Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Proof I have a problem

Friday is Big Dog's birthday. I'm trying not to go overboard, but there is something about party planning that makes me go a bit nutty. One thing is clear, I like to aim for perfection. And if I'm completely honest, that aim has always been just a bit, ok a lot, out of my reach.

A normal birthday party for a five year old, should be a piece of cake. Ok, a full cake, a few games, a few kids, a few gifts, and maybe a balloon or two. And that's kind of what I'm doing. Except our house is still mid-remodel and there is little space for a party. And since Big Dog just recently changed schools, we have a bigger list of desired guests than our home can easily accommodate. And since our home is usually somewhere between disaster areas and one of those apartment you read about where there is so much stuff piled up over the years that the occupants have created narrow paths between the stacks of newspapers and piles of trash to travel between rooms. (ok, that might be a slight exaggeration) And since it is so nice to be able to have a party on someone else's turf and stick them with the clean up instead of having to clean to prepare for the party, host the party then spend the rest of the day cleaning up again, I decided to have a party somewhere else.

After close deliberating with Big Dog over what kind of party he'd like, we settled on a gymnastics party. They do a cool party package with a one hour class for the kids followed by one hour in a party room for the official sugaring up of the party guests. This gave me the freedom to invite many of Big Dog's friends and the ability to have a party with minimal cleaning required. All I have to do is get everything there, set up quickly and then sit back and enjoy. The only challenge to this was they needed a final headcount by Tuesday the week of the party, and I got the invites out late. I gave the parents a few days to reply then sent out a follow up email. We got a great response, but we also discovered that two of Big Dog's classmates are having their birthday parties that same day. Other than the birthday girls, it didn't seem to diminish our turnout much, but we still have a couple of unknowns who never RSVP'd.

Since I needed to get the supplies online, I had to start that part of things moving even before we had a headcount. So I had to start preparing. As you know, my early discussion with Big Dog resulted in being duped into starting a new and expensive hobby, so I was reluctant to do that again. Every time I asked him what theme he wanted, he'd come up with something new, and then he'd start planning birthday parties for next year and the year after that. (Next year we're having a racing theme, with cars. Lots of cars. The year after, it is a pool party. Or at least that's what he's saying now.) We finally settled on a Scooby Doo theme. This was after having settled on a fish theme, a frog theme, a butterfly theme, a frog theme, a car theme, a pirate theme, a fish theme, a dog get the idea.

I've been fairly well swamped at work, and I knew I had to do the bulk of the party supply purchasing on line. It actually worked out well. I had no idea how many sites there were prepped and ready to sell you all of the Scooby Doo supplies you could ever imagine. I got everything I needed, and now I am just sweating the arrival of the last box which is absolutely required to complete our goody bags. I'm sure it will arrive, but I'm equally sure I'll be stressed and twitchy by the time it does.

So let's talk about those goody bags. I like making goody bags, but I don't especially like getting them. I hate getting in the car after my child has been pumped full of cake, ice cream and juice only to find my child digging into the extra take home sugar rush of candy from the goody bag. For this reason, I never put candy in goody bags. Yeah, I'm one of those moms. This year, I am especially proud of our goody bags. They have a few cool items that were really inspired by Big Dog. We've got Wikki Stix, Floam, tiny flashlights, bubbles and Scooby Doo stickers. I'm psyched.

Finally we have the cake. My original plan was that I'd bake the organic, custom designed cake in my copious spare time. It would be decorated with the cast of Scooby Doo, hand sculpted from colored rolled fondant and resemble something that matched the image of the cake I have dreamed up in my delusional mind. Uh, yeah. That didn't happen. I got as far as buying the fondant and coloring, and printing photos of the "Gang" off the internet before reality set in. Let's face it, we have 23 kids coming to this party. This isn't some normal cake. It would have to be massive. We'd need to have cake for the kids and for the parents that decided to dig in. I'd have to trust my crappy oven to bake evenly AND I'd have to invest in new baking pans large enough to make this monstrous cake. Not to mention, I'd have to find time to do this at a time in my schedule that I can't seem to find time to unpack my suitcase from last week. So yesterday I caved and ordered a cake, complete with Scooby, Shaggy and Velma (Big Dog's favorite) from a local bakery.

So now I just have to finish up. Put together the goody bags, buy Big Dog a gift, pick up and deliver the cake, and I'm sure I'll come up with another long list of to dos. But as long as he's smiling at the end of it, it will all be worth it. I just hope I survive.


Anonymous said...

Okay you just reminded me that I have like less than a month to plan and organize M's 6th Birthday. OMG....I am panicking now.

geekymummy said...

It sounds fantabulous, wish we could come!

Birthday in a Box said...

Hi! I follow you on Twitter, which led me to this post. That is quite a schedule! It sounds like the party is going to be a great success, though. Hope you can have fun when the big day comes!

Birthday in a Box

Mrs. F said...

Argh! Rissa's birthday is on the 22nd and I have no party in the works, because we have a trip to Disneyland planned for the week after her birthday, which I thought would suffice, but now she is saying no, no bueno, so I am going to wait until they go back to school in November and plan a party with her school friends.

I THOUGHT I was going to get off easy this year. No such luck.

Good luck with the rest of your party planning.

Mel said...

Happy Birthday to Big Dog! I'm sure you've done an awesome job, Mom!

Ginger Kenney said...

OK too late for this year maybe, but Google Display & Costume Supply in Seattle, it is an awesome store with the best ever party supplies; you name it they have it, and much, much more. Crazy now because of Halloween unless you can go midweek, but definitely worth the visit. They also have stores in Issaquah and Everett. Family business, around since the 50s

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