Sunday, June 29, 2014

Birthdays and Comfort Zones

Every year, the twins' birthdays have been a combined and small family celebration without much fan fare. Even our fake birthday party last year was home-made. But this year, with the twins in separate school and turning 7, we decided that it was time that they had something with their friends, with a modicum of fuss.

We told them that turning 7 meant they could invite 7 friends. We were quite adamant that they only invited the friends that mattered. We didn't want the party so big that they had no idea who was there and couldn't play with everyone. Furthermore, 7 friends x 2 children plus cousins and neighbours meant that our house would burst at the seams if we even attempted to fit everyone in. On top of that 20 of them would be children hyped on sugar. There, germinated the idea of holding it out of our home.

Both Jordan and Evan have been roller blading a lot recently and that led us to decide that ice skating was the way to go. After all, that fit into Jordan's latest Frozen craze and Evan's fascination with ice.

It would be their first party, since they were a month old, to be held at a public venue and Packrat and I had 3 days, after returning from Phuket, to pull it off. Packrat kept reminding me that at the end of the day, all that was important was that everyone, especially the twins had fun. It didn't necessarily have to be extravagant. In fact, he was very much against extravagant so we tried to keep it simple.

We made sure we had the most important things.

1. Cake and food.
My super duper sister-in-law got store bought cakes and dressed them up considerably. Toppers with black candles for Evan  and sparkler ones for Jordan. We had grand ambitions on making or ordering pizza for the children for lunch. Unfortunately, with 3 days and too much running around to do, the pizzas became simple home made sausage rolls supplemented with fast food (against every fibre in my body!). Thank goodness for good cake!

2. Friends.
We were worried about holding the twins' birthday during the holidays. There was a chance that their friends would not be in town and true enough some were. Anyway, the ones that showed up really made it special for the twins. The shenanigans, the laughter and clowning around were all endearing to watch. They skated holding hands, pushed each other around on seals, attempted to make snow balls, photobombed each other and chased each other around the rink. If not for the fact that it was lunch time, they would have stayed on the ice longer. Even with that, the minute Evan and his friend were full, they ducked out back onto the ice.

3. Family
Because we managed to keep the numbers relatively manageable and because the staff at The Rink were always on hand and extremely helpful and vigilant, Packrat and I managed to steal some time on the ice so that we could hang with the twins and Muffin. This we were completely thankful for. Unlike our wedding and to some extent all three kids' first month parties, we actually had time for what mattered the most.

4. Thankful hearts.
It isn't every day that the twins voluntarily show gratitude, much of it still has to be prompted. So when Jordan picked up a marker and started drawing out a thank you note to her friends, I was much touched. As expected of a child of her generation, she requested for me to photograph her thank you note and send it to all her friends. I willingly obliged.

We were thankful too. We were thankful that everyone had loads of fun. We were thankful that their friends helped make it special for them. We were thankful that the venue we picked had staff who made things easy for us. We were so thankful for the experience that perhaps next year we may even dare to do it again.

On a side note, I cannot believe that the little ones who could share one bassinet at the hospital are 7 now.


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