Nine Months More

Birthday Wishes

One of my favourite parts about becoming a mum was the whole new world of party planning that opened up. As my own birthdays became less important and less celebrated, the birthdays of my children became indulgent, extravagant affairs.

With AJ, I knew that his first birthday was going to be huge, even before he was born. I remember looking back over photos of my own first birthday. There was my mum, glowing with happiness, holding a chubby little one year old me. Each photo was crowded with faces of cousins, aunts, uncles and grandparents. Even though I had no memories of this birthday, these photos sparked a sense of completeness and overwhelming love. I wanted AJ to have that. I wanted to have photos crowded with faces of cousins, aunts, uncles and grandparents. I wanted him to have photos to look back on and know that his mother went to every possible effort to make his first birthday the most special it could be – shared by our whole family.

Birthday wishes

AJ’s first birthday came and went. The celebration was huge, extravagant and indulgent. It left me on a complete, overwhelming high. My aunties called the next day to say how fabulous the party had been and how much fun they had. Before I could even eat all the left over cake, my mind was already planning the celebration for his next birthday. By the time PJ came along, my birthday planning was a well-oiled machine. We celebrated with train parties, monkey parties, Wiggles parties, Spiderman parties, Dr. Seuss parties and parties at play centres hired for all seventy guests! It was a never ending cycle of plan, prepare, purchase and execute. The boys loved every minute of the attention. They loved every minute of the planning and anticipation. The parties were always lots of fun. The digital birthday albums I meticulously designed and printed afterwards captured all the faces and fun of the day.

Yet, last year, after PJ’s third birthday, as I sat eating the remains of his Dr. Seuss cake, something shifted. Staring out my kitchen window I felt completely exhausted just thinking about the next set of parties to plan. My feet were aching and my mind was heavy as the wheels started to turn once again; thinking of a theme, a new caterer, a new venue. Instead of the usual sense of excitement, I couldn’t help but feel overwhelmed and a little sad. I started to realise that the bigger the birthday celebrations were becoming, the less significant they felt.

After a long, late-night conversation with hubby, a decision was made. The huge birthday celebrations of past years were not going to be repeated. We sat down and cut our standing guest list from seventy to thirty. The parties would be held at our home. There would only be six other children invited. No long, late night events. We would celebrate with lunch on a Sunday, with our closest family and friends. I felt like a weight had been lifted. I felt relief. Excitement.

With apprehension, the next morning, we explained the new birthday plans to the boys. To my complete surprise, they showed no signs of disappointment. If anything, they were just as excited as usual about their birthdays. They chattered away about what theme they were going to have and what games we could play. Right then, I sat back and realised that the wishes for huge extravagant birthday affairs were entirely my own.

Birthday wishes

Now don’t get me wrong – I still love to throw a great party and I am not about to send this well-oiled machine out to scrap. Two birthday parties are coming. Two very excited boys have chosen their theme. One very excited mummy (and a very helpful family) are planning and preparing. I can’t wait to see their faces on the day. I can’t wait to capture the memories.

Yet, when the candles are blown out on their cakes this year, I will be standing back. My boys deserve birthday wishes of their own.

How do you celebrate birthdays?

Can you guess our birthday themes?

  • Sophie Allen

    I love celebrating just for the fact that everyone comes together. Living in Tassie means we rarely have any family attending though.

    I can easily get carried away with parties, but I try and keep things under control (really hard to do!).

    We are having a party in 2 weeks, for my eldest who is turning 9. We have decided to have a joint party with one of his close friends and hire a snake man to come and do a show. No party bags this time, we think they are old enough now, plus I will take photos of each child with some kind of reptile and email it to them instead.

    I love that Dr Suess cake!

  • I love birthday’s. Usually we have been spending them just hanging out with family but this weekend I have a birthday party. I might even be my first real one. Rachel x

  • Leanne Shea Langdown

    Birthdays last a week at our house. I tend to do a quiet family party first, with grandparents, siblings etc on the actual day. A simple cake with either a lunch at home, or dinner at the local club. Then a themed kids party for my child’s friends. They can invite around 6-8 friends to their party. It will have games, party food, a themed cake and gift bags at the end. I find them simple and fun. My daughter’s first birthday was an all out extravaganza with clown, all our friends and family etc. But that was the only time. Since then it has been a whole lot smaller and all about the kids …

    Great cakes!! Did you make that Cat in the Hat? IF you did, then I BOW TO YOU AND KISS YOUR FEET

    Leanne @ Deep Fried Fruit

    • I take no credit whatsoever for the fabulous cake – an amazing lady makes the cakes for me – I come up with the ideas and she creates a sugar masterpiece every time!

  • I am amazed! This year felt like a big effort. We had it at my parent’s place because they have a pool and a pizza oven. felt like I was rushing the whole time. Next year will be a quiet one. Zanni@Heart Mama

    • for the past few years, I have felt like all I do is rush at their birthday parties!

