Friday, February 17, 2006

Do You Think Colin Cowie Is Available?

For the last couple of days we've been trying to iron out plans for Alex's birthday, which is about three weeks away. I’m always a little conflicted when it comes to planning his birthday parties...because he is an only child, I’m very mindful of making sure he knows that he is not the center of the universe. I want to make sure that he knows he is treasured and loved, of course, but I also want him to know that life is not All Alex, All The Time.

Don't get me wrong. I think birthday parties are great, and certainly we want to celebrate Alex’s, but I have a need to keep it simple. I can’t make sense of throwing a three-year old in a room with 35 children and 60 parents and saying, “Okay, honey, we’re celebrating you!” Because it seems to me – and this is just my opinion and it oughta be yours – that when toddler birthday parties get that big, all that’s being celebrated is the parents’ ability to throw a top-tier shin-dig. And the Joneses and me – well, we don’t hang so much, as I hate, despise, and abhor the whole notion of “keeping up.” I feel very strongly about this. You might have noticed.

As a result, Alex has had birthday parties reminiscent of Ye Olde Amish celebrations, minus the horse and the buggy and, well, the Amish. His first birthday party consisted of his parents, his grandparents, and him. It was a rowdy affair, as you can imagine. For his second birthday party, we went all out. We had lunch for three (count ‘em, THREE) of Alex’s friends, his grandparents, our next door neighbors, our sweet friends NK and Michael, and my friend Pattie. There were THIRTEEN people there, y’all. Madness!

This year I initially planned to invite the same group of people, maybe even moving up to FOUR friends because I’m crazy like that. Crazy! But the place where we wanted to have his party charges $150 for, essentially, 10 juice boxes and ¼ sheet cake. No outside food. I can be cheap, as you know, and I was shocked, then plain insulted, by the price. I mean, if that’s the going rate for a child’s birthday party, then I’ll add the words “For Hire” behind the title at top of this web page, rent me a clown suit, learn how to transform balloons into animals and head out on the party circuit. For $100 an hour? I’m not proud.

Anyway, once we decided that paying $10 for a container of juice was a little too rich for our blood, we bandied about several party ideas. The park? It might rain. McDonald’s? I’m a germ-a-phobe – can’t take that many sticky little hands on playground equipment. Our house? The easiest option, for sure, but there’s been much discussion about All Our Stairs and David’s grandmother’s age and, bottom line, coming over here is a really hard trip for her. Not to mention that Alex is OBSESSED with his great-uncle Joe and talked all last night about having “Chox! And JOE!” at his birthday party.

For all these reasons, it looks like we'll be heading to Meridian for Alex's Big 0-3. We'll have most of our family there, which means that 80% of Alex's favorite people in the whole wide world will be in attendance. The more David and I have talked about it, the more we realize how perfect it will be for this stage of his life, where the coolest people in his universe are the people in his family. Better capitalize on that while it lasts.

So we’ve come full circle, it seems, for I also had my third birthday party at Mama and Daddy’s house…sitting on top of the table to blow out my candles on the 1-2-3-4 cake that Mama made from scratch.

Looks like the little man will get to do the same.


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