Prepping the night before your child’s birthday is the cramming for finals of adulthood.
I don’t know exactly how it happened, but I broke one of my cardinal rules of birthday parties: Never agree to a theme until you have checked the availability of party supplies.
Honestly, I NEVER give the thumbs up until I have done some research. But this year, it seemed like Ninjago was everywhere. I assumed that the same licensing that was putting it on my son’s radar to begin with was the same licensing cartel that runs the party supplies. I. Was. Wrong.
Now, there are a zillion cute DIY Lego/Ninjago ideas on Pinterest, but this year we were going to do whatever we could to keep it simple. It is darn cute to see colored plates glued onto tablecloths like big Lego bricks and who wouldn’t want to just glue some free printable eyes on a plate for an easy ninja? But I was determined to let this year be the year that the K.I.S.S.* method was our motto.
So I started looking into outsourcing options and interweb nooks and crannies for time and sanity saving solutions. I then thought, “Well, I’m spending so much time researching, I might as well just print some eyes and glue them on a plate.”
That’s how it all started. Then came the paper ninja stars I recruited my daughter to make. Before long, I thought, “These shapes are so simple, I should just make a cute crochet mask - it will be fun for the party!”
Seriously. I thought that would be no big deal. The first couple were fun, but then the enthusiasm petered off. After making a few I couldn’t stop because it wouldn’t be fair if some kids didn’t get them and I didn’t want to throw in the towel because I didn’t want to waste the ones I’d made.
So I just kept crocheting, just kept crocheting, just kept crocheting. And I got the masks done - but the other DIY stuff was still a #wip.
As I was hovering over my plates and tablecloths on the living room floor tonigh with the glue in hand I realized the familiarity of the adrenaline, expectation, nerves, anxiety and faltering hope I was feeling.
Prepping the night before your child’s birthday is the cramming for finals of adulthood. So much culminates with this moment. It doesn’t matter how much you have or have not done, it will all come down to a couple of crucial hours tomorrow. And the day itself will be such a rush of activity that you will just be in the moment. But the night before portends excitement and calamity. As if somehow, each additional detail on the cake, trinket in the goody bag or bit of streamer could be the deciding factor.
I know this is irrational and I know that no one is grading, but I’m not discouraged by how over-the-top I am with birthdays (probably to a fault). I remember hearing research about whether reading baby books makes you a better parent and the researchers thought it was more likely that parents who care enough to read baby books possess the same qualities that will make them good parents. So I will take my night-before tension as an indication that even if it is ridiculous (and far from perfect) the fact that I’m anxious shows that I care.
It’s the night before the party, the glue is still drying in the plate/eye combos, but I think we got it all. I’m feeling good and ready for all that tomorrow brings.
Even so - I’m pretty sure we’ll try to avoid a DIY party next year.
*Keep It Simple, Stupid - thanks Mr. Peterson for teaching me that one.