After our boys were born, fall became known around our house as “The Birthday Time.” Sam’s birthday is in October, Jack’s is in November, and I think our cat’s birthday is sometime around there, too. (Note: We’ve never been able to get official documentation on that seeing as how Dickens was born in an alley to an unwed Calico and all.)
The Birthday Time hullabaloo actually begins for us at the end of summer when the boys start their long, involved discussions about what this year’s “birthday theme” will be for each of them. Apparently it’s not enough to turn another year older, get an armload of presents, eat your body weight in frosting and become The Most Important Person in the House for a day. No, you also have to have coordinated plates, cups, napkins and piñatas while you’re doing it.
Some of the boys’ birthday party themes over the years have included Dinosaurs, Airplanes, Baseball, Clowns and Spiderman. Basically, if the party store carries it and it’s not pink or covered in wedding bells, I’ve bought it. Of course, the main problem with having a theme is that you don’t know when to stop buying. After you get the basics, you then have to decide if you really need the plastic Batman tablecloth, too. And the Batman balloons. And the Batman gift bags. And the giant Batman banner. And how could you ever pass up the 10 foot-high cardboard cutout of Robin that shoots out yellow confetti and yells, “Holy Visa Bill, Batman!” Those party stores know a sucker when they see one.
Once the boys have finally reached the agonizing decision of what their theme will be, we then see if there’s any possible way to tie it into their party’s activity. This was easy when the theme was “Dinosaurs” and we could go to the Texas Memorial Museum, and it was also easy when the theme was “Animals” and we could go to the Austin Zoo. But the year Sam begged for a “Star Wars” theme, I was completely flummoxed as to what we could do to entertain ten little boys for an hour. In my desperation, I finally posted an ad on Craigslist looking for people to dress up as Darth Vadar and Luke Skywalker and battle each other. The good news was I got a lot of responses from people who like to play with light sabers. The bad news was I was pretty sure none of them were legally allowed around children’s birthday parties.
This year, the boys aren’t quite sure what their themes are going to be yet, and unfortunately, they aren’t too happy with my suggestions.
“Why would I want my theme to be Invisible Fun?” Sam whined. “That’s just weird, mommy.”
“No, it’s cool, Sam!” I told him. “We’ll just pretend we have decorations! We can even have a contest to see who can imagine the best goodie bags! I bet mommy wins!”
My birthday just so happens to be in the fall, too, but unfortunately it usually gets lost in the shuffle of the boys’ parties. That’s why I’m thinking that maybe this year, I should have my own theme, too. I guess I sort of had one when I turned 21, if “Nancy, Hold My Hair While I Puke” is considered a theme. And I also had one when I turned 40, if “It’s All Downhill from Here, Man” counts. But since neither one of those was very much fun, I’ve thought of a couple of other ideas for my big day.
Like how about I make my theme “Botox!”? The party entertainment would be a couple of friendly doctors holding needles, and I could decorate my house with pictures of Nicole Kidman’s forehead. Fun! Or maybe I should go another way and have my theme be “Wrinkles and Pimples and Stretch Marks, Oh, My!” and I’ll hand out goodie bags filled with face cream and extra-strength Xanax. At least that’s age-appropriate.
But the best idea I have for my birthday theme this year is something I’m calling “Heaven on Earth.” All it requires is a squad of maids, a few bottles of chardonnay and a a shirtless Daniel Craig mowing my lawn.
And I’m pretty sure I get all of that at the party store, right?
(A slightly different version of this appeared in the October issue of AustinWoman magazine.)
For the first time ever, The Mouthy Housewives has a Mouthy Man giving (some rather adult) advice! Don’t miss the fabulous Neil’s guest post! It must be good! I’m using exclamation points! Somebody stop me!!