Thursday, August 23, 2012

The most exciting birthday party in the history of the world

Max has been talking about his birthday party for a good month now. When I come home from work, it's the first thing we discuss; on the weekend, we go over plans every couple of hours. He's let me know exactly what he wants, and likes me to repeat exactly how the party will play out:

• We will have the party at the same kids' art studio it was held in last year
• It will be a Cars 2 party
• There will be a Cars 2 ice-cream cake with both chocolate and vanilla ice-cream
• There will be purple cups
• He will drink lots and lots of chocolate milk
• Mommy will have iced coffee, Daddy will have hot coffee, Sabrina will have lemonade
• Nobody will sing "Happy Birthday" (evidently, he remains traumatized by that).

And every time I'm done, Max flashes me this huge smile and says "Eee-yah!"

Thing is, Max's birthday isn't until December. He's aware of that, but no matter: He has plans to make. And so, I've been leading the conversational equivalent of that movie Groundhog Day.

This weekend, we were at the drugstore and he begged me to buy him a Cars birthday bag. It cost approximately $199 because it came pre-filled with red tissue paper and a bottle of Dom Perignon had curlicue ribbon dangling off it. Well, OK, there was no champagne but for the price there should have been. The second we got home, Max tossed the tissue paper and ribbon, and when he wasn't looking I salvaged them from the garbage and please don't think less of me if you get a gift from me wrapped in very wrinkled tissue paper and curlicue ribbons anytime in the near future. As the saying goes, reduce, reuse and resist the temptation to give in to your child's Cars/birthday whims.

The bag's been sitting on our kitchen table ever since, next to the purple plate and cup that have been there since the beginning of time, or at least since the start of his purple obsession (now three years, and going strong). Lightning McQueen and plastic tableware are probably not Martha Stewart's idea of a lovely place setting, but at this point I've stopped noticing them.

Granted, a birthday party fixation is easier to handle than trotting after your child as he repeatedly wheels a luggage cart around an underground garage. It is way cheaper than a car wash obsession. It is far less fattening than regularly serving up spaghetti. And, really, I should be grateful he's not asking for anything really out there, like a naked woman jumping out of a cake or something.

Still, I'm getting a wee bit weary of birthday party discussions. There is no party planner you can hire who will repeat "You will have a Cars 2 ice-cream cake with both chocolate and vanilla ice-cream!" 500 times to your child.

But hearing it is comforting to Max and makes him content.

And so, for the next three months, you can guess what we will be discussing in our house.


  1. Ellen, this cracks me up! Reid did not tell me what he wanted for his party last year, but I knew what he loved and planned what he thought was a super fun time with art, music, and gym.

    So just last week (his birthday was over 2 months ago and we haven't talked about it since the end of June) we were talking about what kindergarten school would be like.

    I told him the first day he'd have art, the second he'd have music. Before I could continue, he told me that the third thing would be gym, the fourth would be sing happy birthday, and the fifth would be eat cake. :)

    At least we can rest assured we planned parties the kids loved and remember always!

    Here's hoping the number of times you have to repeat yourself lessens but the excitement stays the same.

  2. Oh, I can relate! E talks constantly about Christmas. Every morning he asks, "Is it Christmas tomorrow?"

    I don't know why he would think that. It's not like I leave the decorations up all year just to confuse him. But like you said, I think he finds it soothing. I guess we should be happy that our kiddos are looking forward to the future - and starting to understand the concept of a future...and we should drink more wine.

  3. Too bad it didn't come with champagne; it might have come in handy with all that party talk going on (wink, wink!)!

  4. I am so glad this is not just my house. Aa has been obsessively "reading" the PartyExpress and Oriental Trading catalogs for six months, trying to decide on his party theme and to convince me that we need pirate swords for all the guests (regardless of the theme - and no, we are not getting any swords). Thank goodness his birthday is finally next week (though the big party won't be until later in September). I'm about to lose my mind discussing this with him every day.

  5. Oh Ellen, I'd be happy to be the party planner to tell your son "yes you can have a cars 2 cake with chocolate & vanilla ice cream". My son is in awe of Max (he's six months older but we didn't do a party this year--too complicated as he's a summer baby and had to switch school districts again due to placement availability. the boy talked his ESY teacher into throwing him a mini party in school this summer--but never said anything to me :( I'd have happily sent in treats to his class. )

    Heck I'll even give you our FaceTime information or send a video of my son answering Max's questions about his party. They can talk iPad to iPad. My little guy is quite a Cars/Cars2 aficionado and has created the obsession in at least one 3 year old and a couple of 2 year olds.

    Oh and someone recently gave my son the idea of celebrating his half birthday at school since it would be in January. So he's been thinking about what he could plan, but wants to wait until he meets his new classmates so he knows what would work best...

  6. Have you made a countdown calender/ chart? That may help. Also you could program what a party planner could say into his Ipad

  7. That is brilliant!
    I love it.

    I have a blue and Winnie The Pooh obsessed 5 year old and she has similar 'strong' views on her birthday parties, including that all the guests had to wear a blue top (thankfully she only wanted 4 people, and they know us well enough to indulge her).

    But at least you won't ever forget what he wanted!

  8. Hey Ellen,
    Maybe make him a social story with photos of all the elements from his party and simple words to read. This way he can review all his plans at his leisure, leaving more time for yours.

  9. Is there a way you can put that on his iPad? A button that has a birthday cake on it, and Max presses it and hears you say "You will have a Cars 2 ice-cream cake with both chocolate and vanilla ice-cream!" Next time he asks, tell him to check the iPad and see what it says!


Thanks for sharing!

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