Alice turns two a week from today. This is a monumental event. Not really because of the birthday itself, per se, but because at that point, we will officially be in the "Terrible Two's" and I'll be able to explain any of her wild behavior by saying, "SHE'S TWO, FOR CHRISSAKES!!!" Perhaps then whoever I'm talking to will understand a bit and put down the taser and the elephant tranquilizers.
I'll just be straight and say that sure, I remember my kid's birthdays. If you manage to push something out of yourself that weighs over five pounds or so you tend to remember the date(s) you did it. However, it sure doesn't hurt that starting about a month before each one, my mother starts asking, "What you going to do for Alice's birthday?" And I have to start coming up with something to get her off my back. I've started to get really creative. When she asked for about the fourth time while we were at the beach (which says something about her nutty-professor forgetfulness), I said, "Well, I thought about getting some strippers and one of those cakes in the shape of a penis. And I'm thinking of calling Vince Neil and see if he'll do the entertainment." I don't think she has asked since. What's funny is that now my father has gotten into the act. Ya'll, we are at Threat Con Delta when my dad is starting to get curious about birthday parties. I even went, "Seriously? You're asking me about this?" He goes, "Um, yeah," and I say, "Well, ok, um....."
I'm not one of those mothers, as you've probably guessed, that thinks about her kid's birthday parties for a year. My husband used to work with someone who reserved spaces for her kids' parties up to two years in advance. I know of people who get caterers. Nope. Not me. I definitely want my kids to have a special day, but there's a limit, you know? And even if I don't spend the better part of my life obsessing over it, I think I throw a pretty mean party. Here's what I do:
1. Buy some streamers and some plates with whatever character/color the kid likes.
2. Clean the house.
3. Make a bunch of food. People like food. I like preparing food. We're good.
There. Done. There is really not a lot of planning involved. ESPECIALLY when your kid is 2. I mean, what is she going to do? Have a crapload of people over and do body shots? Fly her closest friends to Vegas? SHE'S TWO. She knows very few people outside of our families, and even if she knew everyone in our area code, the fact remains that SHE IS TWO. Give her a spoonful of frosting and a cardboard box with a wooden spoon and she's good for a couple of hours.
I've kind of pulled the whole thing out of my ass, basically just to answer the myriad "What are you doing for Allie's birthday?" questions, but here's my plan. Ask everyone to bring a book since that is her favorite thing (besides, of course, destroying Tokyo). Dress her up in a red dress and striped tights so she looks like Olivia, her favorite character. Make lots of red foods, since Olivia likes red and Alice loves tomato sauce. BOOM. Did I just blow your mind with my party planning magic? Really? Because I literally came up with that shit in the 30 seconds of saying "Uhhhh...." after my mother in law asked what I was doing for the anniversary of my child's birth. Oh, and make this cake. I don't know why I want to do that so badly--I assure you, it is mostly for my own selfish reasons such as I love making Martha's swiss meringue buttercream, I have a lot of gel food coloring that I like using (I keep it in a tackle box!), blah blah blah.
When I was a kid, my mom would bake me a Wilton cake, this (obviously) being one of my favorites. One year she did that and bought me a whoopie cushion. That was the best birthday EVER. Sure, I got gifts every year. But there was no big party. Sometimes I got a sleepover. But that was it. I had two parties that didn't take place in our living room--one at McDonald's when I was four, and another at the Pizza Hut across the road from my house. I am just fine, ya'll. I'm not going to go shoot up a party supply store because I didn't ever have pony rides on my special day. My kids will be fine too. In fact, I'm sure they'll look back and think, "Golly gee whillickers, that sure was fun!" Because birthdays are fun by their very nature. You eat cake, you get gifts, people wear funny hats. No pony rides needed.
My only real issue right now is setting the date. Matt has this thing where he thinks we should do the party on her actual birthday, but that is a Thursday, and I know I'll be super tired from work and from whatever else life decides to throw my way that day (the universe doesn't give you a freebie on your kid's birthday, I'm sorry to report). I want to do it Labor Day weekend where I have some time and everyone can come and not feel stressed about getting back home/to work/etc. That will be a little bit after her actual birthday (like a week and a half), but SHE'S TWO, lest we forget. And I thought we'd do a little something on her day, like I'll make her some enchiladas (thinking of making this weekend and putting in the fridge/freezer so that I get maximum play time with her that day) and maybe a Wilton cake of my own (a small one). Just a little recognition of the day. Does anyone think that is neglectful of me? I hope not.
So weigh in on birthdays, if you like? Big deal or not so much? What was your most memorable childhood birthday? I'd love to hear about it.