I am not a big fan of big birthday bashes. I prefer the quiet closeness of family. I am not a fan of the preparation involved in a big birthday party, I don't like the clean-up (the set-up is fun) or the fact that after all the invitations have all been sent out, there is always someone you forgot to invite and the guilt that follows when you realize it. I feel bad when people that may not have that much money feel as though they have to purchase a gift for our little guy when he doesn't really need any more toys (his imagination is amazing) and I don't need any more toys to clean-up.
However, this weekend my idea of big birthday parties began the change a bit. My dad had done some work for The Little Gym in Sandy and in exchange for payment, he offered to let Connor have his birthday party there. Then my dad proceeded to remind me of everyone I needed to invite (I hate this part of birthday planning.....if you invite one cousin, you have to invite them all, and if you invite one neighbor, they all have to come, and if you invite one acquaintance, you have to invite them all...you get the picture. This place had a cap on how many friends you could invite and I had already gone over. How do you explain to someone that "your kid couldn't come because I didn't think of him before I hit my 20 head count."
I got the list of names to The Little Gym and they sent out all the invitations! That was pretty cool, one less thing I had to do. Then it came time for the food. Luckily I had received a coupon for 1 dozen cupcakes from my cousin-in-law's wife (ha ha...figure that one out!)and she was willing to make a few dozen more. They turned out so perfect! I picked them up the morning of the party, headed to the Little Gym and this is where my feelings about parties totally began to change.
Once we arrived, the staff at the Little Gym took over and I just sat back and enjoyed the scene. As the kids arrived, they took them into the gym and let them go wild. And then intermitently they had planned activities that fit the attention span of most of the young kids there.
They took care of all the trash when Connor opened his gifts and they even wrote down who gave him what! Then they corralled the kids and took them into another room for the cupcakes(they provided the drinks and paper products) and the goodbyes by handing each kid a balloon as they left. My favorite part of all, they took care of the cleanup and took the presents and remaining cupcakes out to our car.
THIS is the way to have a birthday party!!! No fights to break-up, no kids to scold for being too rowdy (they can be as rambunctious as they want) no clean-up and no planning!!!