My daughter just turned five! Yaaaaay it’s a milestone and we have certainly been waiting for it. When I first held her in my arms I wondered if she would survive the first year. I was constantly afraid of hurting her, dropping her of choking her. Sometimes I would not sleep at night deathly afraid of something happening to her when I slept. But five years later here we are.
Being a milestone, I wanted to splash, have a big birthday where I would invite all my friends and their kids. I was thinking tents, some catering and a big face cake kind of affair for the big day. When I sat my daughter down to explain to her how I wanted her birthday celebrated, she stopped me in my tracks by simply saying that she wanted us to have the birthday party at school.
Well, I didn’t want to have one at school because then I would not be able to splash and my friends would not attend it. I would not have the opportunity to give a tear-jerking speech of how we have had an amazing journey that alternated between being best for friends and sometimes driving each other crazy!
However, a recent post we did about not living vicariously through your children got to me. I remembered it was not all about me and she had a right to have her birthday the way she wanted it. I was just there to facilitate it.
The school birthday was just as nice and inspiring and I have learned a few lessons about it,
- Waaaay Cheaper!
By the time I was done with the shopping for the school birthday I realized that I did not spend half of what I had in my budget in the first place. I shopped for snacks such as biscuits, sweets, and juice, cake, paper plates and party hats. That is all I had to buy and we have a really good time.
- Simple can be sweet
I have never been a fan of having birthdays at school. My daughter only joined school last year and she had mentioned it several times but I never promised anything.
This year’s birthday taught me that simplicity is not such a bad thing. My daughter was genuinely happy with her friends and when she called little Yvonne to help cut her cake, there was a genuine love and friendship between the kids that made her happy. She did not care about the fact that it was just a few snacks and cake for her big day. The venue of the birthday mattered more to her.
- Don’t live through your child
We all want the best for our children but that does not mean that we should always bulldoze our way just because we hold the purse strings. We should always consider their position on some matters and take time to understand why they want it that way.
That does not, however, mean that we cannot offer suggestions or that we should go along with them if they are wrong. If you have any grand ideas and she doesn’t want them just keep them for your own birthday milestones.
- You have to consider religious differences
As you plan for the birthday for your daughter, you have to consider some religious differences. Some children belong to denominations that do not celebrate birthdays and you may need to chat with them and try to make alternative arrangements for them as you celebrate. You can also include them in the class and try and make it as short as possible so that they do not feel left out for a long time.
- Reduce sugary snacks
Some children suffer from conditions such as chronic coughs or tonsillitis and they can really get affected if they take much sugar. I have since learned to do few snacks and substitutes some with healthier alternatives. For instance, instead of giving them artificially flavored juice you can give them flavored milk, the normal milk or yogurt. You can include pieces of fruits such as apples along with the sweets and biscuits. This will give a choice to those who are on medication or suffering from those conditions.
- Be creative
The teachers will be gracious enough to give you some time with the kids. Try to come up with some games, talk a little about your child and teach them a few songs. Eating straight away may not make the day as special to your little child.
- Kids are highly competitive and easy offended
From the event, I also realized that kids are highly competitive and can get easily offended by some of our actions. For instance, I bought only a few party hats and they started scrambling for them. The ones who got started gloating while the ones who didn’t get offended.
The teacher helped me do some damaged control by calling in school worker who rushed for more at the nearest supermarket. We all got to wear one, and normalcy was restored. Please buy things like party hats for everyone or just let the party girl be the only one wearing the hat.
All in all, we had a very good time. Happy birthday Hailey!