My son turned four this past fall. After attending a few birthday parties at Bounce U and Monkey Joes, my husband and I decided to have a simple, low-key, old-school backyard birthday party. In my head? I pictured dizzy bat races and pin the tail on the donkey. Hot dogs on the grill and cold beers in our hands. A few friends and a few neighbors. The key word? “Simple.”
My son informed me that he wanted a “Super Hero” birthday party. Having never seen Batman, Spiderman, or any of The Avengers, I’m not sure how he knows about superheroes. But, hey! It’s his birthday. Why not? Like any mother with the occasional three minutes to herself, I took to Pinterest to help me plan. That was probably my first mistake. The second? Distributing invitations to his entire pre-school class. Really, we had no choice. He told us he wanted his friends from school to come – and couldn’t name a single one. We need to work on that…
As I sat down to execute this Pinterest planned birthday party (so much easier when you’re just clicking “Pin”), streams of thoughts flooded my mind. I started doing that thing where you craft the witty facebook post that you don’t actually post. (Everyone else does that – right?) And then I thought – I should just keep a log of these. Why take to social media with ONE post when I can share ALL of them. I can’t be the only mom struggling to execute a Pinterest influenced birthday party. Maybe you can commiserate…
Scene 1: Making Superhero Capes & Masks
[The scene: my dining room table. Surrounded by plastic tablecloths in assorted colors, elastic, construction paper, foam sheets, scissors, hot glue… You get the idea.]
Me: Ok. I got this. Thanks for the ideas, Pinterest. I have one day off. The baby? Currently napping. Superhero birthday party – let’s do this.
Me: First—capes. Thank you YouTube for the handy video tutorial. Wait. There’s no audio! I get it. You fold the table cloth in half. And then a bunch more times. I’m doing exactly what you are doing. Why is mine a completely different shape?? Maybe the tutorial shows the dimension of the table cloth they are using… No?! What the heck?!?!
Me: That is one sweet looking Batman mask. Not gonna lie. I’m pretty awesome at this. Those college art classes really paid off. Why does Captain America’s mask have wings on it? Do paint pens ever work when you need them to? Why do I have paint pens stashed in my closet? When exactly is the last time I “crafted”? That might explain why the pens don’t work.
Me: What does The Flash even look like? Who is The Flash? What if none of them want to be The Flash? What if they all fight over Spiderman and Captain America?! This could be a pre-school throwdown…
Me: Have I seriously spent three hours making costumes for a birthday party? What is wrong with me? This could be prime napping time. I should be folding laundry… I really AM Alison from Orphan Black. That show is phenomenal… I can’t wait for the next season.
Scene 2: STILL Making Superhero Capes & Masks
[The scene: Me staring at a laptop screen trying to free-hand copy an image of (insert superhero name here)’s mask]
Me: How on earth did people plan birthday parties before the internet? Without Google? These kids would have ears taped to the tops of their heads or a letter A on their forehead. How did my mother plan my parties?? I should call her and thank her. Then again – if I didn’t have Pinterest to inspire me – would I even be struggling to do all this? Or would I just bake a cake and watch backyard chaos ensue? It’s going to be chaos anyway… now just with costumes.
Me: Who actually came up with these ideas in the first place? What parent said, “I’m going to design and upload a stencil of a hulk mask to the world wide web!”? They deserve some props. Because my attempt at designing my own “incredible hulk shorts” is a bit of a failure. I would never make it on Project Runway…
Me: Why do I care so much?? Why am I killing myself over this?? What is wrong with me???
[The scene: My son comes home from school and sees the collection of masks I’ve spent the better part of the day making. I need to size the elastic on his head. With each mask he gets more and more excited.]
My son (out loud): “Mom! These are the COOLEST masks EVER!”
Me: Worth it.
Scene 3: Researching Birthday Cakes
Me: I don’t think it’s fair to post cake ideas to Pinterest if you didn’t actually make the cake. Or maybe everyone can do a perfect 4-tiered fondant frosted cake and I just missed that day in Home Ec. Does fondant even taste good? Maybe I could figure out how to do that… It looks so pretty. I’m insane. No. No.
Me: I could just order a cake. The ones at Whole Foods are insanely good. No. I must make the birthday cake—from scratch. Why?!? Why am I okay catering all the food, but it is unacceptable to order a cake? Maybe I can blame my mother…
Scene 4: Making the Birthday Cake
[Scene: I’m standing on a step stool, wrist contorted at an exceptionally uncomfortable angle, attempting to make frosting come from the much-more-expensive (but supposedly easy-to-use) prepared frosting can. Because homemade buttercream would be wasted on kids…]
Me: Ow. OW. OW. My index finger was not made to apply pressure like this! I’m so glad this is only a 9” round… I don’t think I could make it through a sheet cake… Ok, that mostly looks like a star. Not bad. I mean, it looks fine.
[Scene: Husband seeing the “adult” chocolate cake that I decorated with yellow sprinkles. That suggests Batman. Right?!]
Husband (out loud): I could make a Batman Lego figurine and put it on a pedestal in the center…
Me: You are my perfect match.