Think you're alone in dreading your child's birthday party?
Take solace in the fact that even Robert Munsch hates them too. “Things always get hyper at birthday parties.” Coming from him that’s saying a lot. He based his picture book Moira's Birthday on a party where unbeknownst to him or his wife, Julie; their daughter invited all of grade three to her celebration. Of course in his story, Moira invites all of grade 1 through to all of grade 6, six hundred kids and has to order 200 cakes and 200 pizzas to feed them all. Still his story has a happy ending, Moira does all the planning and when she receives over $800 in birthday card money, she covers the costs too.
Are there lessons that can be learned in trying to ensure a stress free and fun party which succeeds in eliminating some of the inherent “hyperness”? It could be a more serious problem than having 200 pizza boxes to get to the recycling curb. Kathy Kacer, children's author, (latest book Hiding Edith, Second Story Press), says hyper high excitement, an impending cold and a lack of sleep all contributed to the worst asthma attack her then eight year old son Jake Epstein ever experienced. In the middle of eating pizza, Jake, now star of Degrassi the Next Generation, had to be taken from his own party by Kathy and rushed to the hospital to be hooked up to ventolyn. Can we avoid disasters like this by eliminating some of the high drama of the parties?
Editor of Today’s Parent Toronto Helen Keeler thought she could by sticking to the rules and only having as many children at the party as the age her child was turning, an oft-quoted guideline for parents new to the birthday party game. She invited 2 children to her child’s 3rd birthday, and in her words “You have never seen a sadder, more boring little birthday party. The three of them just staring at each other and waiting to go home.” So maybe there is a happy medium to be found here – a number somewhere between two and 600 that both you and your child will be happy with.