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third birthday party

We had Josie's birthday last night. Since she's three, we invited three friends over. Their parents were here too, along with my sister and brother-in-law and marc's parents.

Birthdays are tough on three-year-olds, I warned my sister about it a little beforehand. I literally have not been to a toddler birthday party without seeing the child of honor break down at some point. There are just too many expectations, and they're too prone to tantrums anyway. Sure enough, Josie pitched a fit when I moved her presents because she would not wait until everyone was here to tear into the first one. Then her and her friends are always fighting, so there was lots of screaming, wrestling, throwing, head-bumping, complaining, whining. Okay, I'll admit, when they get together it's completely insane.

But since it was her birthday I didn't sweat too many small details, none of the kids ate the hamburgers or hotdogs we made, in fact they really didn't even eat cake either although they acted totally excited when we said it was cake time. At the end of the party, playing outside, they ate watermelon. That's a fruit. So I feel pretty good about how the party went, nutritionaly speaking.

Josie opened all her presents in about sixty seconds, just grabbing toys out of bags and putting them in a pile while we tried our best to slow her down with "WHO'S IT FROM? READ THE CARD!"

Baby Olive slept on various people's shoulders, like she does.

The worst freakout was at the end of the evening, I'd mentioned to Marc that I thought each birthday guest should take home a balloon and he was like "great idea! we don't want all these balloons here anyway!" Well Josie had been running around with the balloons in a giant bunch all evening and did not want to give any up and was CRUSHED. But Marc said we should stick to the plan, I was a little conflicted at this point, I don't know if it's good parenting to give in to a tantrum because it's her birthday, or wrestle two balloons away from a kid with a dozen balloons because sharing is nice? Either way I felt awful, Josie felt awful, the parents of the kids felt awful, and I know Josie will survive because she had TEN BALLOONS left and there are starving kids in china who get no balloons etc but holy crap.

Theory for next year: get balloons earlier in the day, so she's basically tired of them by the end, maybe? Or just skip sharing lessons on your birthday. The kids got party favor bags.

Anyway Josie got lots of new dress-up clothes from her friends, a bug house from her aunt, new crayons and chalk, and I bought her a squinkies aquarium playset which is totally not an "age 3" toy but it's so darn cute and hey, her and I had a BLAST with it in the evening when everyone had gone home. It's like a gumball machine, you put little "coins" in and it has these plastic easter-egg like bubbles with little tiny animals that are total choking hazards. When you get them all out, you put them back in the bubbles and repeat all the coin-op fun again. And it's sparkly and colorful.

When she was a baby I noticed that toys that way "age 3 and up" start to get to be a little cool. I can think of a hundred things I want to get her, totally indulging the nerd in me who just wants to play with toys, but I gotta ration things out a bit. It's sort of made me think back to my own childhood, we had some really awesome toys, like an entire precious places town with streets and characters that moved with magnets you'd run under the floors... I'm going to ask my parents if they didn't secretly just sort of want to own all that themselves. Of course we were asking for it, but there are things your kid asks for that you're like "lame". And there are other times, like a few months ago Josie was always finding stuffed animals in stores she wanted and we kept shutting her down, until one day she asked for a tiny chewbacca from Star Wars and Marc was like... "Yes. Yes you may have that." She probably sees no pattern. ha ha.

Comments

( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
sandokai
Jun. 10th, 2013 12:58 am (UTC)
Hehe, yeah... toddlers! That's a funny interesting observation about the birthday kid always having a meltdown at their own party. Even though I've been at parties where that did not happen, as someone whose kid is now 2 years and 1 day old, I totally get it...


Balloon sharing. Perhaps the key for future birthdays would be to prepare the kid ahead of time for that expectation. But the problem with parenting is it's impossible to predict ahead of time what things we would need to prepare them for in order to avoid the meltdowns...sigh.
spacefem
Jun. 10th, 2013 04:31 am (UTC)
We had been telling her hours beforehand that her friends should take home a balloon, and each time she firmly told us NO,,, that's how I knew ahead of time that this might not go down so well, started rethinking the plan, but you hate to just shrug and say "Alright greedy kid, you win!"
aliki
Jun. 10th, 2013 02:11 am (UTC)
Regarding the balloons, Erika helped to fill the balloons up with helium with us in the morning; and as we filled it, we made a point to tell her that "this is going to be Isla's balloon", etc. so that she knew it wasn't all her balloons to begin with. That way when it came time to give them out, she was OK with the idea.

We had success with no meltdowns by having only a 2-hour party and then sending everybody on their way! Thanks for stopping by and goodbye!!

We opened presents this year but we've also been to parties where people dont open the presents in front of guests, as children at this age have a hard time (a) giving presents, so if they helped pick it out, sometimes they want it back, and (b) dealing with so many new toys, (c) inequality of one kid with all the presents... etc.
shutterbug
Jun. 10th, 2013 03:08 am (UTC)
You could even label the balloons with the kids' names!
aryanhwy
Jun. 10th, 2013 05:47 am (UTC)
One of the whole points of having kids, and one of the things I've been waiting anxiously for, is getting to play with childhood toys again!

I admit, one reason Gwen has so many stuffed animals is I love them so much, I have a hard time telling her No. And I just emailed my mom and sister last night to find out who has the toy iron I enjoyed playing with so much, now that Gwen has discovered my real one which is Not A Toy.
lillerina
Jun. 10th, 2013 09:19 pm (UTC)
I find that once they stop being toddlers they stop melting down at parties, until the age of about 11-12 when suddenly all the kids are melting down at parties because hormones, omg. And by then when you're like, 'hey, what's up? What do you need?' they just clutch your sweater and sob into your torso, 'I don't knooooooooow'.
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )

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