The Ridiculousness of the Toddler Party

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toddler birthdayYesterday we had a little party for my toddler. It was just a few people, a brunch, some Elmo ... you know, a typical 2-year-old birthday party. Even though we didn't go crazy, I'm still wondering why we bothered to do it at all. My son, after all, thought it was just another Sunday morning -- except with cake and an odd amount of accessories that included his favorite monster. 

Which leads me to believe that toddler birthday parties are completely unnecessary.

However, since he's the second child, I fear falling into the trap of the youngest child always getting the short end of the stick. His older sister just had a big blow-out event for her birthday, so forgoing a party altogether felt cruel. Granted, he isn't in school like she is, so he doesn't have the friend pool that she does. But somehow that argument for not having a birthday party just makes me sad instead of feeling off-the-hook for another kid celebration where we spend too much money on paper plates adorned with cartoon characters.

When we were discussing the boy's second birthday, we did go back and forth between a plan of just having his favorite dinner (pizza) and a cupcake (which he won't even eat) on his actual birthday after we all get home from work/school/day care. Or a weekend affair where we invite a few people over because, again, he has very few friends. My practical side lost the argument with my emotional side when I just couldn't let his birthday go by without some sort of overdone celebration.

Which means the party was all about me anyway. Not him. In fact, he was probably really confused since we sang "Happy Birthday" to him twice -- once on his real birthday, and once at his party. But I got to see some of my own friends who also happen to have kids, and I got an excuse to eat party food and create a specialty cocktail. He seemed to enjoy himself, but honestly, he would have regardless. He's always up for a good time if we have people over or not.

It's these same thoughts that always pop up when we get the hankering to take the kids to the zoo versus an afternoon in the backyard. To Disneyland, or not to Disneyland? Kids make their own fun, and special memories are not dependent on how much money you spend to entertain them. I realize this, and I try to embrace this as a practical parenting philosophy with some success. But who doesn't love a party?

Do you throw parties for your toddler?

birthday parties, cartoons, fun & games