Gracie will be turning 9 in July. It’s already a stressful event to plan her birthday because the days of pin the tail on the donkey and musical chairs are long gone. As a parent I have chauffeured my kids to lots of birthday parties in recent years and let me tell you… birthday parties aren’t what they used to be. In order to compete with some of the moms I would have to take out a loan to provide my children with the kind of party given nowadays.
When I was a kid, my birthday party consisted of having a few of my friends over to play games, eat hot dogs that were lovingly cooked on the grill by my father and then enjoy a homemade birthday cake. If it was a monumental birthday my mother would take the time to write “happy birthday, Pam” on it, otherwise the decorations would be limited to a handful of chocolate sprinkles scattered across the top.
Birthday parties now are held at special locations so the kids can either bowl, bounce, dance, skate, get a makeover or shoot each other in laser tag. At these parties the parent will also be expected to overpay dramatically for cardboard pizza and a birthday cake decorated to the nines in the current trendy theme.
So, as I am sitting at the dining room table one night thinking about how I’m going to break the news to Gracie that she’s going to have a very “retro” birthday party (i.e. inexpensive), she walks up to me and asks whether I’ve decided what I’m going to get her as a present. Foolishly, I was thinking Barbie dolls, a board game, maybe a new sundress or a music CD. Gracie has other plans. She has requested either an ipod, cell phone or a laptop.
This may just be the year I let my husband take over the birthday party planning.