Monday, February 25, 2013

Birthday Parties and the Appropriateness of Age-Appropriateness



I'm pretty sure I had already started planning Samantha's birthday party by this time last year.  I had an idea in my head and just went with it.  And, because I was the Great Crafty Pretender, I had to start early in order to actually attempt to pull it off.  I say it over and over again - I am not crafty, but I like to pretend to be.  What takes a truly crafty person just hours to put together takes me several months of agonizing planning and execution. 

This year, I have absolutely no idea what to do for Samantha's birthday party.  She'll be turning 7.  Such a big age!  SEVEN.  A little lady.  Growing up fast.  And, to be honest, while she has several interests that could probably be turned into a birthday party theme, I fell like they're too young for her age. 

I know, I know, go with what makes her happy. 

But I'll be inviting her whole class this year, and I'm terrified if I do one of the 3 things she wants, she'll come across as babyish. 

I know it's not like those kids don't already know her.  I know!  But still...

I asked her what she wants to do.  She said she wants the theme to be Evie and Mr. Cuddles from the cartoon, Mike the Knight.  It's on Nick Jr., and is, in my opinion, definitely geared more towards preschool.  And while she doesn't actually watch it all that much anymore, she loves the title character's little sister, Evie and her pet frog.  It would be sort of a medieval theme, which would be fun to put together, but anyone familiar with the show would know...

I asked her to pick something else, and she said DW from the show, Arthur.  Even though Arthur is a 3rd grader and the show is definitely geared towards a slightly older audience, the title character's little sister, DW, is in preschool.

*sigh*

"Samantha, what about cats?  Want to have a cat birthday party?" 

"No, just Evie and Mr. Cuddles."

I know that cats are super-easy to pull together as a theme.  Oh, man, how simple my planning and crafting would be!!  And how age-appropriate kitty cats always are! 

And Mike the Knight is not yet mainstream enough to find stuff at Party City for (which is okay, because I'd rather wing it than buy commercially anyway - The Great Crafty Pretender, remember?), and both Evie and DW are such minor characters in the grand scheme of things that I'd never find enough pictures or other stuff of them to create a theme around. 

I suggested everything.  Well, except Curious George, for the same preschool concerns, even though she loves that, too.  I just never brought it up as an option.

What would you do?

16 comments:

Lisa said...

Ah that is tough! I'm always afraid to ask those open ended questions for that exact reason. Maybe you should just push another color inspired party! I think that was a fabulous idea.

Anna Theurer said...

Becca, this is rather complicated. What if, you did not do a theme? Choose a color scheme and go with that?I know, not as much fun as Arthur but it may solve your dilemma. Then, for a family dinner, do that Arthur or Evie & Mr. Cuddles theme. You want her to have what she wants, but you do not want her teased. I get it :-/

Holly said...

Is the party for Sammy's birthday? Then do what Sammy wants.

krlr said...

No reason you can't do a medievel theme! 7 year old girls still LOVE princess stuff and give some foam swords to 7 year old boys and you won't need any other games (exceapt maybe some space for them to run &, um, maybe some eye googles). You can tell Sammi it's Mike the Knight, the other kids just see knights & princesses. Plus, tulle is cheap! The girls could make their own pointy princess hats while the boys run around trying to impale each other. And there's this, which I'd seen but completely forgot about till *after* our own recent princess party: http://www.birthdayexpress.com/Coloring-Castle/43122/PartyItemDetail.aspx

Target has a version too, or you could just do DIY butcher block paper so the kids could take theirs home.

Also, in googling to try and find that link, I found this guy, and am now feeling inadequate. Craftiness, taken to extremes!
http://www.party-ideas-by-a-pro.com/princess-party-ideas.html

wendy said...

Does she have a favorite book? Or sport? One year I did a hockey theme for my son. Claire loves snowmen so one year we did a snowman themed party,it was fun changing games up to be for snow or snowmen!!!

Becca said...

