This past weekend, we celebrated Isabella’s 7th birthday with her first-ever, tried-and-true birthday party. And a party it was.
Some parents are shocked that I managed to wait 7 years before hosting a birthday party. We’ve always celebrated with family but never with Isabella’s friends. She never really cared until now, to be honest. But this year, she was dying to have one. And of course she wanted to have it at one of those overpriced warehouses filled with inflatable “jumpy things.” I’ve accompanied Isabella to several parties of the jumpy variety, and she had a blast at all of them, but I wasn’t about to pay $300 just to spend an hour cringing at every head-on collision. I wanted her to have a party the old-school way, the way I remembered parties from my childhood… inside the home, giggling with girlfriends, dancing to whatever boy band is popular. You know, real character-building stuff.
So Isabella invited 14 girls. (No boys allowed!) Of the 14, 8 of them RSVP’d, but 11 showed up. Some of the parents stayed and I had a friend helping me. So that means, including me and Isabella, we had 19 people stuffed into my tiny apartment. Good times.
Here were the highlights of the night:
1. The screaming. Oh, the screaming. It started the moment the party began and continued all night, and then rang in my ears for the following 24 hours. The girls would all be hanging out in the living room and then one of them would shout, “Let’s go to Isabella’s room!” And instead of replying with, “Hey, yeah, let’s do that,” all 11 girls would simultaneously scream at the top of their lungs and then run into her room. About five minutes later, I’d hear screaming again, so I knew that they’d decided to do something new.
2. The hamster. I never thought I’d feel sorry for stupid Honey the Hamster, but that night I did. He had never been handled more in his life. The girls were literally fighting over him. I had to break up a few fights before punches were thrown. If they weren’t holding him, they were surrounding his cage—shaking it or taking it apart. At one point I think I actually saw Honey in the air, being tossed from one girl to the next. How he survived that night I’ll never know. (But ever since then, he’s made multiple attempts to escape his cage. Is it because the girls gave him a taste of freedom, or is he trying to escape this crazy place before he’s manhandled again? Hmmm…)
3. The food. Isabella really wanted tacos, despite my futile attempts to convince her to order pizza. (”Everyone gets pizza for their party, Mom. I want something different.” Well, la-dee-da.) I had enough ingredients for 20 tacos, crossing my fingers that 20 would even be enough. But as I stood at the crock pot to serve the taco meat, I had only a couple of customers. The rest of the girls wanted shells filled with just cheese and sour cream (my apologies to their parents), or they’d skip over the taco part altogether and opt for grapes and carrots alone. No one told me that kids don’t eat at birthday parties. It was cute, however, when one of them would come up to me and say something like, “Um, um, Isabella’s mom? Um, can-can-can I, um, can I, um, have some more grapes?” I was called Isabella’s Mom all night.
4. The boy. More specifically, Justin Bieber. Have you heard of this guy? He’s 15 years old, kind of pudgy, and he sings like a girl. (In fact, the first few times I heard him on the radio I thought he was a girl.) But the grade-schoolers LOVE HIM. Isabella has his CD, and as soon as she pressed play at the party—you guessed it—screaming. Nonstop.
By the time the party ended (just two hours after it began), my kitchen was a disaster, the living room was covered with wrapping paper, and every single floor in the house was littered with Honey the Hamster’s cage bedding and poop pellets. My head hurt, I was dreading the impending doom that is Cleanup, and I couldn’t keep my eyes open.
But I had one happy 7-year-old girl. And that made it all worthwhile.