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.


4 thoughts on “Birthdays

  1. What a fantastic way to celebrate a two year old’s birthday. You would relate to one of my poems in Grandma’s Poetry Book ‘Amy’s Party’ written after her second birthday party. You have all those joys to come. I have seen how the parties these days have become big affairs and your view of one upstaging the other is all too common. I am pleased to say my daughters have not fallen into that trap but one does have a big enough garden for a Bouncy Castle – certainly cheaper than some ways of celebrating.


  2. This post could have an articulate version of me writing this. Couldn’t agree more with you about the farce it is to arrange a small persons birthday party. It’s totally all about keeping up with the Jones’. The girls first birthday was low key just immediate family. I didn’t the stress of anything more. It totally takes away the essence of the actual reason your celebrating. Yet again another great post. We love the zoo too. Took Matt there for his birthday before the twins arrived. He was a big kid for the day. It’s all about our little family’s and like you say creating your memories. You don’t need someone there you don’t care about lodged in those spaces. Good for you. Huge respect! Xxxxx


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