This is the first time we had a low key birthday.
I mean, really, really, low key.
After 6 kids, I’ve had enough of OTT birthdays. Of inviting the whole kampung, hiring magicians, jumping castles, and game hosts. That was before Instagram and extravagant dessert tables.
It didn’t help that we used to live in a condo and that became the norm and our kids expected it. I had a whole cupboard filled with presents which I could whip out when an invite came from one of the neighbours, which happened every weekend or so.
With Kate, I have stopped doing things just because and now I think through why we do what we do, so much so that one of my teens remarked recently, “Mum, Kate has such a different childhood experience from us!”
Last year, I tried to keep her birthday cosy, but I guess it wasn’t small enough. When too many guests arrived, she was overwhelmed and burst into tears. We thought inviting 10 kids was a small number, but add to that the accompanying adults, and it was all too much for a 3-year old.
This year, I decided to go old school and keep it simple. Nothing fancy, nothing lavish.
Thankfully, Kate seemed to have the same thoughts.
I asked her what she wanted to do for her birthday and she counted off her closest friends from school whom she wanted to invite home.
Each time I asked her (just to be sure), she mentioned the same 4 names, and she was very firm about it.
I was amused, because after 16 years of elaborate parties with 30-40 kids, with unhappy kids at the end of every party, I finally read that the number of guests should correspond to the child’s age.
So 4 years = 4 friends.
After handing out the 4 invites, I was slightly nervous. What if only 2 could make it? What a strange, boring party it would be.
Luckily, all 4 accepted our lunch invitation.
|Birthday in school
The day before her party, she celebrated her birthday in school and was overjoyed that I turned up to celebrate it with her and her friends.
I have been extremely busy the past 3 weeks, and couldn’t put one more thing on my plate. The night before her party, with nothing planned, I asked myself, how hard is it to keep 5 little kids entertained for 2 hours? It took me just 30 minutes to get everything ready for her party, compared to previous years where it took us a full day to cook and prep the house and activities!
|Kate turns 4!
Just look at this photo.
I love how old school it is. Reminds me of the photos we had of our childhood!
Normally, I would be busy flitting around, keeping guests entertained and seeing to everyone’s needs.
This time, I could actually sit down and have decent conversations with the other mums.
#3 cooked up a batch of clay and they had fun adorning their creations with sparkly bits.
I came up with the brilliant idea to get the girls to make their very own DIY party bags! Ok, with a lot of guidance from the mummies.
I filled some baskets with snacks and little knickknacks such as stationery and girlie craft items.
After they were done making their bags, they chose what they wanted from the baskets to fill their party bags.
It was nice to see the girls give in to one another and no one fought for the same items.
|DIY party bags
And of course, after lunch, the real fun began when the girls ran off from the adults’ prying eyes and made up their own games.
After her friends left, the rest of our extended family streamed in and I allowed Kate to skip her nap. She opened her presents and continued playing into the evening with her cousin.
No more big parties if I can help it.
My recent decluttering of our house using the minimalist KonMarie method might have something to do with my desire for simplicity.
Such an eye-opener. Less is indeed more. In many areas, with less frills, we can go deeper and enjoy better, the things which matter and bring happiness.
Happy birthday to my littlest!
May you always know where to find real joy and happiness.