Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Super Mom

Every once in a while, I have a moment that makes me feel like Super Mom. Like the time I simultaneously nursed twins, supervised a preschooler’s art project and, with the help of a Hello Kitty radio, followed the Giants as they clinched the World Series. Somewhere in between the fifth and seventh innings I cooked dinner, too. True story.

Well, folks, I’ve done it again. My Super Mom moment of 2011: I am throwing a birthday party for my soon-to-be four year old. And I have laid down the law. No presents. No piñatas. No princess party entertainers. No goodie bags.

Next Saturday four moms from preschool are going to drop off four preschoolers. Here in our modest apartment we will don party hats and eat pasta and green beans. We will sing “Happy Birthday” (and eat cake—I’m not a total Party Tyrant). And then we will watch T.V. That’s the party. And I think the kids will love it.

I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking, “How does throwing the lamest party of all time make you Super Mom?”

It doesn’t. What makes me Super Mom is my decision to stand up to party peer pressure. I refuse to throw a birthday party that requires roughly the same amount of stress and planning as my wedding reception did. Don’t get me wrong. Parties are great. I love parties. But they’re not about the size of the venue or the length of the guest list or pile of presents. They’re about sharing and friendship. That’s why we are only inviting the kids we know really well.

At first I was terrified that some afternoon at preschool a mob of angry Moms would corner me and demand that their child be invited to my daughter’s party. How dare I exclude them! How dare I deviate from party protocol!

But then I realized that none of us wants to be part of the birthday party insanity. None of us wants to be pressured into throwing a party with thirty screaming kids cracked out on sugar, just as none of us wants to be pressured into picking out presents such as developmentally appropriate Melissa & Doug macramé kits when it’s our kid’s turn to be a guest in the rented Bouncy House. We are all looking for a way to jump off the birthday bandwagon.

When I informed Chiara what I’d planned she said, "Well, I have some things that I would like to have at my birthday party."

Like what?

"I would like to have my friends play in my bedroom."


"And can I put my candles on the cake?"

Of course!

"And can I have chocolate cake and pink frosting?"

Yes. Yes, of course you can.

And that’s why I am Super Mom. Because I can give my kid everything she wants for her birthday.


  1. Chiara's happy face in that photo confirms you totally made the right call on the birthday! But, I am curious, did the other parents observe your "no presents" rule??

  2. Yes, they did. But instead of the regular "Please, no presents," I said, "Chiara knows she will not be getting presents at the party." Originally there was the request that, if you did want to bring something that we'd love to have your gently used (or new) baby clothes for the donation drive that we had planned, but since it was raining so hard we had to scrap that part (at least as part of the party). And besides, all the kids are nearly 4, so no one had any handme downs.

    But it's a funny thing, huh? I always think of the Larry David/Ben Stiller no presents episode:

  3. Hmmm. I don't know, Janine. If anything, this should be a SuperDaughter post instead. Maria has a definite idea on what a birthday party entails. So, I am assuming that the birthday wasn't completely present-less, just no friend presents, right? I do think that the goodie bag thing can be an enjoyably unselfish experience for the giver, i.e. birthday girl. That and the thank you notes. I think this might go in the category of things not to tell Maria about--for your sake. And it will be fascinating to talk to the girls when they get older about our birthday 2011 blog posts.

  4. Agreed on the goodie bags. It's just a pain in the butt for me. And thank-you notes are a must (says she who still hasn't sent out the thank you notes from Xmas) As for presents, we haven't even opened all the ones from all the Grandmas and Grandpas yet. So yes, she got plenty of presents. Just not from her friends. The next post is the party recap.