Advice for a Child’s Birthday Party

After hosting a birthday party for both Mellow and Wildling this weekend, I learned a few things:

  1. Don’t waste time baking cakes.  Kids just want mini-marshmallows. They don’t care that there is a sun and nine planets made out of a variety of delicious cakes – they’ll just eat the mini-marshmallow asteroids that you scattered around for display purposes.
  2. You can work as hard as you want to avoid artificial food coloring.  If you use one thing, just one thing, with artificial food coloring in it, that thing will be the most popular item on the table.
  3. Tang sounds like a fun beverage for a space party, since the astronauts drink it.  It’s not. Or at least, it’s less interesting than bottled water with strangely child-proof lids.
  4. If you make a pinata and expect a bunch of kids ages 2-6 to break it, maybe build some hidden weaknesses in it so that the moms don’t have to bash the crap out of it in order to get the candy (though, truth be told, hitting a pinata is a lot of fun).
  5. Why waste time on games when there is a bunk bed kids can climb on?
  6. Nobody likes gluten-free cookies. Nobody. They are expensive and gross.
  7. When your daughter tells you that she wants a space themed party and you comply, expect that the day of the party she will decide she wants to have a costume party with a wing theme instead and you will find yourself texting friends and asking that their children bring their own fairy or butterfly wings because you don’t have enough for everybody.
  8. Grown-ups don’t really like going to kids birthday parties, especially for their kids’ school friends when they don’t know the parents*.  That’s why it’s important to serve cocktails. Then everybody gets along, which is good, especially when your child goes to a small school and you know you’ll have to see these parents for the next seven years.
  9. If you have an older relative, invite them.  They are likely to worry about messes and, if you’re lucky, they kind of wander around and clean stuff up throughout the party.
  10. Relating to #9, always have trashcans accessible.  Nobody needs to have to work to figure out your child safety locks.

*Actually, I learned this a long time ago, when I first went to an interminable birthday party for one of Wildling’s classmates.  And that’s why we’ve always had something special for the adults at our parties.

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