Thursday, February 7, 2013

I Am Bad At Kids' Birthday Parties

A couple of months ago, I threw a party for Mini's 4th birthday. I did everything wrong. The good news is, no matter how big a disaster it was from my perspective, she loved it.  She had so much fun, in fact, that recently she's been saying things like: "I need a NEW birfday. Not in November cause dat's too long away. I need da new one to be in 14 days. Thank you."
So that's great, right? But when I tried to describe the party to my friends, they accused me of making it up. But I promise you, it all happened. 

The week before the party:
  • The Cap'n I looked at the calendar and realized that we'd waited too long to plan a party. So if it was going to happen, it was going to have to take place in 6 days. 
  • I called every place that could possibly host a child's birthday party. Nothing was available at such late notice. One place asked me if I was kidding. The guy at the bowling alley actually laughed a me.
  • I realized that the party would have to take place at our house. I may have then pooped myself.
  • Called the terrifying yet incredibly cheap Bouncy House of Horror place and rented a princess bouncy castle. Did I want to pay an extra $100 and have it delivered and set up? Of course not. I would do it myself and save the money.
  • I sent out an evite to Mini's entire preschool class and 3 other best buddies. I fully expected that no one would be able to come on such short notice. 
  • All of them RSVP'ed yes. I pooped myself again as I realized that meant that fifteen 4 year olds + their parents + their siblings would be showing up my house.
  • Looked at the house and the yard with critical eye. I began weeping. 
Three days before the party:
  • Good news: the weather was supposed to be nice for the day of the party!
  • Also! We had a special guest star! John Ross would be able to come. This was a big deal because John Ross is the person that Mini likes best in the world. He is the 13 year old son of my awesome friends. (They're so awesome, let's just call them The Awesomes. To this day I don't know why they hang out with me.) 
  • At the beginning of last summer, John Ross made the mistake of being nice to Mini at the pool. She consequently fell in love with him, claimed him as her own, and mercilessly bossed him around for the next two months. And because he is a really good sport, he let her. I had to rescue him many, many times from her pudgy clutches, but he was always incredibly cool about it. 
  • So the Awesomes were coming and everyone was thrilled, because John Ross' little sister was coming too and she could hang out with Thumbelina and help with the little kids, and Mrs. Awesome could help me, and it was all going to work out! Yay!
  • Then Mini told me she didn't want a cake. She wanted cake pops. 
Two days before Mini's party:
  • Spent hours on the internet and Pinterest trying to figure out how to make cake pops. 
  • Went shopping at Party City and Walmart for supplies. Spent far too much money.
  • Came home and made the world's most terrifying and barely edible cake pops. Burned self in the process. Gave up on cake pops at 11pm and drank boxed wine while contemplating Plan B.