  • I love the planning of the parties. With Miss Z her first and second birthdays were BIG celebrations, same with Master M’s first birthday. However they are exhausting!
    Miss Z turns 3 in July, it looks like we will be going to our local pub which has a kid’s indoor play centre, and telling people what time we will be there and if they want to come they are more than welcome. And that is it. I may go all out for her 5th birthday!

  • Loree

    My son’s birthday is tomorrow. We never did the huge party thing. As long as he had friends over and was having fun, that was all that mattered.

  • Rhianna

    Last year was the first year in 11 years we went without a birthday party extravaganza and it felt awesome. Something tells me I won’t be able to get away with that this year.

  • Housewife in Heels

    I too love children’s birthday parties, and could easily get carried away with these. Although yesterday my nephew turned 4. Unlike the week of full on planning and preparation my parties involve, my sister and I spent the morning preping. It was a pirate theme. 6 children attended. There was cake and a treasure hunt and a few dress ups. It was simple and lovely, and I’m sure my nephew wouldn’t have been any happier if it were a larger affair. But I do love that Dr Seuss cake! And the matching outfits at the train party. Look forward to hearing about your parties!

    • I can go a little overboard with matching outfits! not sure if that is a good thing or not 🙂

  • I love birthday parties, I’m particular the cake, but I’m also a fan of keeping it simple. Trying to enjoy the company of the people, more than the extravagance of the day.
    Plus all mine have are in two months, so by the end of birthday season, I’m well and truly over it!

    • My boys have their birthdays one month apart – I am so exhausted at the end of that month!

  • littlebirdlittlebee

    I do love birthday parties but they are very very exhausting. That Dr Seuss cake was INSANELY good. Would almost be a shame to eat it! We don’t do parties every year anymore. Sometimes they’re quiet affairs with just family and other times more elaborate.

  • You know I’ve thrown BIG parties for all my 3 from birth and this year I think I’m also going to tone it down a bit, make it more intimate. I love the look of the lego theme, my challenge is to find one for my 5 year old girl, but she also has a few boy friends who I want to invite. That Suess cake was amazing! Emily @ Have a laugh on me

  • Catherine RodieBlagg

    We’ve always kept it simple, I’m not great at the planning thing 🙂 x

  • Mumabulous

    Wow your parties look mind blowing. Have you considered doing it professionally. I am being serious here. I think you would make a brilliant party planner.
    At this stage I think kids just need their friends and a bit of junk food to have a great time. I put on huge productions for P1’s birthday two years running but this year we are going back to basics.

    • thanks for the complement – but my sanity would be at stake if I were to take on party planning professionally!

  • bodyandfeetretreat

    WOW – you certainly do throw a great party. I was always at the other end of the scale – a cake (sometimes home made sometimes bought), some snacks, a few friends and some cold drink with a party bag to take home. Keeping it simple was the way to go for us !
    Hope they enjoy their birthdays when they arrive ! Have a great day !

  • 10 kids at a play center is still the best party I’ve ever thrown for N! Actually, we did that 2 years in a row. So easy, no clean up, no mess at home. Just pay and provide the cake. PERFECT! We have a small apartment, so can’t hold parties here even if we wanted to! Sometimes I wish we did, but I think I’d be exhausted by the end of the day and that’s no fun! Glad you decided to downsize this year. I’m sure it will be just as great, if not greater!

  • Francesca WritesHere

    I don’t do big parties for my girls, but have done a play centre party a couple of times. Last year when Miss E turned 6 we didn’t even have one – instead we had a family day out, just the five of us, both sets of grandparents and my brother-in-law. It was a lovely day!

  • Yellow_Dandy

    Those cakes!! Ahhhmazing!! Did you make them?
    I’ve only had to throw one kids party so far, it wasn’t huge, but I put a lot of effort it to make it special. My fondest birthday memories as a kid were the sleepovers with my closest friends, or my Dad taking me and a carful of girls on a camping trip (I can’t believe he did that!!!)

    • My baking skills can’t even manage cupcakes, so I have an amazing lady make all our cakes xx

  • Twitchy Corner

    Talking birthday cakes again, aren’t we? (I am very impressed with vertical Cat in the Hat!) But really it’s not about cakes, I know. It’s about what’s happening inside our heads. As I was told many times, what we worry about is our own stuff, because the kids will be happy no matter what you do for them. Especially if you are happy too x #teamIBOT

  • So very true…and the danger with bigger and better birthday parties every year is that our children will become accustomed to that being the norm. Apart from their younger birthdays, we threw the boys very big Kindy parties with all their friends but then explianed that they would have a party with school friends every second year and only with a small group of friends. Of course, they’ll still get their family party every year and they are huge number wise simply because we have large immediate families.

  • Oh, dear…’ve just reminded me that I need to get cracking on my birthday party organisation. I’ve two in a month to do. Yikes! They’ll be bigger than the past since my eldest is more savvy about what birthdays mean, but we’re not going too large. I don’t think I could cope! Visiting via IBOT.

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