Birthday Plans

It’s time to start getting ready for V’s second birthday. At first I planned on just driving to Socal and having a party with family. It would be a good opportunity for extended family to meet Baby A as well. We’ve been invited to a ton of toddler parties this year for her playgroup, and now I’m itching to do one for V. I read that if you ask a three year old about their second birthday they can actually remember it. This really makes me want to do a fun party for just V and her friends.

One party we went to had the whole backyard done up special just for the kids. The mom obtained several kiddie pools and filled them each with something different: plastic balls, inflatable toys and sand. There was also a low table for the kids with butcher paper they could color. She made a cake for him herself, complete with fondant frosting, in the shape of a whale. I really liked the idea of changing the normal environment, because at this age the kids are mostly doing parallel play. It’s not like we can do regular birthday games or anything yet.

So what to do? My husband wanted to rent a giant inflatable slide, but I told him that would likely be really expensive. He asked around at work, and his coworkers laughed when he said that $300 was a bit pricey for a kid’s birthday. Apparently these things tend to cost a lot. I didn’t want to go overboard.

A friend of mine suggested the table with butcher paper as a cheaper alternative, so I started looking for a table. Costco had a great one but it was no longer being carried in the store. I began checking Craigslist. Pretty soon I found a table available and a playing cube for $50. Now let me say that I’ve been looking for outdoor play equipment for V all summer. Specifically, I’ve been looking for stuff that will last over several age ranges (houses, larger climbing structures, etc.). The Little Tikes play cube had been at the top of my list, but every time I located one someone else had gotten to it first. This guy had one, but it looked to be the smaller version that was only good for toddlers, not larger kids. Still, $50 wasn’t a bad price to pay for both items. I sent my poor husband on a long drive to collect.

On a whim, I also checked for used sandboxes. Again, I’ve been poking around all summer for something, though I wasn’t sure I wanted something that messy. I definitely wanted something with a lid, and I didn’t want to spend a ton of money. I found one shaped like a tugboat for $30 and the owner was willing to do local delivery. I sent her an email and laid down for a nap. She called me back and informed me that delivery would be an additional $10. I was hesitant. Forty isn’t a ton but it’s getting closer to the $60 I could pay for something new. They had several other offers, and I could believe it, so I didn’t want to tell her I needed time to think about it. I told her to bring it over.

Immediately I had buyer’s remorse. I looked online at pictures of the item and couldn’t find any with actual kids inside. The thing seemed so small. I almost called her back and told her to forget it, but was afraid it was already loaded up. That would be rude. When her husband arrived with the boat I was busy nursing so my husband took care of the transaction. He came back into the house and asked me to “please stop buying such huge things.”

“It’s big?”

“Huge! I could barely get it in the gate.”

“Really? Great! I was afraid it would be too small.”

“You could have the whole party in that thing.”

I went outside to look. Being busy with the two kids, I hadn’t had a chance to look at the cube or table yet either. To my surprise, the cube was the full-sized model I’d been looking for! And he was right- the tugboat was huge! Looks like we got a good bargain on all that stuff after all.

Pictures like this make it look small. The thing is like five feet long or more.

Next I wanted to hit up the party store for some themed and cups. V is an absolute addict of the show, so I wanted to have some Sesame Street stuff. I also got some little things for gift bags, but it’s really hard to find toddler-appropriate items. I ended up getting small packs of crayons, play-dough, bracelets, and toys. I spent about $50 between two locations, but about $10 of that was on dollar toys for V (dollar bins are awesome).

The last thing I need to do is order a cake. I’d like it to have Elmo on it, or at least be Sesame Street themed. I have no idea how much that is going to cost, but I plan on getting one through our supermarket.

So far that’s $140 total on this party, though technically $90 of that is on permanent gifts for V (cube/boat/table) that I wanted to get regardless of the party.


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