The day before Mini's party: 
  • Cleaned inside of the house like a crazed motherfunker. 
  • Raked the yard and spread mulch like a rabid beaver.
  • Got food, snacks and drinks all ready.
  • Told Cap'n Coupon it was his job to find 36 cake pops in time for the party. 
  • Forgot everything I told myself about not making a kid's party a big deal and acted like a total B. 
The day of Mini's party:
  • Came downstairs and made coffee. Wondered why the milk didn't seem cold. Took a look at the fridge and realized that someone must have left the door open all night and that all the food and drinks inside were spoiled and had to be thrown out. 
  • Pooped myself for the third time in a week.
  • Explained to my husband what I had done to the fridge. Watched as he pointed and laughed at me. Then watched as he calculated the replacement cost of all the food I had just thrown out. Not smiling now.
  • He left with 2 kids to buy cake pops.
  • I left with another kid to pick up the bouncy house. To my surprise and dismay, Ricky at the Bouncy House place had been replaced with someone (DISAPPOINTINGLY) normal and non-scary. The place itself was still nightmare-worthy, however. So at least there was that.
  • Arrived home to set up bouncy house. 
  • It took more than an hour. The Cap'n and I both injured ourselves. The injuries were painful. We also both got completely filthy.
  • Noticed 7 year old son Hawk was acting really weird.
  • Looked at the clock. Realized that I could either clean myself or my house but not both. Opt to clean myself as it's a nice day and conceivably I could just beg people not to come inside.
  • Took 5 minute prison shower. Put on my only clean clothes. 
  • Party to start in 10 minutes. The only thing ready was the bouncy house. Due to the issue with the fridge, I realized I had nothing to serve our guests except warm juice boxes, cake pops and a bag of pretzels.
  • Began frantic last minute cleaning. Sprayed down kitchen and bathroom surfaces with bleach spray so that our home would at least smell clean. Scrubbed with paper towels.
  • Kids were joyfully bouncing in the bouncy house like crazed weasels. Realized belatedly that having a party was probably not even necessary. Doorbell rings. It's on.
The Party Itself:
  • Go to answer the door when my husband says: "STOP. Go upstairs right now and change your shirt." I look at him like he's crazy and start to argue. He shoves me up the stairs and tells me to go look in the mirror. 
  • I stared in horror at two large, bleached out spots on my black shirt. The spots are the size of apples and are on the tips of each boob. Apparently, when I was cleaning with bleach spray, my boobs rubbed against the counter and I didn't notice. OH DEAR GOD.
  • I have only one other clean shirt and the only reason it's clean is because I never wear it. It's too tight. And if I bend over for any reason, it shows that awful gap of skin between my jeans and - gasp - my underpants. That's why I never wear it. It looks perfectly appropriate for a fetish themed restaurant called "Post-Maternal Hooters". 
  • I swallow back the fear and just put it on.
  • All the parents are being really nice and they don't seem to be aware that this birthday party is a gigantic cluster. 
  • John Ross comes and Mini throws herself into his arms and then makes him bounce with her. She is delighted.
  • I keep having to dive into the bouncy house to rescue kids. Every time I do, I feel a breeze blow up my bare back because of my stupid, too-small shirt. I just pretend that no one can see my underpants.
  • Wait. Where's Hawk?
  • I find him asleep on the sofa. I kiss his head. OH CRAP. He has just spiked a 103.5 fever. 
  • All of a sudden, everyone begins swarming up to the house. I guess it's time for cake pops! Better just let the boy sleep. Ohcrapohcrapohcrap.
  • Everyone is so nice about my cake pops. Even though several of the moms seem to be under the impression that Mini made them. I did not correct them.
  • OH MY GOD. The pinata. I did not even want a pinata but the Cap'n insisted on it. So I was like: "FINE. Then you're in charge of it. You take the pinata and I'll take, oh... everything else." I step back and let him do his thing.
  • After ten minutes of ineffective swatting, John Ross' little sister steps up to bat. Despite her tiny, adorableness she is a super strong competitive swimmer and her swing connects directly with the Capn's elbow with a loud THUNK. I can HEAR the sound of the stick making contact above the kids screaming, the grown-ups chatting, the dog barking and the air compressor for the bouncy house which is maybe the loudest thing ever. 
  • Silently thank God it was him and not me to get hit because I would've screamed out the F word in front the entire preschool class, their parents, and the whole neighborhood. He appears to be fine.
  • Suddenly, the party is over. Everyone leaves. 
This was the point at which we all collapsed. Except for Hawk who was still passed out from what we later found out was a severe case of Hand, Foot and Mouth disease. Mini, who had received a large pile of amazing presents, was enthralled with an individually wrapped package of tissues which she carried every where and refused to share with anyone. It's been two and a half months and we're still not done with the thank you cards.

Overall, it was exactly what you would expect from a birthday party thrown at my house.

(c)Herding Turtles, Inc. 2009 - 2013


  1. Holy disaster craziness! So happy you all survived. Mold allergies be damned when it comes to the bounce houses.

  2. It wouldn't have been a party without the bleachy boobstains!

  3. I hate hate hate kids birthday parties. I try to convince mine that they don't want one. dinner and a movie and a kick ass gift is way better lol

  4. I hate hate hate kids birthday parties. I try to convince mine that they don't want one. dinner and a movie and a kick ass gift is way better lol

  5. My son has a birthday right before Christmas so we try to give him a good party in lieu of gifts. He's 5 now and I don't think he's caught on yet that he doesn't get birthday gifts from Mom and Dad. We did the bouncy house thing when he turned 4, got a cheap deal on a castle bouncy house, and when they set it up it was not the castle but a 20ft tall slide, for 15 4yr olds and a hand full of older kids. Ya, the kids loved it but I nearly had a heart attack thinking about one of them just bouncing right over that inflatable wall.

  6. I need to post the picture of my cake disaster for tiny terrorist's first birthday. I can totally relate. You are my people.

  7. And that is why I will book Chuck-E-Cheese 4 months in advance of my child's birthday every year. Release them into the germ-infested play area, have a beer, eat a piece of cake, and 2 hours later take them home to scrub them down with lysol. Never again will I invite people to my home!! lol

  8. So very funny! We are preparing for my son's 1st birthday. All my friends had these huge over the top parties with walking robots and shiz. You just reminded me of why I want a low key family-only party. They already know what a mess I am.

