Wow - it's been a LONG time since I updated this bad-boy blog of mine. Life has been busy, and I haven't felt the urge to write - neither a good thing nor a bad - that's just life!
Anyway I have been inspired to record my findings in my latest creative-journey: THE dreaded Kid's Birthday Party.
I say dreaded as generally the idea of organizing and/or attending a kids birthday is enough to send me into a panic-induced anxiety attack.... believe it or not I am actually rather useless in social situations as my anxiety levels when having to create conversation render me either awkwardly quiet or I get verbal diarrhea and end up chewing someone's ear off. Makes it worse that there are probably only a handful of people that you know - everyone else is known as "so and so's Mum/Dad". The gaggles of children sugared up to their eyeballs, running, wrestling, screaming and sweating in confined spaces.... mountains of single-use plastic..... the emotional breakdown that you know is coming after your child starts coming down from riding high on the sugar-additives-colours train.... the only thing you can do is pray it will happen AFTER you have made your exit. BUT we do this for our kids am I right!? I'm not judging or criticizing anyone here I may add - I think we can all agree though that kids birthday parties of this era have got a touch out of control and most of us have been swept up in the notion of keeping up with the Jones's.
My Rant About Kid's Parties these days:
- Number one has got to be the FOOD..... or whatever word you would use to describe a shit load of sugar, frankenfood, colours, additives, sugar sugar Oh and sugar - none of it is really food though, is it? I totally appreciate when parents make an effort and put out fruit, veggie sticks, plain popcorn and the likes amongst party food but really if you were 6 and offered a bowl of jellybeans or a bowl of fruit salad, 9 times out of 10 the kids will go for the lollies. There's no way that after a good hit of the sweet stuff that a child will go BACK to chomping on a celery stick - taste buds buzzing with stimulation, once you feel that rush there is no going back. Now I am ALL for moderation and balance - treats are fine, and I never ban my little one from having party food - no one wants to be known as that Mum aka the Fun Police. I just don't understand why we spend all this time trying to teach our kids about moderation, balance, nutritious choices, and then at party time we just throw all this junk food at their faces because it's FUN - is it? Is it really fun? I know Misty (my son) has learnt the hard way in terms of overindulging on party food - let's just say that the digestive repercussions were enough to make him consider his options the next time. Not so fun, I can tell you. To me, it just seems like too much - what happened to keeping things simple, wholesome, nutritious AND delicious? Healthy food does not have to be all carrot sticks and sesame seeds.... why are we encouraging our kids to binge on absolute rubbish when there are other options?
- Back in the day, not every kid won a prize at every party game. SHOCK! HORROR! OH CRUEL WORLD! Take pass the parcel - these days EVERY LAYER has a prize - and sometimes these prizes are even segregated into "boys" prizes and "girls prizes. Geeeez when I was 6 the whole point of Pass the Parcel was getting to the last layer - the ONE prize. We are totally setting our kids up to always expect to WIN..... how about the notion of participation? Of joining in for the fun of it, not because you will "win" some shitty plastic toy. How about being a gracious loser?
- The excess. I know most of us are time poor these days, and yes, convenience is attractive but generally it means way to much single-use plastic products, packaged foods, and a whole heap of unethically mass manufactured crap. I'm over it. FYI I am totally guilty of doing ALL of these things.... I'm no angel, but I feel it's time for a BIG change.
- The pressure. Ego. Competition. This one is a doozey, and it's probably why kid's parties are just more and more out of control. There's always that annoying little trait of wanting to one-up someone.... of doing things BIGGER, BETTER, COOLER. Of going ALL OUT - who are we trying to impress? Or are we just following suit - someone else did it, so I have to do it too so I don't look like a weirdo, or everyone thinks my kid is a weirdo. I thought that a child's birthday party was about celebrating the child.... not showing everyone else how awesome we are and how we can have the best party. Are we forgoing the true essence of a celebration to feed our own ego instead?
SO. How am I going to rectify my position on Kid's Birthday Parties?
Geez. I'm not sure..... I know I am setting myself up for more work here, but maybe that is half the answer in itself. Maybe a little forethought, planning and being organised may work in my favour? I have set myself a few guidelines to make this process enjoyable AND a learning experience for not just me, but my Misty who is going to be super actively involved.
*Not buying new crap: Borrow, make, thrift store finds. Getting our DIY pants on.
*Simple food - frankenfood is NOT an option. Less is more (at the end of the day the kids are way to excited to actually eat a huge amount, and for a party that goes for a few hours max there's really no need to go over the top.
*Games that are NOT focused on winning..... going old school.
*Sustainability. Say NO to plastic crap.
*Getting Creative - thinking outside the box
*FUN. Letting kids be kids.
*Keeping it as simple and as stress-free as possible. Because this is meant to be FUN, remember!?
I will keep you updated on how are plans go.......