So my youngest is turning 2 soon. I wasn’t going to bother with anything too elaborate but she’s actually pretty excited about the whole thing. For the last few weeks she’s been saying “Me birthday? Balloon? Cake?” several times a day. I think she’ll be rather disappointed if I stick to my original plan for a casual day at the park with just family now.
This could be a problem.
Here, let me just walk you through my usual approach to birthday parties so far.
Mediocre Meg’s Guide to Planning a Birthday Party
Step 1: At the end of the last Birthday Party flop on the couch and say “Never again!” and vow to be better prepared next year. Stash leftover party supplies somewhere safe and sensible so you can use them at a later date.
Step 2: Spend the next 11 months idly thinking about presents and party options. Occasionally discuss it with your child if they’re old enough.
Step 3: One month out from the party, start thinking “I really should start telling people about this and sending out invites,” at least once a day.
Step 4: Two weeks before the party, go “Holy shitsnacks! I haven’t invited anyone yet!!” Throw together a Facebook event page and make a list of other people to call (bonus points if you actually write it down). When people ask what sort of presents to buy, draw a blank and tell them you’ll put a list together.
Step 5: One week before the party, forward the list of presents to those that asked. Send a group text invite to the people you couldn’t contact via Facebook because you’re too stressed to call and invite them personally. Start writing a to-do list and have a small panic attack as it spirals out into a three-page tome.
Step 6: Two days before the party send private messages to the people who haven’t seen the Facebook page yet. Cut your to-do list back to a page and a half. Maybe prep some of the food but completely fail to do anything else.
Step 7: One day before the party start obsessively checking the weather forecast. Look for the party supplies you stashed away last year and freak out because you can’t find them anywhere. Find the stuff from the year before but throw it out because it’s too dusty and crumpled. Give up and go buy three times as much food and supplies as you could possibly need. Bake cake if nobody has offered to do it for you. Tidy one room if the party is at home. Cull the to-do list back to one page.
Step 8: On the day of the party think seriously about cancelling but soldier on anyway. Duck out to the supermarket to grab all the things you forgot yesterday. Completely forget to give anyone breakfast until people start looking faint. Give up on the six other things you’d planned to bake and start cutting up fruit salad and veggie sticks. Let the kids make fairy bread. Lose your shit over all the mess they make that you now have to clean up. Allow husband to lead you, sobbing, to your room and pull yourself together while he gets the kids dressed.
Step 9a: If the party is at home, feverishly clean the rest of the house right up until people arrive. Allow your more organised friends (who know you too well) to finish setting up snacks. Finally be ready for the party an hour after it started. Run around setting up three of the eight activities you had planned and making sure everyone is happy. Dig out last year’s candles because you forgot to buy more. Sing Happy Birthday and have cake then send everyone off home without party bags because you never got around to putting them together.
Step 9b: If your party is somewhere else, spend all morning letting everyone know they’ll have to allow plenty of time to get there early. Obsessively check the weather forecast and stress about how to transport food, cake and presents to the park/venue. Arrive anywhere from 5 – 30 minutes late. Finally be ready for the party an hour after it started. Realise you forgot the bag with the activities in it. Remember that the knife for cutting the cake was in there too. Cut the cake with a plastic knife then send everyone home without party bags because you never got around to putting them together.
Step 10: Flop on the couch and say “Never again!” and vow to be better organised next year. Stash leftover party supplies somewhere safe and sensible so you can use them at a later date.
Seriously, though, I want to do better this year. My littlest miss will be 2 years old in three weeks. All the most important people know it’s coming but only in the vaguest possible terms.
Stay tuned to see if I can pull it off this time.