This week, I am Excited! Yes, with a CAPITAL E! For this is the first time I am organizing a birthday party! And no marks for guessing whose it is. Of course, it is my son’s. The kiddo’s turning 3 this Friday and I am running around deciding themes, ordering cakes, buying decors to suit the theme, planning menu and generally, excited! As you can see, my excitement stems from two factors here – the major one being this is S’s first birthday party, and the second of course this is my first birthday party as a planner. So for the past couple of days, all my waking hours have been consumed by making and remaking lists, all my discussions with the husband have centered around what menu should we decide on and what cake we must order.
A birthday party is a novelty in our family. I stopped celebrating my birthdays with parties as my… I guess 4th or 5th standard… I don’t even remember. I never have felt a regret for not hosting a party, for birthdays for me meant a valuable (not necessarily costly) gift from my parents, and a happy lunch at home with my friends invited over. It was the same through my school and college days, and when I started working, the usual workplace ritual of cake cutting by the team followed by a treat at the office food court ensued. The most memorable gift ever for me has been my set of 5 books of “Tell Me How”. I had it until recently when I gave it away to a younger cousin. Most of my birthday gifts have been books. Although, I absolutely loved the teddy bears and stuffed dolls given by my friends when I turned 25 (Yes, I had my first teddy at 25 and the ones who gave me these were all male friends!). I had no taste for a party ever in my life and didn’t pester my parents much after my sixth standard for one.
The same has been the case with my husband too. He too had and has and believes in having simple birthdays. A little kheer made at home, an archana performed at the temple in his name, and a smiling happy birthday wish in the morning. That, he says, is enough for him. Has always been.
When S’s first birthday approached, we debated a lot over whether to celebrate a gala first birthday or not. All around us we see people booking halls, engaging caterers and inviting hundreds to birthday parties of 1 year olds. More often than not, the birthday baby becomes petrified at the sight of the crowd and music and ends up crying or sleeping through the party. Or even if it stays awake and enjoys, I seriously doubt whether it understands what the hullabaloo is all about. Therefore we decided to not tread the grand route, and kept it simple. It helped that that year, S’s birthday fell on Diwali eve. So my parents were anyway here, so were my in-laws and we just invited another relative and her family living in the town and one neighbour. That’s all. A small half kg cake from the nearby Bangalore Iyengar bakery and a juice, followed by a family dinner. It was a simple affair. Oh yes, and we had arranged for special lunch for children at an orphanage in Chennai on the same day. That was about it.
Last year, when S turned two, we had just returned from loads of celebrations in my brother’s wedding. All of us were tired, and we still were not sure S understood what a birthday meant. So we decided to give it a pass again. We visited the temple in the morning and had an archana performed. In the evening it was a quiet dinner at a chinese place, with a small black forest cake for the toddler. He was scott happy to wander all over the restaurant and loved the momos and spring rolls. We bought him a small toy for a present and that was about it again.
This year is a different story. By now S knows there is something called a birthday (whether he knows the meaning, I don’t think so). And on that day people distribute chocolates and cut cakes. And now he has started socializing with other kids. He has made friends, remembers them and is happy to be with them. So this year we have decided to host a party for it is a good opportunity for him to play and have fun with other kids.
And so the preparations are on! Thomas Engine theme it is, for my son loves trains as crazy! I just went ahead and bought Thomas themed plates, cups, caps, table cloth, even tissues! The return gifts have been bought and menu finalized. Now I am eagerly waiting for Friday to arrive, when we will bring out all the decorations and the goodies, and all the invitees will saunter in one be one in the evening. Excited, to see how S will react! Hope he enjoys. Hope he is in a good mood. Hope everything goes well… Oh my I am getting all jittery! Wish me luck, folks!