I'm not usually a sucker for Mommy guilt.
I know my limitations, know what I'm capable of, and don't feel bad for saying no. So when Camden came to me two weeks ago, with a pen in hand, ready to make his birthday party guest list, I was a steel fortress. I went though the whole shpeel: how (despite all the photos from scrapbooks that show otherwise) I'm not into the the every-year-we-have-to-have-a-party thing. I know all the other kids at school do bowling alleys or roller skating or mini golf for there massive celebrations, but those families don't have 4 other children. And, I added, those mothers always seem to be yelling more than me. "Do you know why your Mommy doesn't lose it...more frequently?" I asked. "Because I don't get sucked into chaos like that."
I presented the plan: we'd do the same thing that we do 95% of the time for everyone else: He could pick a spot to go out for dinner as a family and we'd do cake and ice cream.
"Oh, I was kinda hoping that this year I could have a party," he said quietly. "It would be my first one....."
My mind scrambled to remember all the hoopla's we've had over the last decade- surely he was wrong. What about-? Remember that -?
After all this time and all the parties we have had... some way...some how.... little Cam Cam had been overlooked. Every stinkin' year. The feeling of my cold, hard heart breaking was almost unbearable.
We're both gonna to need therapy for this one.
Here's the mission: a party that's low key, low budget, low stress. Cheap and Easy. The same way my husband describes me.
The invites: leftover printed cardstock-y stuff that was in the file cabinet from forever ago. Since our color printer has been out of ink for months (or years), the details are colored in with markers.
Here's something that I've discovered: kids don't care about decorations. Especially boys. All the foof and the fuss.....that's for the adults, not the kids. They just want it to look like a party. Which, thankfully, doesn't take much. A few pieces of scrap construction paper,
cut into triangles by the boys. We punched two holes on either side just like this banner and strung 'em onto thin ribbon from the craft box. Throw in a bag of balloons and some curling ribbon and it's party time.
I hate those little favor 4 packs o' crap they sell in the party aisles. Not the idea, so much, because who doesn't love one stop shopping? But as a parent it kills me to throw away all those parachute guys and ball mazes and kazoos that somebody paid money for within 5 minutes of getting home because they're already broken.
Enter whatever is on sale for a buck. Mini bags of Oreos, Chips Ahoy Cookies, or these boy pleasers: Laffy Taffy. A blue plastic table cover gets topped with a square of wrapping paper for instant (free) pattern.
There's a long extensive list of things I stink at: moving clothes into the dryer. Taking the magic eraser out of shower once I'm done cleaning with it. Decorating cakes. Luckily I *can* manage cupcakes with punched out circles and number stickers taped to a toothpick.
I didn't even cover up the back and you know what? Not one 3rd grader even noticed.
Recap of the Dollar Tree Shopping List:
-bag of balloons
-bag of birthday plates
- bag of water balloons
-5 bags of candy
TOTAL= $9 plus tax
And one Happy Birthday Boy.