Rowan turned two this month, and we had a birthday breakfast picnic with our family + a few of his little friends. And I did it! I finally did it! I threw a low-key party without stressing (except once for five minutes), no crafting, and zero let-down expectations.
The only theme I did was everything in dark blue (his favorite color). So I used picnic blanket plaids in blue and had lots and lots of blue balloons around his birthday present -- a teepee! (I figured this was the last year before he was fully talking and submitting birthday theme requests, so I took it and ran! One last, easy, cutesy party before dinosaurs invade my life!)
chill out, crafty mama...
Low-key modification #1 - Don't have the party in your house. Well, renting a pavilion at a park on the weekends costs way more than you'd think, so I had a different idea for our picnic. We just used our FRONT yard. It keeps everything open for people to stop by easily, you don't feel like you have to clean every nook and cranny inside of your house, and our dogs were out of the way when they needed to be. It worked out really well! And I didn't have to lose my mind during the week as Rowan destroyed the house 17 different times. I just kept thinking, hey if I end up with no time to clean this up, IT WILL BE OKAY!
Low-key modification #2 - Don't do DIYs. That's such a funny thing to say in a Pinterest generation, but sometimes you just have to say no! Our DIYs included setting up the tables and picnic blankets and making delicious breakfast. That was enough. If you have a toddler, maybe just overachieve in another life phase. Target dollar-spot that shiz or recycle last year's decor. Ask family to help contribute some food items.
Low-key modification #3 - BREAKFAST! This was my favorite element for a little kid party. Usually people with kids are up early anyway, so a 9 am start time doesn't sound ungodly. Also, if your 2 year old woke up at 6am, they will have been awake for 4-5 hours by the time you start your 10-11am party and will be crashing straight into nap time towards the end. 9:00 was the golden hour. By 11:00 the sensory overload of people, presents, and cake was still hitting the crash zone, but he was able to take a little 5-minute quiet moment and keep playing happily to the very end. Also-ALSO... breakfast food! It's the best.
Since I know I have a plethora of birthday parties in my future (even not counting any future children who don't exist yet), what lessons do I have for my future self and other party-lovin' mamas?
Lesson #1 - Rein in the Grandmas! A two year old -- or any age kid for that matter -- is going to have a crazy time opening multiple presents alllll at once. If you aren't saving the presents to open later and decide to enter the madness, I think that anyone (*cough* Grandparents *cough*) who has multiple gifts for your little bundle of joy should just pick one for the party and leave the rest with you so they can be enjoyed more slowly later.
Lesson #2 - Balloons droop, balloons pop. <--Now say that 3 times fast... aha! Bet you said poop! I'm a mature adult, you guys. Thanks to the super sassy balloon guy at Publix, I did not get to buy my balloons the night before the party. 10 days later, the mylar balloons are still nearly fully inflated, but the latex balloons were droopy less than 12 hours later. So thanks, Publix guy. The 7am errand was worth it. In place of a kids party favor, I bought some round, blue punching balloons. FYI - These do not need to be blown up all the way. They were just popping and popping like crazy! It's not a big deal since they came in packs of 30, but seeing the joy of toddler faces suddenly turn to horror is a sad thing! Just let the balloons be smaller... It ain't no thang.
Lesson #3 - Fall & Spring are tricksters. October is the driest year of the month (and we are even currently in a drought), so I had zero worry about having an outdoor picnic party. What I didn't think about was that even though the temperature was perfect, the sun was still blaring down on us and it got pretty warm. I prepared for our yard to have a few shady areas, but since we live in Alabama I'm going to start planning for any outdoor party to be more on the warm side than cooler side. Then if it happens to be sweater weather one year, we will just be happily surprised! ...More water, less hot apple cider.
Any other things you parentals have learned from hosting years of birthday parties? Please share!