Birthday Parties: Bigger Is Not Always Better
Like most young parents (er, I mean newly-minted parents), we didn’t mess around when it came to our children’s birthday parties. We spent big at the party stores, invited too many kids, gave them cake, ice cream and candy, then handed over loot bags jammed with junky pint-sized toys from Wal-Mart.
The result? A gang of shrieking, sugar-hyped maniacs spent the next two hours grinding the pulverized remains of plastic party favors into our builder’s-grade carpet. It was a self-inflicted home invasion and two decades later, I still marvel at our gooey naivety.
Of course I knew The Rule about birthday parties: Limit the number of guests to Age Plus One. It’s possible that I toyed with the idea of following The Rule, but like most besotted mothers watching the awesome spectacle of an approaching First Birthday, I forgot how to count. (Thanks to unremitting sleep deprivation, I’d also lost the ability to think coherently and could recall my middle name only on alternate Sundays.)
One thing I could not forget, or fail to admire, was the sheer tenacity of this tiny person who had survived an entire year of inept parenting. It was a miraculous event that demanded an extraordinary celebration—and so The Rule disappeared into the snarl of misfiring synapses that passed for my brain back then.
That’s how two well-educated, otherwise intelligent parents added 1 plus 1 and came up with 11. The only saving grace was that seven of the party guests were adults and the other four were completely clueless babies who stared blankly as our one-year-old Emma bravely faced down her ninth present, only to dissolve into exhausted tears and be whisked away to a blissfully quiet crib.Continued on the next page