On birthdays.

Last week, Zachary turned seven.

A few weeks before his birthday, the mother of one of his friends asked me "So when will Zachary's birthday party be?"

Was that an incredibly rude question? Absolutely.  But it was also totally without malice.  She was genuinely curious about when his party would be because it's the norm.  It's expected.  Zachary had attended her kid's party, so she assumed her kid would attend his.  Elaborate, expensive birthday celebrations are just a foregone conclusion, even in my rural, low-income community.  EVERYBODY does it.

Except I don't.

It wasn't like one day I woke up and made a huge decree of "There will be no themed birthday celebrations in this house, no clowns or circus animals, no pony rides, no paid magicians, no rented skating rinks or bouncy houses."   It just sort of happened that way.

And that's not to say that we don't celebrate our kids' birthdays.  We most certainly do.  But it's more...  understated.  More... family oriented.  

In the weeks leading up to Zachary's birthday, I started talking to him about how he wanted to spend the day.  We tossed around a few ideas, some of which I confirmed and some of which remained a mystery until the big day.  After all, anticipation of the surprise is half the fun when you're turning seven, I think.  One thing he asked for and held firm on was a "Pokemon-Superhero-Skylander-Mario-Angry Birds-Beyblade-Wipeout cake."


This Mama absolutely NAILED that one, thank you very much.

When his birthday arrived, the four of us spent the day eating pancakes for breakfast, shopping for a new toy, jumping on some crazy inflatables, roller skating, blowing out candles and eating cake, and we finished the day at our favorite Mexican restaurant where we ate quesidillas and nachos and the waiters sang to Zachary and let him wear the sombrero of honor.

On the way home, I asked Zachary how he liked his birthday and he answered "Best. Day. Ever."

It's hard to argue with that.

So even though I feel just the SLIGHTEST bit of guilt that we don't reciprocate birthday party invitations with invitations of equal or greater value, Zachary had a great day, the rest of our family had a great day, and it's what works for us.

At least right now.

I'm of a "never say never" mindset on this, though, and at some point in the future if one of the boys has his heart set on an space-themed-party-with-30-of-his-closest-friends-and-rocket-ship-rides-and-a-real-LIVE-ASTRONAUT I'm not saying that I'll say no.

But I might.

How about you?  How do you handle kid's birthdays in your family?  

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  1. we do family only party's except for 1-5-10 and so on. Those we do a FEW friends and family... Those are the party's where we'll have balloon's and a pinata and a craft/game or two...

    1. Yeah, I really like the idea of having special parties for the "big" birthdays. Good idea!

  2. that's how we do it too, more because of money than anything else, but the kids love our little family parties

    plus, we can do it in our jammies :)

    1. Yes, I have a hard time wrapping my brain around spending the month's grocery money on a kid's party. Maybe if I were rich, I would do it. Or maybe if I were rich, I could just pay someone else to take care of everything and I could drink mimosas all day.

  3. With our eldest we had huge extended-family parties until he started school, then added a second party for friends at a park. I quickly realized this was completely nuts and we limited birthdays to an immediate-family-only celebration and a Saturday afternoon of movie-watching, game-playing, and pizza-eating at our house for friends. My eldest's favorite birthday was his tenth when we got a sitter for our 3yo and took him to Benihana's. felt so grown up!

    1. I think if Zack's birthday were in the summer and I could do a park or outside thing it would be better. It seems like a good idea to do up milestones - like double digits - in a big way.

  4. My boys don't get parties yet (they are 4, 2, and 7 months.) I choose to keep it off their radar as long as possible. Along with parades and chuck e cheese. But, when we were growing up we got the choice of either a party or having one friend over for dinner/movie/sleepover. Every year but one we all picked the friend. I think that's the choice I'll offer my kids when the time comes. Or they won't get a choice. Lol!

    1. Yeah, I remember having a friend over for a sleepover kind of deal a few times when I was growing up. That seems like a really good idea. Right now, at seven, Zach is still at the age that he would desperately want to invite EVERYONE over, because he thinks everyone is his best friend :) I'm definitely of the same mindset as you about whether or not to give them a choice!

  5. My fiancé stared at the picture of the cake for like 5 straight minutes. He was SUPER impressed but also he had to check and make sure all of the things were there. And he just kept saying, "wow" over and over. So... Good work!


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