Sunday, May 4, 2008

The party

R's big party was finally on Saturday. (I decorated the cake myself, well the space stuff anyway not the writing - what do you think? Hee hee.) R had a lot of fun, except for the games at the gym that involved him being the center of attention with all of his friends watching him or wishing him happy birthday. At one point, the young women running the party took R aside while everyone else (i.e., 16 four-year-olds) had to sit in a circle and wait. When they brought R out, he was being pulled around in a wagon. He was also supposed to be wearing a special hat and holding a sign or something, but he refused (can you blame him?). He really just wanted to play with his friends instead of having them all circle around him like he was royalty. I didn't realize that that was part of the party package. If I had, I would have asked them to drop that part. Other than that, the kids had tons of fun. The gym was great; there was so much for them to do and climb and jump on. And, it was perfect because it was a cold and rainy day outside, so everyone used up a lot of energy.

The best part was at the end with an activity they called "space flight." It's basically a zip line across the entire gym with a little swing seat attached. Each child got to take a turn zipping across the room. R got two turns as the birthday boy. I wish they could have given all the kids multiple turns. I think they all would have loved to just do that part the entire time!

We decided to have a book swap instead of presents, partly because we have nowhere to put 16 presents/toys and partly because I don't want R to focus on the getting part of his birthday. So, every kid brought a wrapped book, and then we put them all in a big bin and everyone got to take a new book home with them at the end. That worked out GREAT! The parents were raving about it, so that made me happy.

Afterwards, a few of the kids and their parents joined us at the pizza place next door for dinner. (The party was from 3-4:30 so it was too late for lunch, and there wasn't much time to have anything but cake.) I wish we hadn't done the pizza thing because some of the kids were INSANE. R was cranky and sad from being overtired (he woke up extra early that morning), and a few of his friends were in hyper mode, yelling and screaming and pretending to shoot each other. Fun! R asked A to take him away from the table for awhile because he couldn't stand the noise. It also didn't help having to wait for the pizza for half an hour. The kids had all that energy and nothing to do about it.

But, all in all, it was a good day. In retrospect, A and I both felt like it was too much. A said that all the preparations and expense felt like we were celebrating a sweet 16 birthday instead of a four-year-old birthday. R doesn't really care if everyone he knows is at his party - he just wants to have fun. I don't know why I talked myself into doing this big shebang this year. I guess it was because it seemed like all his friends were doing the same thing. So, although I don't regret it because R did have a nice time, we probably won't do another big party like that for a long time.

We spent our rainy Sunday today sleeping late, having pancakes and ham for breakfast, browsing at the bookstore and having scones at the cafe, watching a movie at home, and riding the subway (R's request) to go have dinner in Harvard Square. It was a nice way to relax after the craziness of the party on Saturday.

Question for all of you: Do you think we should send out thank-you notes to R's friends for attending? Because there weren't any presents (and we did give out goody bags), I wasn't sure if it was necessary. I mean, I know it would be nice to do, but do you think it's expected?

Finally, quote of the week:
Me: "R, why are you punching me in the arm?"
R: "Because I love you!"


Stef said...

Love your space art on the cake and the awesome idea for a book swap, in lieu of presents! Great pics of a fun party, too! And, it says a lot about R (and how you and A have raised him) that he preferred playing with his friends to being treated like the King of the Party!

Regarding the thank you cards, what is the norm for the kids at school? I would say go with that. If most families send out cards, you could just say "Thanks for coming to my party! Hope you like your book as much as I like mine!" And, you could have R write his name himself on all the cards to get him involved.

Hugs and kisses from DC!

sandwhichisthere said...

the book swap is the most wonderful birthday idea I have ever heard of. You were very young when you determined that only the birthday celebrant getting a present was unfair. I remember fondly that, when I was young, birthdays consisted of my Mother making strawberry shortcake for me. Our resources were paltry so that was it. It was wonderful and I still have a weakness for strawberry shortcake. When Rix gets older, go carts would be a nice addition. I have always had an aversion to presents, they seem to me to take away from the importance of the meaning of the day, be it birthdays or Christmas or Easter.
I was very impressed with your description of Rix's reaction to being spotlighted at the party. Can that boy get any more perfect? You and Alan have done a wonderful job with him,

Greg C said...

It sounds like R had a wonderful party. I love how you blocked out his name on the cake, lol I should make one of those space thingies.

Kansas Bob said...

Those pictures make me want to go back about 50 years :)

Ericka said...

Your cake looked awesome! I'm glad R had fun, and he's so-o-o-o you & A's kid - I can't imagine either one of you liking being pulled around in an appropriately sized wagon while all your friends watched, either. What a sweetie.

I don't think thank-you cards are ever expected anymore, but it's a nice touch. I sent one to a professor here after she had D & I come to her husband's birthday party (50th, so no space theme, but almost as fun, and it was pretty much all scientists, as he is also a professor). Afterward, she came and personally thanked me, she said she didn't know people still did that. I told her that I picked it up from my oldest sister (and may have said something about you being the nicest person in the world). So, not expected, but a good habit to instill in the little guy. That's my vote anyway.

shaun said...

hey, it's Johanna, I LOVE the bookswap idea(I wrote on all of Mike's invitations for his kindergarten party "no presents,please", and everyone thought it was some sort of religious thing, but I really just didn't want all the stuff, in addition to what his family was giving him)
Visual verification. I have not, so far, ever sent or received a thank you note for a child's party, I really think a personal thank you to the parents and child at the event is fine. Mike has made individual thank you cards for small parties, but 16 cards for one little boy is a lot. Maybe he could make a thank you poster to put up at school, where all parents could see, and cover all bases?

And how is he 4? Didn't you just have him a couple of months ago? How did Cal grow tall enough to reach my armpit when it seems like he's only 5 months old? When did they turn into tiny little men?

Wanda said...

What a great party you gave "R" ~~ the cake is darling and the pictures wonderful!!

You are such a good momma!!

EDMLite said...

Book swap = brilliant.

LEstes65 said...

Oh my goodness that book swap is GENIUS. Genius, I tell you (as I wade through ginormous piles of books and toys that loving, well-meaning friends & relatives shower on my kids).

The thank you notes would be a good thing. Not because of expectation. But because you have class. And that would show it (along with everything else you do in life).

Love you...