gift get opened, my son didn’t even notice.

    But on the other hand it’s what we always did, and feels just wrong to not do it at the party. I’m blessed with a kid that thinks everything he gets is the greatest thing ever so I don’t have to worry about him giving the “disappointed face”. I don’t know if I can pull off acting non-chalant (and un-guilt-ridden) as I shuffle people towards the door with a big pile of unwrapped gifts just sitting there. Maybe I’ll try that open-as-they-come trick. I’ll tell you what I WILL be trying: that mock PJ party this time next year! Genius!

    Also: Adult beverages at the party. Always.

    Rayne of Terror November 13, 2009 at 9:41 am

    I just took my 4 y/o son to a very fun Scooby Doo themed party. It was 2 hours long and 6 kids of 3-6 years old plus babies. Mostly the kids played, but at some point a monster (uncle dressed up in Scary Movie Halloween outfit) arrived and stole the presents. At the time the presents were stolen the kids were doing their craft, putting stickers on $1 flashlights. Then the kids took their flashlights and followed the simple clues to find both their goodie bags and the presents. While the guests checked out the goodie bags, the birthday girl opened her presents. Then there was a fried chicken dinner from the supermarket and coolers of juice boxes, pop, and beer. Cake, a little more play, and time to go home.

    I’m disappointed when presents are not opened at birthday parties because at this age I put a lot of thought into the present.

    julie@MommySaidWhat? November 13, 2009 at 3:02 pm

    I’m against opening presents at the party. You never know what the kid’s reaction is going to be and you want to avoid hurt feelings at all costs.

    Also? I do a slow roll out of the gifts. If they open them all at once, you’re kind of screwed, no?
    .-= julie@MommySaidWhat?´s last blog ..Sponges =-.

    kootnygirl November 16, 2009 at 7:56 am

    Really? You don’t know what the kids reaction will be to gifts given by other kids the same age? Maybe I wouldn’t open that hand-crocheted afghan from Aunt Marge, but a bunch of cheap plastic barbie stuff? The reaction *should* be all good. Heck, my kids would be excited about the afghan, but they’re pretty deprived, normally (heh heh).
    .-= kootnygirl´s last blog ..new year’s resolution =-.

    Sheri Bheri November 13, 2009 at 10:09 am

    Yay! 4 y/o girl parties are fun. Really.

    We had a Pretty Pink Princess Party for my DD’s 4 y/o birthday party. I made pink (!) bread for the little tea sandwiches. Almost a year later, she told me that I wasn’t invited to her 5 y/o birthday party because I didn’t make a good party for her the year before. Sigh.

    So yeah, don’t stress too much.

    Don’t invite too many kids. Expect the parents to stay, so have food & drinks for them too.

    Play games. Pin the XXX on the YYY (whatever you have / can get). Duck duck goose. Freeze dance. Hot potato. Bean bag toss. Balloon stomp. I’ve also heard of reverse-musical-carpets. Where you have various carpets and you keep taking a carpet away, and at the end they kids have to all try and get on the last carpet.

    I also disagree with games where someone is ‘out’. At Zoe’s daycare, when they’re playing this kind of game, when someone is out, they sit in the middle of the circle and everyone sings a silly song at them (sorry – it’s in French) and then they get back in the game. So if you can think of some kind of funny ‘forfeit’ it could go over really well.

    And cupcakes ensures that you have no “her piece is bigger!” or “I wanted the piece with the icing balloon!” or anything else that ends in “no fair”. If I freakin’ have to hear “No fair.” (in either official language) ONE MORE TIME ….

    Do lootbags. Yes, they’re cheesy. Yes, parents hate them. But kids LOVE-LOVE-LOVE them. (Zoe & her friends were playing puppy, and they all had puppy-names, Muffin, Rainbow and … Lootbag.) Although a good alternative to lootbags is to take the equivalent of what you would have spent and buy ONE bigger thing. Zoe got a My Little Pony once at a birthday party and she LOVED it.

    Have fun and let us know how it goes.

    Her Bad Mother November 13, 2009 at 8:07 pm

    Am sold on the cupcakes. And yes, I’ll definitely fill everyone in on how it goes ;)

    Meredith November 13, 2009 at 12:44 pm

    I confess to having given the comments a very fast read, and so perhaps this has been put out there already: Friends of ours recently requested no gifts for their son’s 6th birthday. They asked for a donation to the local food bank in lieu of a gift. The birthday boy really wanted to have a bigger party and at the bowling alley, so they declared that the special gift and felt that there was no need to add the presents from 10+ kids to the mix.
    Now, if there are gifts, I am in the open them at the party camp. As others have said, it gives the birthday boy or girl a chance to practice saying “Thank you” and to expres gratitude for something that his or her friends have brought.

    liz November 13, 2009 at 1:29 pm

    Around these parts, they just don’t open the presents at the party, but thank you notes are de-rigeur. At the couple of parties where the presents were opened there, there were definite melt-downs.
    .-= liz´s last blog ..Photo Goes Here =-.