    I totally think you should have worn the bleach boob shirt. I think you might could have started a fad.

  9. there should be kid's party planners. but not in the hoity toity way that crazy super sweet 16's are planned.

    more in the way that someone without kids can be hired to have you say "this is my budget and these are things my kid likes - go forth and let me worry about something else while you work within those constraints and make awesome"

    Actually, I would do that, it could be cool.

  10. My kids gave up on me throwing them a party years ago. They get their choice for dinner, to go to a movie BY THEMSELVES(!!!!) with their step dad, and soda. They're cool kids. And I'm the kind of Mommy that turns into a raging B trying to plan parties, and ends up caring all their friends, so...

  11. Oh wow thats what I have to look forward too? I have done 2 house parties and I think this year I am refusing! He will be 3 they need to not be in my house! lol

    I can't believe how many things went wrong! You couldn't even make that shit up!!

  12. Wait. Is this not how normal birthday parties go? I think all of ours were some variation on that. Still better than being forced to endure Chuck E Cheese.

  13. I know how you feel about Chuck E Cheese, but this is why I book them for birthdays. Sure it's nasty and I get the heebie-jeebies just thinking about the place, but the kids love it. I just tell my little one she is limited to 4 of her friends, toss the mouse $70 and let them go crazy.

  14. Haha! Love it!

    My daughter's best party was her 6th. We lived way out in the country and the only way anyone would come was if I picked them up. The morning of the party was crazy and everything took much longer than I planned. So the girls ended up frosting the cake, making a pin the tail game, making their own princess crowns and other things that should have been done before they arrived. I thought it was pitiful, but the kids all loved it.

  15. Oh, I shouldn't have read this today. I have my son's 10th birthday party tomorrow...I think I'm gonna be sick!

  16. I think you earn a medal for this one. And definitely some wine. Or whatever it is you earn for such a spectacle of awesomeness. Rock on.

  17. this is so hysterical. i think i peed a little reading it. your cake pops are AWESOME. i have a whole novel of cake pop disasters and i only months ago discovered the painstaking little birthday party devils. so, i feel your pain on that one (and on several of the other ones, too).

  18. I just have to say...I'm glad I'm not the only one. For my twin sons' first birthday last summer, I spent hours on Pinterest, determined to be one of those crafty, plan ahead, perfectly put-together moms. One hour and too many dollars at the party store later, I discovered that I couldn't even assemble a hanging paper pom-pom. You know, the ones that are already put together, you just have to pull them apart like so? Yeah. So I finally gave up and drank boxed wine and went to bed. So then we gave the boys cake at the party, which they had never had. And everyone sang happy birthday and took pictures and video, and that's when we found out that one is allergic to eggs. Annnd....scene.

  19. all I can say..... THANK YOU. I have been having an incredibly difficult time having just emmigrated back to my native Canada and I have not laughed so hard or with so much joy in a year. thank you.

  20. Though you think that you are not good at party planning,still you successfully managed a nice party..hats off !!!


    alice and wonderland themed birthday party

  21. Hey, my hubby and I really like your blog. :) We’re both bloggers ourselves, and he insisted that I message you. We used to spend a bunch of time writing blog posts, giving are all, but we weren’t making much moolah, hehe.

  22. Well, I think that you are good planner and you must have conducted the birthday parties of your children much proficiently, even if you say that you lack baby party ideas.

  23. Great post. Keep writing such kind of information on your page

  24. Even when I was a kid, I had a good thing with kids. To this day, if I go to a birthday party with one of my kids, I swear to you, I am so much happier hanging out with my kids and their friends than talking to the grown-ups.

  25. hahahaha really funny and especially the cake you thought of. Well being kids only such ideas comes to mind.

  26. Haha, that's hilarious. I do kids parties and I'm currently writing a book "how to avoid a kids party nightmare" and was doing some research to find some more stories on party nightmares or near misses. I laughed so much, thanks for a great read. Most of the time the parties themselves aren't the disasters it's us mums. Do you have any issues if I reference your story with link to your blog?

  27. OMG...This is just what I need. Flabuless where have you been the last ten years of my life? I need you. Thanks!

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  32. all I can say..... THANK YOU. I have been having an incredibly difficult time having just emmigrated back to my native Canada and I have not laughed so hard or with so much joy in a year. thank you. -
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  33. Well, I think that you are good planner and you must have conducted the birthday parties of your children much proficiently, even if you say that you lack baby party ideas.
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