Birthday Parties – What is Expected?

Birthday Parties – What is Expected?

My daughter’s third birthday is starting to nudge itself ever closer and closer, so we are faced with the prospect of explaining what a birthday party is, while still ensuring her expectations are within the realms of possibility. Unfortunately, my daughter has been to very few birthday parties and most of these have been held at soft play places. Having never organised a child’s birthday party before there are also other expectations that need to be considered. Such essentials like party bags, food and entertainment are also baffling me.

The first question we had to ask ourselves was, will there be a theme? A hilarious conversation ensued which had very little conclusion except that our toddler wants to dress up as Anna from Frozen. We tried to explain to her that she might like to think about a wider theme but unfortunately she just wanted to wear her Frozen dress. My biggest issue with dressing up is that we have all the hassle and stress of finding an outfit that will fit the theme, for it only to come off in the first 10 minutes of the party – but how do you say no to that hopeful face? If we put dressing up to one side for a moment, we still need a theme that will appeal to both boys and girls. This proves equally difficult when her two favourite things are ballet and lions, but she wants to dress up as Anna!

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Once I have resigned myself to the thought of having 12 over excited toddlers running around for the afternoon, my thoughts turn to entertainment! How on earth do you amuse that many toddlers? Having been to very few toddler birthday parties I’ve got very little experience to draw upon. I am sure of one thing – I cannot cope with bad losers so no party games! If no party games, then what? There is the soft play option but my daughter has gone to quite a few of these and I would like hers to be a little different. Taking her favourite things (ballet and lions) as a starting point, I have had long discussions with my husband about whether or not she can have a ballet party with animal dances (if such a thing excites on a shoestring). His only question being, can we invite boys and girls to a ballet party? Not only are we trying to satisfy the fickle preferences of a toddler but now we have to consider gender stereotypes as well. If we want to avoid any conversations about whether or not boys might want to do ballet (or in that case would all girls want to take part in the ballet?). That leaves us with lions! Can you have a whole entertainment centered around lions?

Putting the entertainment and theme to one side for a while the next hurdle is party bags and cake! What do you put in party bags? My memory of party bags when I was young is a little hazy, balloons, cake and plastic tat is all that comes to mind. Fortunately, with the few parties my toddler has been to, I have a gained some ideas. Superstores seem to have a plethora of gifts and knickknacks and most reasonably priced. But what sort of bags do I get? They all seem to be targeted at a particular gender, finding gender neutral party bags may be the way forward but they are few and far between, especially when you have an over opinionated daughter. Then there is the cake! On her first birthday my husband and I lovingly made and decorated a Postman Pat cake. It took over 4 hours but it was time well spent and we thoroughly enjoyed doing it, however, I was grateful it was only our nearest and dearest that got to see the final masterpiece (neither of us are particularly creative). For her second birthday life seemed to get in the way and I ended up buying one. Now comes the time to decide which precedent we set. Will it be homemade or not? I fear with the joys of a 6 month old it will be shop bought, but what design to buy?

With all the unanswered questions, theme, entertainment, cake, party bags and don’t even get me started on who to invite, it is easy to think that my daughter’s birthday is becoming a bit of a headache. However, I can’t wait to see the smile on her face, the excitement in her eyes and squeals of joy that she will (hopefully) utter. I’m going to make it the start of being three that every little girl deserves!

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