    Hall November 14, 2009 at 12:55 am

    Interesting… is it regional? I was raised (a long time ago) in the south. We didn’t open presents at the party. I raised my daughter in Washington state and presents were always opened at the party.

    liz November 16, 2009 at 11:23 am

    I think it must be regional. When I grew up in B’klyn, we opened the presents at the party. But then almost all parties were at home and not at a party place.
    .-= liz´s last blog ..I love the Hunter Mill Democratic Committee =-.

    Laura November 13, 2009 at 1:49 pm

    Re: the ceramic figurines – you can get them at the Dollarama. :)
    The freeze dance is fun too. Should kill about 15 minutes!

    julie@MommySaidWhat? November 13, 2009 at 3:00 pm

    Kids love other kids toys. Put out a whack of Play Doh and you should be fine.

    Get a bunch of pita, pizza sauce, shredded cheese and let them go nuts making a pizza party.

    Then, for added fun, let them decorate their own cupcakes.

    And you’re done.

    M.Bailey November 13, 2009 at 3:44 pm

    If you are near a Dollarama, I recommend going there and picking up wooden treasure boxes. Well, really, they are wooden boxes that the guests get to decorate. They can be painted, stickered, coloured … the possibilities are endless and it’s always a hit.

    maman November 13, 2009 at 3:47 pm

    As I recall… you just let the kidlettes run wild through out your house.. and yes. My favorite pre-school parties always had liquor for the grownups!

    Caroline November 13, 2009 at 10:17 pm

    Open the gifts at the beginning of the party, then the kids will have fun playing with them. My son’s friends were always excited to have a chance to play with the toys that they had picked out, and I didn’t need to have too many planned activities.

    corasmom November 13, 2009 at 11:23 pm

    For my daughter’s 3rd birthday, she wanted a dress-up party. So we invited her guests to wear their favorite dress-up clothes. I printed out coloring sheets that looked like gingerbread people and the kids “dressed-up” the figures. I wanted to have cupcakes that the kids could decorate themselves before devouring, but my daughter demanded a *big, round* pink cake with blue frosting. We also put on a dance mix CD and had a follow the leader dance.
    .-= corasmom´s last blog ..Struggling with vocabulary =-.

    Hall November 14, 2009 at 12:59 am

    Jeez, I don’t think I’ve ever commented this much on anything. But one more — we played a game called the Hit the Pot. You get a small gift, or, rather, a set of identical small gifts, one for each guest. One of them goes under the pot for each round. Blindfold the kid (as well as appropriate for the age, you know, less for tinies). Give them a wooden spoon. Turn them around a few times and set them loose, whapping with the spoon till they find the pot. Find the pot, get the present, everybody is a winner. And everybody enjoys watching cuz it’s funny. If the kid is really lost, the other kids can help with warmer and colder. This was a hit for several years.

    reg November 15, 2009 at 4:41 pm

    bouncy castle and cake. That is all you need. Oh, and lootbags.

    susiej November 15, 2009 at 9:27 pm

    If you pick up cupcakes from the bakery, you do not need plates and forks.

    Musical chairs is a great way to pass the time.

    The kids just end up playing with the toys in your house at this age… they are so great at entertaining each other when they’re in a mob. No worries.

    Amanda November 15, 2009 at 10:54 pm

    Cupcake decorating station. Bag the cake, 2 dozen cupcakes and little dishes of marshmallows, M&Ms, yogurt covered raisin and sprinkles should do it. Oh, and something frostingish to make it all stick. That and dollar store streamers and giveaways and you’re set. The expense is in the booze for grownups.

    kootnygirl November 16, 2009 at 8:04 am

    Now that I’ve replied to everybody else, here’s my real 2 cents, even though the party is over.

    We did my 5-year old’s party last week: 8 kids, no parents (so no booze, tragically):

    http://rhapsodyinbeige.wordpress.com/2009/11/06/what-the-hell-was-i-thinking/

    I prefer doing a very simple craft over a game, because I hate coming up with prizes, and I don’t want to play any game 8 times so that everyone has a chance to win. And since everyone is getting a stupid, but somehow expensive loot bag, I don’t want to give out prizes just for playing.

    2 hours maximum. I made the mistake of having a 3 hour party once…never again. By the time they do the craft, destroy your house (I mean, “enjoy some free play”), eat, open presents (it kills time, people, and contains them all in one room), and bash the pinata (the kind with strings), it’s pretty much all over, except for that one kid whose parents don’t come to pick them up on time.

    Hope it went well! And happy birthday Emilia. Four is really the best age, as far as I can tell.
    .-= kootnygirl´s last blog ..new year’s resolution =-.

    Comments on this entry are closed.

    Previous post:

    Next post: