If I’m being completely honest, which, I am, I have to say that one of my least favorite aspects of parenting is the whole birthday party thing.
My aversion is specific to kids birthday parties and the throwing thereof, as I very much enjoy inviting my adult friends over to eat and drink and be merry. Carré d’agneau au moutarde with gratin dauphinois, adult conversation, no problem! Pizza, cake, and ice cream and children just about gives me hives. I feel nervous and clammy, and thoughts of “I’m never doing this again, next time they can invite one friend over to play for a twenty minutes where I’ll serve capri suns and Ho-Ho’s” run through my head as I make the third batch of buttercream icing with a cramped hand.
And all of you other parents! You keep throwing these fabulous parties at jumpy houses and gymnastics places and pizza joints, so I can’t very well tell my Carson and Ella, “Sorry, kid, all of your friends get parties, but you don’t. Can I just give you $50 and call it even?”
In my former life as a Speech-Language Pathologist, I basically entertained children for a living, making saying /r/ and /s/ “thupah” fun. (Get it?!) But entertaining children at birthday parties is STRESSFUL, it’s just so much PRESSURE. I feel like there are expectations, expectations from preschoolers for a good time, expectations from parents for I DON’T EVEN KNOW WHAT, but STILL.
So of course when Ella asked for a Mario party for her 4th party I silently cursed very bad words that start with “f” and end in “uckity” and set off to figure out how the heck I would pull off a Mario party. Thank goodness Shab came to the rescue and helped me out. She had some awesome ideas.
Despite my birthday party hosting neurosis, I’m pretty sure I met all expectations, including my own.
We played Pin the Mustache on Mario, complete with a Mario that drew with my very own hands.
Since Mario collects coins in the Super Mario games, the kids had a coin scavenger hunt. I thought this game would be sort of a dud, but it wasn’t. At all. Carson is still talking about it.
I made chocolate cupcakes with both regular and chocolate buttercream icing. I made the cupcake toppers, but I also saw them on Etsy. I made the cupcakes stand with cardboard cake rounds, styrofoam, and wrapping paper, inspired by this tutorial.
For the party favors, I made item boxes from mini Chinese takeout containers I found at Hobby Lobby and glued a yellow question to each. They were filled with Mario stickers, mini Mario markers, and more coins. I also found some mustaches on sticks that we gave everyone, found on Etsy.
If I’m being completely honest, which, I am, one of the best things about being a parent is the genuine “thank you!” and , “Mom! That was the most fun party ever.” That doesn’t mean I enjoyed planning the party, NO, but I guess it was worth it.