It was my son’s 2nd birthday last week and, having glossed over the prospect of a gathering for his 1st, we suddenly felt the pressures of the ‘toddler party’ this time around. You may wince when I mention this if, like us, you have spent any time enduring ‘jelly and ice-cream’ occasions.
I don’t wish to sounds like a miser, but arranging such gatherings for children so small seem to be mainly at the benefit of the adults. Each party we have attended amongst our circle of friends appears to have simply been an exercise in upstaging the one before it.
We did consider this option for a while but, in addition to our usual friends, were we also supposed to invite the neighbours? My sons ‘pre-school teacher? His nursery ‘friends’? Not to mention anyone else that has had contact with us that would be offended if we didn’t ask??
Having decided we didn’t have the time, money or energy to arrange a party to supervise other children (and some adults), we embraced the fact that this would be the last Birthday where we had control and took him to the Zoo -because I firmly believe that this day should be about my son. And, aside from balancing objects on his head, my son’s favourite things in the world are animals.
He opened his presents, we packed a picnic and headed to Chester Zoo. The day was brilliant and he had so much fun pointing at, and mimicking, all the different animals (his favourite of all were the monkeys). My least favourite part of the day was when a bat in the bat-cave flew into my head, but we soon forgot about that when we all shared ice-cream.
Ultimately, my son is 2 years old and at an age where he doesn’t understand whether we had spent £200 on a party or wrapped him up a cardboard box to play with. That will come next year and every year thereafter. So we spent the stress-free day together as a family, creating memories. That is all that matters.