I share an anxious look with my daughter as the traffic shows no signs of moving and blame myself for venturing out shopping so late in the evening. Little Missy seems to be taking it in her stride, despite the long day she’s had at school followed by homework. And why not! His 11th birthday is in a few days. The adrenaline rush is strong enough to have her jumping from shop to shop, approving or disapproving of my trinket selections for the big day.
Organizing birthday parties is no mean feat these days. Who would have known that what started out as an ardent effort to throw a magical celebration of my toddler’s first birthday ten years ago would turn into a challenging and stressful mission.
On her first birthday, I threw a mega party, with the party hall transformed into a fairyland with giant cut-outs of Little Red Riding Hood and Snow White.
The next few birthdays were quieter affairs with the extended family until she was in kindergarten and the whole army of perky Lilliputians who studied with her were invited.
For his fifth, I risked losing my life and a limb trying to keep all the kids in sight as they ran through a soft play center.
In the following years, magicians with multiple sleight of hand, tattoo artists, nail art professionals, all appeared as well as the inflatable inflatable and a dream tent.
A few years later, I felt that I was done with outsourcing and had contributed more than my fair share to the party planning industry. So, bitten by the DIY bug, I decided to test my own gaming anchor skills even though I knew it meant running around the party room like a headless chicken, trying to keep the kids frantic under control.
The Lilliputians had now become pre-teens and could not be expected to sit quietly and think about life at the party. Creative games had to be designed to keep them engaged, for which I spent hours on Pinterest, researching ideas and making necessary props. I also made my husband repeatedly call the seller to deliver personalized return gifts on time, posing as a loan collector.
Afterwards, I was ready to quit the league of naturally artistic and unflappable parents who make throwing parties look like cake, but that didn’t stop me from going to ridiculous lengths to make every party better than the previous.
A week before her sixth birthday, one of her classmates’ mothers, a boutique owner, promised to design her the most beautiful evening dress. I rushed into her shop shortly after the conversation, daydreaming about the perfect outfit complimenting the decor I had envisioned, when I suddenly noticed the streets were eerily quiet. A curfew was due to be imposed within an hour as supporters of a self-proclaimed god-man had threatened to go on a rampage. However, I had embarked on this reckless expedition.
For its 11th this year, I aim to recreate the charm of our own childhood parties at home with a simple menu and games, and a scavenger hunt as the main attraction.
A few more years, and I hope she will soon be a haughty teenager, throwing her own private parties and not wanting adults and their party-planning skills! [email protected]
The writer is a freelance contributor based in Jalandhar