My oldest child will be 4 tomorrow. Where has the time gone I ask myself. I look at old pictures of her on my phone. Pictures from just a few years back. She was just a little baby. She is now a little lady, and I tear up. It’s a sadness mixed with proudness. I see and remember who she was and who she is becoming. It melts my heart.
Her first birthday party theme was the Bubble Guppies – her favorite show at that time. She had no say in the matter, she was only 1-years-old. It seemed appropriate for her since she was in awe of the show. It was a simple party with food from Chicken Shack; decorations from Party City.
Fast forward to present day, and she is VERY vocal about her “birfday party.” From who she wants to invite, to what she wants on her cake. This year the theme will be Frozen. Her favorite Disney princess is Elsa. Not Anna. Not Cinderella. Elsa. And why not. Elsa is a bad-ass bitch. She becomes the queen and freezes everything. When you think about it, she is the only Disney princess that has a special power (besides Rapunzel). Not a bad pick.
However, I don’t want my daughter to have the expectation that each year she will always have a “birfday party.” Because she will not. After the age of 5, she will have a basic cake with candles and presents from mom and dad. Period. She, at 4 years of age, has far exceeded the toys I ever had as a child. I also don’t believe I ever had a real birthday party, let alone a ‘themed’ birthday party. I don’t know when themed birthday parties started. But, I do believe some parents go to the extreme. From the decorations to the cake to the favors. And when did favors start, anyway? That is something given at weddings. Somehow, this spread into birthday party festivities.
I have been to parties that include face painting, dressed-up characters, rented inflatables, decorative candy tables, showy decorations, and of course those fancy schmancy fondant cakes. The ones that look oh so pretty and taste oh so crappy. All for a few hours of enjoyment so your child can feel special. And have a memory or two. The cost is high for these elaborate parties for such young children. The cost and the expectation that each year it will be the same. I want my child to feel special but not entitled. I want her to have a good memory but not at the expense of my empty pocket-book.
I know her generation will be different. The way kids are raised is different from past generations. Kids are given choices. Today, kids have more material things. They have more technology. If I can help it at all, I will not allow her to expect but rather appreciate what is given to her. Period.