Just to clarify, the party will be at a local playground, so we won't actually do any of the group crafts, it'll just be decorations. And it'll be too hot for dress-up, which is fine because Sammi doesn't particularly like dressing up! LOL I like the color themed party I did last year, but am afraid I'll just duplicate everything again. I like Anna's suggestion of doing the Evie/Mr. Cuddles thing at *home.* Keep the suggestions coming! I'm slowly starting to form cohesive thoughts about this!

Chromosomally Enhanced said...

Hey! You could do a pajama party at the park! Way fun and loose clothing when it is hot! You could little tents and s'mores with no fire! I saw a dr sues bday party theme and that was way cute or do one on Sammi favorite book! I liked Olivia I still love that show! Smiles

Megan Landmeier said...

I love the idea of a "knight and princess" party at the park. Swords. Princess hats. Tulle.

Anonymous said...

Castles and knights, princesses and frogs. What classic combinations. It can be specific enough for Sammy to connect the characters, yet still generic enough that the girls are all trying to turn their frogs into prices, while the boys are just loving the frogs for the squisy frogginess.

my family said...

what about a tea party. or dress up party.
I forgot whole class...boys and girls.
are you having it at home?
nevermind just read above comments. With three girls we have had polkadot parties and also stripes. Polkadot cakes can be pretty cool you could go with many colors or one with several shades, possibilities are endless.

Kristi said...

CHeck out pinterest:))) loaded with tons of ideas..i have been all over it trying to decided what to do for Avery's bday too..What about a circus theme?? or rainbow?? we did rainbow last year..we have also did purse party, tea parrty, ice skating, polly pocket, barbie, i think maybe go iwth a fun colorufl cake and go from there..polka dots are fun!!! Good LUck!!

Krista said...

I totally get this. And I feel your pain. While some say do what Sammy wants, as parents we want to protect our children and "make them cool" - understand I am totally talking about myself here. I would say, avoid it all together. Go with the tea party, or polkadots and strips or something non-commercial. Two years ago for Ella's party I did a garden theme. I had little terra cotta pots that the kids could paint and then plant some seeds in. We are still at the age where whole families come so it worked for all the ages that were there.

Extranjera said...

You asked. She answered: Evie and Mr. Cuddles.
Sometimes, I think, we as parents make things more complicated than they need to be.
I hope I'm not out of line. I don't mean to be.

The Smiths said...

I totally 'get' your dilemma. My 2 youngest children were adopted and they are a bit socially delayed compared to their peers - they really enjoy TV programs and toys that most people consider are below their age level. For their 7th birthdays we did Scooby-doo and Hello Kitty. Other themes we considered were Yo Gabba Gabba and a garden theme with flowers and butterflies. It's a party...the kids will have fun regardless of the theme. Most of the kids were only focused on the cake.

Kerri said...

URGH this one is tough. Does she have an aide at school that you can ask? I bet the kids wouldn't mind a younger theme and might accept that Samantha just likes different things. But I would be concerned too, at spotlighting the differences between her and her classmates.

Instead of inviting the whole class and you invite just 2 or 3 friends that you know accept her for who she is?

YIKES I am so glad I have managed to boycott having a class party all these years.

Becky said...

This is my honest opinion for what it is worth...you really let Sammi have what she wants. Last year, Kristen wanted a Dora cake. Yes, it was a preschool theme for a five year old. But, you know what? I celebrated the fact she had an opinion...and it made her very, very happy in the end because it was what she wanted. It is ultimately Sammi's birthday, even if all those kids are there. I am not sure those other kids will really even care what the cake looks like. Even if they think it is slightly babyish, so what? Her true friends will celebrate with her, just how she wants to celebrate.My eight year old daughter wants a Harry Potter theme for her next birthday...the popular girls will not be thinking that is too cool for sure. But, Renee's good friends are the ones celebrating and do not care what it is. They just enjoy being with Renee on her birthday! I hope this makes a little sense! :)