(Birthday) Party Politics

In a few short weeks, we will soon have a four year old in the house.  He already acts much older than his current age because he has an older sister and, well he just doesn't act his age.  He has been reading for almost a year now so that alone makes him a bit more mature than many his age.  He hasn't had a birthday party ever since his 1st birthday when he practically cried the entire time.  We had a barbeque at our home complete with friends, family, music, and a nice buffet.  The theme then was Curious George.  He still cried.

This is the invitation he chose - $7.00 which was personalized by Etsy shop OMG! Candies & Events
with his photo (sample shown is not my son's actual invitation)

Last year we celebrated with just our immediate family with a trip to see "Day Out with Thomas" Pennsylvania.  He LOVED the entire experience.  We were able to keep it from him until Thomas rode across the tracts as we approached the train station.  Now that he's turning four, we decided to have another birthday party at a The Little Gym in Merrick.  A little less than a year ago, he took classes there and loved the entire experience.  The owners and staff were great with the kids, the venue was clean, and I even considered enrolling my son into the summer camp program.  By the time I was ready to enroll him in the summer program, classes were booked. 

I'm not sure if I'll do the cupcake topper thing.  For as much work as it takes putting them together, it kinda ticks me off to see them plucked out of the pastry and tossed on the table.
Planning a party can be stressful, even for me who loves to plan events.  Now that we have the venue, date, and theme we now have to work on the guest list.  This is where it gets political.  In my son's preschool class alone, there are 15 children.  The venue allows for up to 15 children before the pay per person rule kicks in.  Everybody knows that this can become very expensive.  I know from experience that not everyone from his class will attend the party.  Outside of the class, our personal friends have approximately 15 children amongst them who fall into the 2 year radius. 

How cute is this? 
What is that you ask?  A number of our friends have children who are 9+.  It probably doesn't make sense to invite them. If this were a home party, then everyone could come.  Unfortunately, we have decided to just include those children who are -2/+2 years our son's age.  Make sense?  It was proven today at another party, where the kids were 6-7 years old, that my son just isn't physically able to play with older children.  My fear is that some friends will be a little taken aback by the decision but I also hope that they will understand.  I don't expect my two children under 6 to be invited to the party of a child who is 10+ years older. This is a conversation I need to have with a few friends so I, nor they, will feel awkward going forward.  I think it's already happening on their end, but I'm cool with that.

He will be excited waking up to this on his bedroom wall.  Hmmm.... - $8.00
Another factor is deciding whether or not to extend and invitation to the sibling(s) of the birthday child's friends.  I'm okay with that.  When we have play dates, they usually happen in pairs.  Out of coincidence, we have at least three sets of friends who have children the same ages as mine. This is how we have arrived at our final guest list:

  • Guest list will include children from preschool and friends
  • Ages of the invited guests will be -2/+2 years from the birthday child (with a few exceptions)
  • The sibling of the invited guest, who should also be -2/+2 years the age of the birthday child
  • Guests should be children who the birthday child can call by name
I know for a fact that some personal friends won't make the guest list based on these bullet points and I'm very sorry for that. Really, I am.  I'm hoping that they will truly understand.  I would.

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