Happy Birthday to my daughter! She is now 6 years old and we had her birthday party this past weekend. As we have learned over the years a birthday party and all of the set-up and clean up can cause some stress and this time was no exception. We had already decided that we would not be able to afford to rent out someplace and have a huge bash and being January we were not going to have an outside party, so we knew the party was going to be at our house, and next we needed to pick out a theme for the party. My wife is very insistent that a party has to have a theme and the party stores in our area are very happy about this. I am not sure if kids had so many themed birthday parties when I was young but it does seem like most kids do these days. I know for myself growing up the theme was simply “Birthday.” My mom trotted out the birthday banner that she hung up every couple months for whomever’s birthday it happened to be and we sang happy birthday and my mom told me the story of the morning I was born and there was cake after dinner and we opened one or two presents. I can remember two or three times we had a bigger party in the back yard with kids from the neighborhood. Birthdays were never a huge deal in my house growing up, but I’ve grown to like the idea of imparting some ‘extra special-ness’ to my own kids’ birthday, even it means adopting a decorative theme. Many times I have been reminded that we should make the decisions as parents and just hand down our decisions to the children, but as they grow older we try to include them in the decision making process, especially when it comes to planning stuff for them such as their birthday party. So, after some worry about she would ask for, we asked Adelina what she wanted to do for her party and my extremely reasonable daughter said she wanted to have a pink and purplicious birthday party. Aaah, relief! She had not asked for the moon! All we had to do was buy some pink and purple decorations. Next we asked her who she wanted to invite and after she had gone through five or six names of girls in her class I stopped her and asked if we should just invite all the girls. I was wary of leaving anyone out because I could just imagine the clicks of girls taking shape on the playground and I did not want to participate in this in any way. Next came our biggest hurdle of getting out the invitations. Turns out that if we wanted to pass out the invitations in school, then we had to invite all 27 of the kids in her class, boys and girls, but we cannot fit that many people in our home. (That is a ridiculously large Kindergarten class, but I’ll leave that for another post…) We didn’t have anyone’s address and the school was not allowed to share addresses, which is probably a good thing. So, I suggested that we give out the invitations just two days before and have them RSVP by the next day and that way no one would come except those close few that we had already invited. My wife did not like that idea. Next I thought of sending Adelina into school and passing out cards to all the girls surreptitiously, but this seemed like it probably wouldn’t work without the teacher finding out and it probably wasn’t the best position to put a six year old in. So, this is the trouble you get into when you ask your kids what they want to do, because now I had to steer her away from the idea of inviting all the girls and sell her on the idea of just inviting two or three that we could get an invitation to. Luckily Adelina was very receptive to changing up the plans. As long as her three best friends were there, a chocolate cake, and some presents, it turns out she didn’t care much for the rest of the details. Despite the fact that only three girls were showing up at our house we used this as motivation to do some long overdue cleaning and Patricia even looked on-line and learned some new ways of hanging pink and purple intertwined streamers. She almost taught me how to do it – there’s always next year!