The Post Birthday Party Crash

by Ginger on May 18, 2013

in Day in the Life, The Kid

I had big plans to write this whole complicated post about family size and being an only child, and then I went to a birthday party with a zillion 3-6 year olds at a jump place after my kid had a short nap, and now I am exhausted from the fallout, so yeah, big complicated post will have to wait.

What is it about birthday parties that makes these kids into absolute mental patients? With the exception of the cake, it all SEEMS like it’s going to be a good plan–this party was 1.5 hours of playing in the jump room (4 different HUGE jump structures, including an obstacle course and a slide), followed by pizza, then cake, then done, all from 3:30-5:30. Theoretically, the play time is going to wear the kid out, he’s going to get most of his dinner taken care of, and you’ll be in for an early bedtime. Instead, what seems to happen a fair amount of time is that the excitement, chaos, cake, and other kids lead to this giant physical and emotional crash that gets buried in absolute jackassery, and you end up with a crazy, defiant, exhausted, over stimulated kid who can’t regulate his emotions and ends up pushing you all to the brink of insanity.

Or is that just in my house?

We’ve been discussing what to do about Jackson’s birthday this year, and every time we have another birthday party that ends this way it really makes us think a little harder about doing a party for a zillion of his friends. We’ve talked about maybe doing an amusement park (like, perhaps one that’s a little ways to the north perhaps? That’s all happy and stuff?) as just a family instead of doing a party, and while those sorts of days have their own fallout, it just seems sometimes like the birthday party itself often is a bit overrated.

Or, maybe I’m just exhausted after today’s party. I don’t know. All I know is that kid’s birthday parties would be WAY easier to handle if they included a beer for the adults.

April May 19, 2013 at 5:54 am

We skipped Spencer’s third party and Henry’s second and no one really minded. But all the other times we have either had it at our house and filled up a couple pools (yes, we have multiple, like four kiddie pools of varying sizes) and grilled out, or we reserved a shelter at a park w a good, low profile playground and grill out. I will tell you what our best/easiest one was though: we did a Saturday morning playground party for Spencer this last time (in Feb) and instead of grilling we did bagels and cheese and fruit and coffe/juice boxes. IT WAS FABULOUS. And nothing needed. There was a small field next to the playground so we brought balls and the tee for baseball and just let the kids have at it.

Tragic Sandwich May 19, 2013 at 12:51 pm

For Baguette’s first and second, we had cookouts and invited family and friends. Aside from the cake (and the gifts that people brought even though we told them not to), there was nothing Birthday Party about either one of them.

We’ve been to several of the parties you’re describing–in fact, we’re going to one this afternoon–but while they do have advantages (no cleaning up your house, before or after!), the disadvantages were too great for us. Baguette is not a child who enjoys crowds, and parties at indoor playgrounds are expensive.

So for her third, we wound up inviting maybe six of her friends from day care and the neighborhood (and their parents) and had the party in our house and backyard. It involved a lot of prep work (primarily for Mr. Sandwich), but everyone enjoyed it and we didn’t have to worry about how Baguette would react to a crowd 3-4 times as large.

Ann Soutter May 19, 2013 at 4:28 pm

We would do the special thing, like the amusement park north of you, with 1 friend, and call it a birthday outing. As my only child got older, this has turned into a one night/two day affair up at the Wisconsin Dells (2-3 hour drive). The friend has been a great thing — the two of them would play together at the water parks, and I could sit and read. Pizza in the room for dinner.

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