Thursday, July 7, 2011

Princess Sabreen's 5th Birthday

I remember my 5th birthday like it was yesterday.
There were thousand's of people singing and dancing and waving their arms in the air and blowing vuvuzela's and cheering and.... oh wait, that was the England vs Germany game in last years FIFA Soccer World Cup.

So Sabreen turns 5 on the 28th of July, and I'm still dumbstruck at how quickly the time has gone by. It really does seem like it was just yesterday that she was learning to crawl and then walk.Suddenly she's at school and already wanting to know when she can expect her own Blackberry and Laptop!

Kid's parties today are nothing like they were back in my day.
Back then, a kid's party consisted of 2 glass bottles of 1 liter Fanta Orange, a bag of Nik Naks, some smarties and a few balloons. Some of those balloons even had Merry Christmas on them, but it didn't matter as long as you had your best friends with you.
We'd dress up in our Sunday best, polished shoes and neatly cut hair. We'd help our folks put up the ribbons and brightly coloured tissue paper across the dining room walls. Our friends would arrive armed with the coolest gifts like a coloring-in book which already had 2 pages done, plastic toy guns, left-over fireworks from the Diwali festival the month before, and the most awesome handmade birthday cards. Everybody got to play with your toys before the candles on the cake were even blown out, and by the time the cake was cut there wasn't a single working toy left. You didn't really care. You were just glad to break them with your friends anyways.

The party usually started just after lunch on Sunday and ended either by 5pm or when the Fanta was finished, whichever came first. Party-packs given out by our folks to all the kids that attended was a highlight not to be missed. Sure it was just a little packet with a Chomp, a matchbox of Sherbert and a sucker inside, but it was proof enough that you were one of the cool kids invited to the grandest parties in the neighborhood.

Did I mention that these parties were usually planned a day or two before the event?

Today it's like planning a wedding or the invasion of a small European country.
There's choosing the venue, then planning the color-scheme and theme, outfits, invites, food and snacks, magicians and jumping-castle's and pony's and and and ...
Suggest a small gathering at home with a few friends and a cake and you might as well go to bed with the dinosaurs.

There's the school party which is regarded as the Official Birthday Party, and then there's the Casual Birthday Party which is usually reserved for family and cousins and neighbors. You can't have one without the other, but just like the Queen, the Official Birthday Party is the one we have to make the most fuss over. If for no other reason, than because other school mom's will be judging and using your party as a yardstick for all future events.
Try pulling off a budget-kiddies-party and your kid will be regarded as having grown up in the projects or council homes, with her cards saying "Shame" instead of "Happy Birthday."
Good luck scoring an invite to other kids parties. You've officially relegated your entire family, and more especially your son or daughter, to a life of ridicule and pity.

Ok so maybe I'm making it sound more drastic than it really is.
The fact is that on the day, watching your little Princess running about with her friends knowing that this day is all about her, and having her smile and laugh and give you hugs and kisses as she thanks you for being so awesome, makes it all worthwhile.

Besides, in about 20 years time you get to do it on an even grander scale with even greater expense, while you hope to still get hugs and kisses and thank you's for being the best parents ever. Then she drives off with her new husband who thinks you're a knob.

Aah the joys of parenthood!