It was my youngest daughter’s second birthday earlier this month and usually birthdays around here are small affairs where only the family gather for dinner and a cake, and presents.
This year I decided to do a little something different and throw a “birthday party” for Z mainly because she is about to become middle child in a few weeks, and I wanted to do something special to make her feel well, special.
As I planned the birthday I realised that I wanted it to be more about enjoying the company of our nearest and dearest, and for it to be an enjoyable day for the children.
Also, I really didn’t want to do the ‘typical’ birthday things.
For example, I didn’t want presents.
My lovely friends and family still did gift the girls presents, which I wasn’t going to be annoying about. And I say ‘girls’ because they were gifts that both the girls could enjoy and use. We gift things to people because we love them, and this is a beautiful trait. My logic behind requesting no gifts was because I didn’t want the girls to expect present after present, which they would begin to not appreciate. I also didn’t want this day to be about an exchange of gifts, I wanted it to be a day to enjoy each other’s company…
I also did not want party bags. You know the ones filled with junk food, lollies and cheap plastic toys. Instead I decided to organise some arts and crafts so that the kids could:
- Be entertained, rather than go crazy with all the toys that we had (which happened anyway.)
- They’d have something to take home in lieu of party bags.
- It would get their creative juices flowing (but I think it was the adults who got more creativity out of this than the kids lol).
I also really did not want to do the whole ‘dessert table’/’grazing table’ that is trending at parties these days. I didn’t want the big floral backdrop to take photos with. I just wanted to bring out the sweets when the time came, and have a moment to bring out the cake, candles lit and everyone singing ‘happy birthday’ like we did in the good old ’90s.
My reasons for not doing a dessert table/grazing table:
- I didn’t want my children’s eyes to become accustomed to a table overflowing with lolly jars, cakes, towers of sweets and so on. I felt that this would simply promote greediness and extravagance from a young age.
- My aim for this party was to keep it simple and a table with a backdrop seems over the top and unnecessary for a two year old.
- I didn’t want a backdrop to take photos with, because it’s actually kind of weird to have people lining up to take photos in front of it. I didn’t want the children to see and engage in this form of ‘selfie’ (ahem, narcissistic behaviour). If we were taking photos, it would simply be a natural part of the day.
- What the hell is with the ‘grazing table’ anyway? Are we field animals that simply ‘graze’ lazily on food? Again, it’s just too extravagant and sends the wrong message to our children about what is acceptable eating behaviour.
I still wanted it to be beautiful, because it is a way of honouring our guests. So I bought some flowers (stock) from the local farmer’s market, and we trimmed down some foliage hanging over my back fence and hung it around. I also couldn’t resist buying these plates from Lark Store because they are just gorgeous.
The day before, my eldest daughter J, and I had some fun making some desserts. We made blueberry and cream and strawberry and cream popsicles, and butter cookies dipped in chocolate decorated with some sprinkles.
Here are the recipes we used:
Blueberry and Cream Popsicles (just replace the blueberries with strawberries)
Butter Cookies (we simply melted some chocolate, dipped the cookies in it once they were cooked and cooled, then sprinkled them with some pink sprinkles).
As for the crafts, we made wands and pipe cleaner crowns. For the wands, I cut out some star shapes the day before and got the kids to collect some sticks from the park with their father. The children simply painted the stars with glitter paint, attached ribbons to the sticks then stuck the stars on.
For the pipe cleaner crowns, we used this tutorial, and got creative with some fake wire flowers and ribbon.
All in all, it was a lovely day, reconnecting with friends and family and having the children to reconnect with each other as well. When I asked my eldest what she loved most about her day, she said, “playing with my friends, making the wands and eating the popsicles…” In that order lol.
Here are a few more pics from the day…
Pictures by my sister Subhi Bora.