Now I know why we are only given one birthday per year. Sure, you can argue the logic there can only be one birthday because you are only born once and therefore you can only have one day to celebrate. That is absolutely not the reason we only have one birthday a year. The real reason? Because parents need an entire year to recover from their kids’ birthday parties. For real. Look it up.
My daughter turned eight on April 2nd but through illness after illness after illness (with some swine flu scare thrown in for good measure), we had to postpone her party until this past weekend. Birthday parties where I live are usually a big event. I think it is written in the city by-laws that it has to cost a fortune and be held somewhere fun. You spend hundreds of dollars to show up somewhere with nothing but the birthday girl and some cake and leave with presents and a lighter wallet. But my daughter decided she wanted to have a slumber party. I thought that was a brilliant idea. Both of my boys had sleepover parties when they were around her age. They were easy. They were loud, but easy!
You see with the boys all that I really had to do was put them in the game room with some video games, movies and a pizza. (And occasionally some air freshener to cover over the boy-feet stink.)
Then I began to talk to other moms who had daughters.
“Do you have a craft planned? Girls love to do crafts at parties!”
I stammered. “But I don’t do crafts. I make Martha Stewart weep. What kind of craft?”
“Maybe they could paint something.”
I saw images of paint meeting my hard wood floors and began to panic a bit.
“Maybe a make-over? They love to paint each other’s fingernails and do each other’s make-up.”
I put that in the category with paint and my hard wood floors.
I realized that a slumber party for a girl and a slumber party for boys was an entirely different beast altogether. What had I gotten myself into?
So, Gabriella and I decided on a fun craft of decorating journals. (There would be very little mess and something that can double as a party favor. Score!) We also chose a backup craft in case they needed another activity.
A good friend of mine offered up her Karaoke machine for “fun” for the girls. I thought that would be great. (I was so short-sighted!)
The day of the party I began to realize it would not be so bad. I had things for the girls to do, food to keep their stomachs full and activities that would stretch out. I was set.
Then they arrived. The noise could be heard on the street. Girls have this squeal that is so loud it makes dogs long to be deaf. I was treated to this chorus of squeals and screams by six girls as they played and laughed and tried to talk over one another. For a few brief moments while working on their journals, they were quiet. I began to relax. But with girls, they seem to want you there at all times making sure they are entertained. (I began to miss rough housing boys who only wanted to play video games.)
At one point when things were a bit out of hand one of the girls decided it was a good time for Karaoke. So? I gave these loud little people a microphone. (In hindsight I realized that handing over a microphone to screaming girls was not my best idea.) They sang/screamed songs from Shrek to Elvis. My ears bled. My head pounded and I began to think that doling out the money to have this event somewhere else was not such a bad idea.
As the numbers dwindled to just those who were spending the night, I began to relax. My ears stopped ringing and my dog came out of hiding. My husband and boys started to emerge from their own hiding places to see if the house was still standing. I sat in the darkened room adjacent to where the girls were now watching a movie. I must have looked a bit war-torn and shell shocked. My husband laughed and just patted my back.
When the next morning dawned and the girls left, my daughter looked at me and asked when she could have her next sleepover party.
I looked at her and told her in all seriousness, “When you live in a dorm and you and your roommate decide to throw one, honey.”
Maybe after a year has passed I will consider doing this again. Then again, maybe not. I am not sure if a year is long enough to recover from that many squealing, giggling and laughing girls. My ears are still ringing and my dog is now afraid of sleeping bags.
However, my daughter said it was the best birthday party she has ever had.
I suppose I can recover in a year. But no sooner!