Tag Archives: birthday

Kids Birthday Parties: Top tips! 

Everyone knows them, at some point everyone has either held one or been to one. For children they’re quite often an amazing couple of hours filled with excitement and hyperactivity. For parents they’re more likely to be a stressful occasion, or one of dread. You could be a parent who likes parties, although I don’t think I’ve found a parent who likes them all. I think it comes down to what the party entails, how long, what activities etc. As soon as your child starts attending a regular group of children placement, be it school, preschool, nursery etc the invitations start flooding in. In the 2 years Logan has been at school we’ve had a good amount of party invitations, most I’ve accepted, some we couldn’t make. He’s been to a great variety of parties, from soft play to Home, entertainers to pottery painting, and yesterday he attended a go kart party! Whatever the theme I’ve found most to be quite noisy, excitement inducing, and full of sugary snacks and drinks. He’s enjoyed each and every one of them though. I suppose that’s what counts. I’ve managed to avoid organising a party so far, but have almost done so until we convinced master Heberling otherwise, but here are a few tips for organising a party from my point of view:

  1. Cost. Parties can be ridiculously expensive. Consider working out a rough budget before deciding on what to do. Lots of different things will effect how much it’ll cost, where it’ll be, if you have entertainment or not, decorations, food, cake, party bags etc. If you do it all yourself at home or at a village hall you may save yourself some pennies. Pinterest may also come in use for money saving ideas, or how to do things yourself. Kids don’t need to have an expensive entertainer or soft play party, so don’t feel you need to go all out. It’s not a competition. 
  2. Who to invite. You may be on a limit of who you can invite, maybe by price, location or a certain activity you’re doing. Many people seem to invite the whole class, and this seems to work well if you’re not under a limit. No one gets left out, and it may be a good way to get to know classmates (and their parents!). If you’re under a limit ask your child, don’t go by people you like, sit down your child and ask who’d they’d like there. If they’re not sure on names you could always ask their teacher who their friends are. Please don’t leave just one or two children out when the rest of the class is invited. Just because you don’t like the parent or think the child’s a troublemaker doesn’t mean you should penalise the child. Remember the class will most likely talk about it, and that child would feel very left out. It’s not kind, don’t do it. 
  3. Party food. Food is a hard one I feel. When we were young it was all junk food and fizzy. Then there was a craze of healthy food. Personally I feel that you should provide a good selection of both healthy and junk food. Kids can be fussy, pizza and nuggets are always a winner. Fruit probably wouldn’t go down too well depending on age, but there are plenty of healthy alternatives out there. I’d much prefer fizzy to not be on offer until they’re much older. Avoid nuts, and consider if any child has any intolerances. Alternatively, avoid meal times, and just have drinks and cake! 
  4. Party bags/favours. Remember as a child you got a bag of tat? A mix of random little things that either broke very quickly or were pointless? These still exist. Don’t go there. There are plenty of other options. Most go for sweet cones these days, which are obviously always a hit, and fairly cheap to either buy or make yourself. Give a pot of playdoh and a cutter or two for younger kids. DIY science experiment kits can be a hit for older kids. One party we’ve been to gave out a book to each child which I think is a fantastic idea! Again, there’s loads on pinterest. Be creative and choose something that you’d also be happy to have at home, nothing annoying!
  5. Have fun. Don’t get stressed about it all, a party is supposed to be fun for everyone, organisers included. Your child will enjoy it more if you’re enjoying it too. Get help from family and friends if you’re doing it yourself. Take a moment to step back and watch your child having fun, take photos, join in. Birthday parties are there to remind you that your child is growing up. They’re only little once. Relish in the moment.

