Anne Notations

Friday, December 15, 2006

Bye-bye, birthday grinch

When our kids were little we had a "no birthday parties" policy. They got invited to plenty, and they always went with great anticipation and glee, but we never hosted such parties for their own birthdays. I'm afraid I was insufferably superior about the whole deal: All that junk food! Those hordes of overexcited kids (and it was always the entire preschool class, and most of the elementary school classes) bringing way too many presents for children who already had more than they'd ever need. The show-offy expensive theme parties: Clowns, ponies, visits from the fairy princess, pool parties, Chuck E Cheese and Discovery Zone marathons.

Not us! We had family gatherings with a special dinner, presents, and a birthday cake. Occasionally our kids could invite one best friend over, maybe even do something special - Melinda's fourth-birthday outing to The Nutcracker ballet with her pal Olivia, for example. (Both girls slept through the second half.)

The kids begged, grumbled, proclaimed how "mean" we were. But we never budged. Our parsimony seemed healthy and sane, similar to limiting their TV to PBS, or banning junk food.

But now: the revenge of the teenager! Last year Melinda organized her own Hello Kitty party for her closest friends. This year she planned and carried out an even more elaborate Princess Party for her sweet 16.

Princesses having their luncheon.

Pink is the new (and very bright) birthday cake.

There were sandwiches, a decorated princess cake, sparkling tiaras, games, a singing princess balloon, and a trip downtown for outdoor ice skating - all the perks a six-year-old might have demanded. Melinda had a blast and took great pride in having pulled the whole thing off, from invitations to food to decor to thank-you notes on princess stationery.

Off to the skating rink...

I like a kid who can make her own bliss. I'm proud of my daughter, I adore her friends, and I regret rien about our earlier anti-party policy. I suspect Melinda's Sweet 16th was all the sweeter because she was old enough to appreciate it and, most of all, because she made it happen.


Post a Comment

<< Home