Last month, Moppet and I were invited to a little boy's 3rd birthday party. It was lovely. There was a clown making balloon animals, lots of food, music, party games, great fun! Certainly the birthday boy's 5 year old sister and all her friends were having a ball.
But where was the main man? Turns out he was having a hard time dealing with all the people in his house, playing with his toys, and messing up his railway tracks. So there he was, sitting in a corner, holding tightly onto his nanny's hand, and looking most unhappy.
It struck me then that birthdays, especially for kids aged 1-3, are more for the parents, friends and family than for the kids themselves. It should be their special day, but it's not really.
Once the children get older, parents have to deal with more complex party problems. The kids want specific party themes, the return gifts have to top those received at the last party they went to, the venue must be just so, and the entertainment unique. One of my colleagues ended up spending Rs 50,000 for her daughter's 5th birthday party because the little girl wanted a specific venue (with glass floors) and a Little Mermaid theme.
It's easy to blame it on indulgent parents, but really, how do you explain to a 4 year old that you're giving her a fun party at home when last month she went to her classmate's birthday party which featured assorted Disney Princesses and had giant inflatable castles? The problem is that over-the-top birthday parties appear to have become the norm and while it's ok for us as adults to take a stand and do something different, I don't know if a 4 year old would understand that. It's tough!
Anyway, in a couple of weeks, Moppet will turn one and I've been thinking about what we should do to mark the occasion. I think her papa got it right when he said, 'Let's make it a happy day for her.'
So that's the plan. A happy day for Moppet. This is easy right now - it takes so little to make her happy.
We'd better enjoy it while it lasts!