    Obviously there’s lots more to parties than that, but I think they’re some important things to think about. Now, if you are a parent of an attendee there is also a couple of things to consider:

    1. Presents. I’m sure this is at the front of most people’s minds once the invitations have been sent out. For some kids you know exactly what you’ll get them, but other kids you may not know so well, or at all, so what do you get them? Whatever you do, don’t go overboard. Set a limit on what you’ll spend. Ask your child what you think the birthday child would like. Consider the age of the child and how well your child knows them. Personally, I go for a book for most parties, if Logan knows them well and is a really good friend then I’d get them something more, but I think books are perfect, there’s always a book to fit the birthday child’s needs. If you’re really unsure, or don’t want to spend much then rally together with a couple of other parents and buy something between you. Remember, don’t feel you have to spend a lot, never forget presence over presents. 
    2. Don’t force your child to join in. Parties can be quite overwhelming, loud and down right scary places to be, especially for small children. There may be people they’ve never met before there. There may be an entertainer who is a bit too much for your child. They may not want to run around with the other children, kicking balloons. Don’t force them to join in if they do not want to. Parties can be unsettling and new. Let your child soak it all in, let it be their decision on when to join in. Stay with them, and point things out, explain things, encourage but don’t push, experience it with them. Most kids will warm up, some don’t, and that’s okay. If it’s a drop off party then explain to the birthday parent, they should let you settle them before leaving or even stay the whole time. If your child isn’t a party animal don’t ever feel the need to apologise about them, don’t worry about if you leave early or even not attend the party. Everyone has to enjoy themselves and if you have to make that decision for the better of your child then you are doing a great job knowing their needs.

    Hope you can take something away from this, or maybe you feel I’m not qualified to tell you how to organise a party due to never actually doing so myself. However I’ve attended a fair few (two for this week!) and discussed it a lot with other parents, so feel I’ve had a good insight. Happy party planning, and remember, if you’re attending a party, don’t forget to have something to hand for that inevitable headache you get from the shrill shrieks of a group of small children. 

    Photo shows a cake that Mr Heberling made for logans 4th birthday, it did have dinosaurs on, but we took them off for the eruption! 

    Bringing Taya in to the world 

    Today Taya turns 2. At 9:56pm to be precise. As a Mum I feel that birthdays come with very mixed emotions. I love watching them grow, meeting milestones and joining in on the adventures in life. Then on the otherhand no Mum wants her baby to grow up. Each year they become more independent, less snuggly, and as a Mum you never forget that tiny bundle in your arms, completely dependant on you, and it’s hard to imagine that one day they won’t need you. So on this day that I sit here reminiscing over the past 2 years, I’m going to share the story of bringing Taya in to this world. I’ll never tire of my birth stories, I’ll share Logans another time, but for now back to Taya. I apologise, this shall be a long one.

    Just before I go on, please be aware that I tend to tell it completely uncensored. Birth is messy. Or in my case, afterbirth.

    I found out I was pregnant very early in to my pregnancy. Very early. I remember going for what I thought would be close to 12 weeks, but no, I think I was around 5 or 6 weeks. I felt slightly crushed to be honest. I was going through a hard time already, my so called mummy friends turned on me, and abandoned both Logan and I, which at the time was devastating, I didn’t understand why, but now I’m glad. I now have the best friends anyone could think of. But back then I was also struggling with constant nausea, which is so debilitating, and now I had what felt like a lifetime till my 12 week scan, to know everything was going to be okay. Finally it came and seeing the squiggling baby on screen confirmed I could actually already feel her! We shared our news, after Logans preschool had already found out, as he’d got excited, and then the wait for the next scan came. I got bigger a lot quicker second time round, your body remembers being pregnant which is just kind of amazing. The nausea did ease once I was in the second trimester and I started to enjoy myself. Guessing the gender of “Jelly” (Logan named her!) before the scan is always on everyone’s minds. So many ways to “tell”, but my cravings were different this time round, with Logan it was pom bears, and salty stuff. With Taya it was sweet stuff, particularly frozen yoghurt. I know everyone just wants a healthy baby, but the urge to have a girl was very overwhelming at times, so when the 20 week scan I was on tenterhooks as the sonographer tried to make this wiggly awkward baby open her legs! Finally at the end just before they gave up theu were certain they saw girl bits! Happy is an understatement. In between my 20 week scan and birth I got to have a 3D scan, which is such an amazing experience, even though we didn’t get the greatest shots as she had her hands over her face, and was hiding tightly up against the placenta. Amazing all the same.

