Wednesday, September 2, 2009

you say it's your birthday?!

Okay, so it's not anyone's birthday here at La Casa B, except possibly the covert cat's*, but I did just watch one of the recent momversation (yes, I'm still taking issue with the name) episodes in which the moms discuss birthday parties.

I'm curious about you all. What were birthday parties, if you had them, like when you were kids? What about birthday parties for your own kids?

For us, I remember having a choice. On our birthdays, we could either choose to have a party with several people at home or invite one person and then we could go out. At home, the party decorations were always two colors of crepe paper twisted together and taped across the dining room ceiling. There were clusters of balloons taped in the corners. I think I mainly remember store-bought sheet cake, although I could be wrong there (my mom and grammie cooked a lot at home). Dinner was something simple. We'd play with water balloons in the front yard and then watch movies and play Nintendo (Super Mario Bros. 1,2, and 3, tennis or track and field) and giggle and run around the house all night long.

Some stand-outs: When I turned eight, we had a piƱata**. Once, we made individual pizzas on Boboli shells. Another time, my mom made small cakes and the guests decorated them. A couple of 'surprise' parties (sorry, I knew) and going to Marriage Can Be Murder at The Egg and I.

If we chose to invite only one guest, we'd go to the Orleans to eat lunch at the buffet and then we'd see a matinee movie at the cinema in the Orleans. (Yes, I did most of my childhood-years' growing up in Vegas.) Then, that guest could spend the night. I'm pretty sure I'm remembering this right.

As for Pic...well, she hasn't at all been a part of the party planning yet. I can't imagine that, at four, she might have already been. Maybe when she's six? I don't know.

For one, two and three, I made cakes. The first was a box mix with frosting from a platic container, but the second two were from-scratch. I don't bake very often, so it's fun to once in a while go all out, although my cakes do end up pretty wrecky. They're made with love (like Subarus, apparently). I didn't make a cake this past year. I might never get over the guilt (I'm serious).

Pic shares her birthday with an (un)holyday, so for two, three and four, the parties at school were enough to cover the 'friend party.' We might one day allow her to invite other kids over, but the thought of having to basically babysit a bunch of other people's kids appeals to neither Cardo nor myself. (Expect an invite that stipulates 'Adults must stay to supervise their wards.') We're nice and social like that.

Here's how this past birthday went for Pic. Cardo and I asked her what she wanted to do and she told us she wanted to eat at the buffet at the Grand Sierra Resort (don't even ask***). So, the morning of her birthday, we got her up to open her gifts. Cardo and I got her a sleeping bag. (I have this one gift thing. Sure, it makes it a bit more difficult to find the 'perfect' gift, but I just don't find it necessary to buy her a ton of gifts for each birthday -- she receives plenty all year long. Okay, this parenthetical note is becoming its own post, I know. I just feel Weird and Different when it comes to this.) She also had gifts from a few other family members. Then, we took her to ice skate at the rink downtown. This was successful for about one trip around, but it was great. Finally, we lunched at the good ol' GSR buffet. The day was more about being with her and celebrating her and our relationship with her than worrying over party details and gifts and all the things that make big parties so unfun for me.

That was it. It was fantastic...but I still wish I had made a cake. Although, come to think of it, Pic would only have eaten the frosting anyhow, so perhaps I should have just mixed up some buttercream frosting, tinted it pink and stuck a spoon in it. Well, there's always next year.

As she gets older, we might have to take on the more traditional party. I'm not talking hired performers and bouncy castles here, I'm talking pizzas and squealing elementary/middle school/high school kids. We'll deal with that when we get to it.

She has slept in this sleeping bag every night we've spent at home since her birthday, excepting the days I wash it. I have to wash it in the bathtub and hang it on the shower curtain rod to dry.

Nana made the outfit, the booties and a bib for this little Cabbage Patch Doll. The doll was also a gift. She also made the swaddling blanket (or the 'baby burrito' blanket as I refer to it) in Pic's hands in this picture. And, she made Pic a bedspread with her name embroidered on each corner on the front. I don't have a good picture of that, though. Yes, Nana is awe-inspiring.

So, as I asked above, what does 'birthday party' mean to you?

* We adopted him in March 2004 and they thought he was about six months old then, so...September 2003.

** I have no idea how to insert the tilde without opening a Word file, going to Insert Symbol, clicking on the tilde-d n there, copying it and pasting it here. Any help?

*** Okay, so two, maybe three times, we had eaten at the Hilton (now, the GSR) at the buffet for the two-for-one locals night. Pic was free because she was a wee bairn. That was months and months before her birthday this year. She's strange and we're still getting to know this strangeness every day.


P.S. (Oh. my. god. Could this post be any longer?) I only read part of the first comment for that momversation, but the commenter talked about doing a craft project instead of goodie bags. I didn't plan on doing goodie bags, but I love the idea of a crafty project or putting on a skit or making a wacky music video. (I can hear the future Pic screaming in embarrassment.)


Kat said...

My mom didn't *do* things when I was a kid. And I am an October baby, which means during football season, and the only thing that happened during football season in my house was football. Long story, but anyway. So, I only had two birthday parties. The first when I was about 8. We invited people over had cake and presents. No games. That was it.

The second, I was 12. My mom asked a friend to host one for me. We went to the friend's house. Had cake and presents. I remember she made me a cake that had horses on it and the grass was made of coconut. I was the only one who would eat it. I think a couple of girls cried. So, not really much for childhood birthdays.

I love love the idea of one gift. I think that is great. My BFF grew up poor and her mom would buy her a bunch of crap from the dollar store. Really, it would have been better to just get one thing.

Now, my comment is almost as long as your post.