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Sunday, August 23, 2009

Party in the park

The birthday season is upon us. It begins with the girl, the boy follows and it ends with me. Over a month of birthdays. So much to celebrate. So much cake to eat.

With the kids born only a few weeks apart we decided to hold a joint birthday party for them in the park yesterday. I know, I just said I am trying to think outside the park but it really is the perfect place for a party. There is lots of room for the kids to run around and play, it doesn't matter if cake or juice gets spilled and most importantly it means we don't have to clean the house before or after the party.

There was a great mix of people at the party. We invited some old friends we haven't seen in a long time and some of our new park friends. I only wish I could have spent more time with everyone. I managed to say hello and goodbye and would you like some cake to everyone but not much more. In fact, what with running around making sure that someone was looking after my kids and everyone had food and drink I don't remember much about the party.

There is one moment that stays me with. I was standing at one end of the picnic table, the husband across from me at the other end. Two cakes are on the table and he and I are cutting and plating them as fast as we can. Kids are crammed onto both of the benches asking for cake and eating cake. "I want that piece right there" a girl says to me, pointing to the middle of the cake. "I want that one" says another girl pointing to a cluster of sprinkles. "I'm not sure if we will get that far" I say as I cut and dish and cut and dish.

The girl had a great time at the party. She never stopped running around and chasing after her friends. Oh wait, she did stop. Twice. For two pieces of cake. The first she ate with all her friends after she had pretended to blow out the candles (it was too windy to get them lit). The second cake she ate later on when she came upon me cleaning up and asked for another piece. I thought about it for a moment and then figured why not. It's her birthday party after all. "You can have one more piece" I said, "but you have to eat it out of the way so we can tidy up". The girl took her cake and carried it across the grass to a bench. She sat there by herself slowly eating her cake, looking off into the distance.

The boy also had a bit of cake. Holding him in front of me while he sat at the picnic table I saw him reach out for the cake closest to him. He managed to push his fingers into the cake and pull out a small piece covered in icing. Before I could wipe it away the cake was already in his mouth and his hand was going back again. There on the cake were three little finger imprints. Like his sister he wasn't satisfied with only one bite of cake. Later he happily sat on my sister's lap eating some of hers.

The one downside to having the party in the park was the insane number of wasps that descended on us. They loved the juice, the fruit kabobs and me. While lifting up my hand I managed to sting myself on a wasp as it flew by. I screamed. Loudly. I did not, however, swear. I am very, very proud of that. My mother-in-law said that I mouthed a certain profane word but I have no memory of that. And if anyone had to be stung, better that it was me than one of the kids. Yes, I am a martyr like that.

What with the party prep (which we could not have managed without the help of my mother-in-law, dad and step-mom), the party and two children that were excited for the rest of the day the husband and I were exhausted last night. I found myself asking "was it worth it?". Was it worth the work, the energy, the planning? Do the kids even care?

Maybe they wouldn't have cared if there had been no party. Maybe, probably they won't even remember the party. But I do think they enjoyed themselves for those few hours. The girl was thrilled to see her friends and for it to be her birthday. The boy enjoyed the attention from the adults and playing with the kids.

That makes it worthwhile enough.


  1. I asked myself that same question when I was up at 2 AM baking my son's birthday cake so that it wouldn't heat the house up during the day. I was so tired!

    The joy on his face when he got his first taste of icing was all worth it. As much for me as it was for him, only being one year old.

    It sounds like a great time, and a memory for years to come. I'm glad you shared!

  2. We had baby M's first bday party in the park yesterday too. wasps in the mimosas. One to remember!

    - Donna

  3. It sounds like great fun, and yes...totally worth it, for you and them. You were smart to combine this year, you might not get the chance too as they get older! No pictures???!! I know...I'm demanding! :)

  4. It was a great time for your guests as well! We got to socialize (probably more than you did!), meet some new people, and eat cake too :) I don't think I've ever seen the park looking so lively!

  5. It really is so much work, but I do find it worth it. The kids love it so much. And eventually they won't want a party anymore, not one Mom plans for them anyhow :(. I am not looking forward to that day

  6. I will try for a picture. I am not good at pictures but I will see what I can do.

  7. We did Max's party in the park this year too. It was wonderful. The best place to have one. no clean up!! glad to hear it went well, except for the wasp sting. that sucks.

  8. aww love birthdays at the park! We did that one year and it was such a success!

    Glad all the hard work was worth it :)