Monday, March 26, 2012

Birthday Month continues


Today was the joint birthday party for Baz and Isa, at a fun place here in San Jose called Jungle Island. Although the party was very well-managed and the kids had a blast, I have to admit that it was all a bit overwhelming - this place has a huge play structure, and arcade games, and laser tag, and bumper cars, and make-your-own-stuffed-animals ... it was just a lot. Then, when our kids opened their giant piles of presents and we dragged home tons of new sets of plastic things (legos, barbie, disney, dora, etc...), I had to wonder if we are just too far gone over the parenting-extremist-birthday-parties line. Remember the pre-children days when it seemed ludicrous to hire a magician for your kid's party? When that's what rich, stupid people did? What has happened to us?

Oh, I don't know. I could blame it on the tour I suppose. Pre-tour, I had entirely quit hosting children's birthday parties. Enough, I said. From now on, on your birthday, we will go someplace special, like a museum. Maybe you can bring 1 friend with you. And happy times were had by all, for the year or two this lasted.

But here on tour this is just not the way of it. There is a set group of kids, and when they have parties, everyone goes all out. The parties are long, and expensive, and the gifts are extravagant.

It does get hard on the dads, too. Especially this time of year - from February-April there is a big concentration of kids' parties, which invariably happen on Mondays. Meaning it can feel like, every Monday (their one day off) they are all standing around at some kids' play zone singing happy birthday.

While it would make me happy to try and be a trend-setter, and announce to all the other families "we Kennedys are no longer doing birthday parties" - it would certainly not make my kids happy. They cherish these events and wouldn't like to be the only kids not having a big to-do. We've talked about trying to go in on larger joint parties, but few people seem to really go for this idea.

Well, at least it's 6 months till I have to consider Ayla's birthday. A picture to close, here's her latest smile, missing all 4 front teeth. (Baz elbowed her in the mouth, accidentally knocking out that 4th one, a few days ago). Can you believe she has another one loose on the bottom? She is officially speaking funny now, with a kind of lisp. ...Ayla had a pretty exciting last few days, she got to go horseback riding twice, and sleep over at her friend Sophia's house!

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