Friday, February 22, 2008

She's Two- does she really need that party?

T.D. turns two on Sunday. It's T.D. the 2.0 version. As the date draws near I have begun to feel real anxiety about my lack of planning for her big day. There will be no party. Only cake. No balloons, no company invading our home for hours with little tykes to hurl cake around. We’ll take pictures as she blows out the candles, if she even does that and we’ll make a fuss, but that is all.

We thought about taking her to lunch but her favorite eatery, except Chick Fil A is closed on Sundays. We thought about a lot of things and came to the decision that we not only wouldn't go nuts on a party but we would not be buying her loads of presents. Christmas was only two months ago.

When I look at what we’ve bought her thus far for presents I feel like I’m looking at birthday gifts from the Depression- underpants, crayons, a book, and a pair of shoes.

Except during the Depression this would have been a cornucopia of presents.

H & I made this decision months ago. It is not so much taking the route of having an “un-birthday” or ignoring the day, but, she's two. We did the whole big birthday thing when she was one and while it was cute it was also a whole lot of planning for the adults. I don’t remember my second birthday except I know I had cake due to a photograph. T.D. won’t remember, I tell myself, so why go through all the fuss? The fuss is for us, the adults at this point, not the kids.

Do we make the fuss for others to show how much we care for our kids? To show how much we have and what we can do? That's not any party I want to go to.

When I discussed this point of view with others I got a lot of mixed reviews. Some people thought this was a wise idea because the more we do now as parents for these parties sets us up for our kids expecting and then demanding overblown, ridiculously expensive parties as they get older. Mtv's Sweet Sixteen anyone? Others disagreed and stated that we need to create these memories for later and they love hosting these events because they are fun. My inner anal planner loves this idea in theory until people start actually arriving at my door and I have to play hostess for a few hours. "You can't just ignore your kids birthday", people say. Still others felt that having something small with family is fine as long as we invite a few friends of T.D.'s over. Yeah, we're not going that route either.

Well what if we just have waffles for breakfast (a T.D. favorite), cake with dinner and invite no one but those of us who live in the house? Why is this a bad decision? Am I less of a parent because while I can afford to throw her some big party I choose not to? Am I depriving my child in this way? My thoughts are this, when she is old enough to understand what her birthday is then we'll go back to having parties (next year is my guess) but for now I think the Elmo underpants, cake with sprinkles and waffles for breakfast is how we are going to play it. At least I'm not the only one who thinks this way.

Riddle me this, aside from photos you might have seen of yourself, can you honestly say you remember your second birthday? I was apparently burned with scalding hot coffee on my arms right after I blew out the candles and I don't even recall that traumatizing event.


  1. Heck no. My first memories aren't even until I'm about 4 years old. Most of my birthday's (even as a kids) were family dinners not big birthday bashes.

  2. You might be in the minority, but then again I am too. Between my 2 girls we've only done one real birthday party (for my older daughter when she turned four, and it was a joint party with her best friend). I'm sure some parents would be horrified, but I think it's just fine.

  3. I don't remember any birthdays before 6. And I probably only remember that one because it was captured on magical VHS.

    I think a quiet family day for you guys is just perfect if that's what you want. Thinking back to photos of my b-days, there were 5 of us cousins all within a few years of each other so we'd have small family gatherings, often shared with someone else's birthday. But it was chocolate cake and balloons and maybe some streamers if they were on sale at Job Lot. Nothing fancy. And I look pretty happy in all the photos so I'm sure I wasn't missing anything.

  4. SaraJo11:48 AM

    I think you have a fantastic plan in place. Last year for our daughter's third birthday we went to Pizza Hut for Cheesey Bites (her choise) and then home for ice cream, cake, and presents. She didn't have a party at all. Of course, I was eight months pregnant, our house was on the market, and even family parties turn into big productions with us. was quiet and fun. And we loved it. I'm going to try to ramp it up this year, though.

  5. If one of my kids had a winter birthday, I think I'd do the same thing. But I love getting together with friends and family to celebrate just about anything when we can do it outside.

  6. I think this makes perfect sense. What does your two-year-old like? Waffles and cake. Give her waffles and cake. At that age they REALLY don't care. And if you don't care, why do it? If you do care, of course, it seems perfectly legitimate to have a party, though. To each her own, right?

  7. You are NOT alone!!! I don't do toddler birthdays. They are just ri.dic.u.lous. I did a slightly big first birthday for my oldest...I think all first time moms do. But I realized how silly that was, and never did it again until she actually asked for one. We always had balloons and cake and presents...but no big huzzah celebration. We didn't do anything for Aiden's first birthday last year either, except cake and balloons and presents. And we only got him one birthday pesent!! (His birthday is in daughter is in about present overload). So, no, you are NOT a horrible mama. Just a realistic one who wishes to remain sane instead of hostng a house full of cake-crazed toddlers!!

  8. Take it from someone who completely knocked herself out creating a "circus" themed birthday party (I'm talking decking out our basement with circus themed decorations, searching high and low for a circus music CD and fretting over circus themed goody bags) for her first daughter's 2nd birthday -- DON'T BOTHER. Huge waste of time...too much work for too little payoff.

  9. No memories whatsoever of my first few years. But growing up, birthdays were mostly family events for us. With my son, I thought I'd introduce him to the idea of giving presents on his birthday, so that's what we did on his 2nd birthday, give little treats to his friends. On his third, I'm planning to bring him to an orphanage to donate the money we're supposed to spend on a party, and give away toys and clothes. That way, I'm hoping he'd think more of others on his birthday rather than getting presents which toddler parties seem to encourage.

  10. Melissa Parlaman (Graco contributor)10:02 PM

    Your post is very timely. my daugher is turning 2 this month & I have booked (over two months ago)another birthday extravaganza. I really enjoy throwing parties & I think my daugher's birthay is a great excuse for me to throw a party. My parents always made a big deal about birthdays & holidays which is why I think I do now that I have a child.

    I agree with the mixed thoughts on this subject. But I will continue to have the big party blowouts for my daughter and reliving my childhood birthdays.


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