Monday, June 27, 2016

Parenthood: Week 158 – Other People’s Parties

First birthday parties are as much for the parents as they are for the kid. It’s a big accomplishment for parents to make it through that first year of their child’s life. And in most situations getting there is largely due to the support of friends and family. That first birthday party features the kid smearing cake on their face but it’s really about the parents and village coming together. Yes, people invite some of the kid’s friends but those “friends” are only friends because their parents are part of the village.

Over the years this has changed and now we are making our way through third birthday parties. There parties aren’t drop-off parties, where the parents can just leave the kid at a location for a couple hours. Now that these kids are toddlers, the food has to be toddler friendly, which means that the food is not prioritized to please adults (though I do heart all the pizza at these parties). 3 years-olds are a lot more active than 1 year-olds, so adult interactions are now interjected between attempts to monitor children and suppress toddler drama.

There’s a need for activities at these parties now. In the past couple months we’ve experienced a nature walk, some very cool folk dancing, a sing along, watching balloon animal and running around at a park. Then there’s eating, and of course, the most important part of a party or as it seems through the eyes of a toddlers, the cake.

I know that there’s only a couple years of birthday parties that I will go to until we hit the drop-off stage and I am no longer present at these celebrations. I was never a huge birthday party person growing up, but I’m enjoying experiencing these parties through Ollie.

We joke that we are on a birthday party tour like a summer concert tour. Because Ollie was born in May, many of the friends we met through Ollie also have children who have summer birthdays. This means that we are blessed to go to at least half a dozen, if not more toddler birthday parties this summer.

It can be a lot to navigate and there are some weekends like this last weekend when we went to two parties. There was a parent at one party who was leaving to go to another party.  Seriously two in one day.

Ollie doesn’t fully understand the meaning of these parties. Sometimes he seems to get it, but other times all he seems interested in is the cake. Any time you get a group of toddlers together, it’s as entertaining as it is exhausting.

Each party is a special opportunity to be a part of a family’s tradition. These events are different in their customs and values but they all share the same optimism and joy that transforms parenting from a burden to a celebration.

The tour continues.

No comments:

Post a Comment