    Kiba had always said he didn’t particularly want to be at the birth, and I respected his decision, not all men do, and I felt he’d be better with Logan. With Logan I had Kiba and my mum as support, but for Taya I asked my sister Sophie. She was thrilled. I was planning for a water birth at the midwife led birthing unit, a part of the hospital in case things went wrong, but more homely. I had a lovely midwife throughout pregnancy, and as things went on I got more and more excited about our new arrival. My due date, and zoo trip, came and went. On the 10th July we were invited out for a fish and chips lunch, it was lovely, but I was having more Braxton hicks than normal, however I didn’t think too much about it so carried on the day. Logans bedtime came, and as I was getting him ready the contractions started. I used breathing techniques to try and carry on in case they came to nothing, but soon came to the conclusion that this was it, that there was no point putting Logan to bed. I took him downstairs and told Kiba she was on her way. I phoned up the MLBU when contractions were 5 minutes about, which wasn’t particularly long after I had started! After explaining I was 45 minutes away and had to drop off Logan/pick up Sophie they told me to head to mums and then wait there until they were 3 minutes apart. They were 3 minutes apart as I got to mums.

    With Logan at mums, Sophie and I in the back of the car, Kiba drove us to the hospital. If you’ve been a labouring woman in the car you know that it is the longest drive you’ll ever experience in your life. You’ll get every red light possible. You cannot get comfortable at all. Anyway, we finally got there, Sophie and I took it slowly up to the MLBU, Kiba met us up there with our bags, and I asked him to stay, although I knew what are plans were. He left and the midwife wanted to do my observations, weight etc, but I got the sudden urge to push, so she decided to take us over to the birth pool. By this point I was in my “zone” I can’t say I took any notice of the people around me (I never noticed the student midwife!) or my surroundings, I think the room may of been a pink colour? They had the lights dimmed, and the pool ready. I’m sure I got in in just my bra, but it annoyed me, so I took it off. I went with my bodies urges and pushed. I remember panicking a bit as Taya never stopped wiggling. I couldn’t remember Logan doing so, so it was a bit of a shock and didn’t feel great to be honest. I remember Sophie with a flannel. I remember encouraging words. I remember I’d taught myself to repeat over and over “I can do this” while I pushed, and it helped, it really did. I held my breath through the worst pain. I liked to duck my head in the warm water, it felt calming. Shortly before the crowning I felt my waters pop. Such an odd sensation. Then came the crowning. For anyone who doesn’t know, this is when the head starts to come out. This is when most mums panic a little, myself included, only briefly before I remembered I could do this, and this meant she was close. Crowning is also the worst pain personally. Your vagina is a ring of fire. You can then feel your own baby with your hands for the first time, but this is a weird sensation personally, something I don’t think I can describe.

     A few powerful pushes and she was out. My beautiful baby girl was here. The euphoria of that moment is truly indescribable, a moment you can never, ever forget. I’d love to witness it, not just live it, it must be magical, maybe one day I shall. I was granted my golden hour, skin to skin cuddles, and breastfeeds, in the water. Sophie phoned Kiba, he had only just got home with Logan, 45mind after he’d left us! Others were informed, as I birthed the placenta naturally and got to have delayed cord clamping, both things that I was worried about as they hadn’t gone well with Logan (I shall tell you his story another day) but it all seemed to go so smoothly. I’d done it completely pain relief free, I didn’t think I’d be able to, but I did, and in the water! Dreams come true! From first pain to her arrival it was between 3 and 4 hours. Time is fuzzy now.

    We then moved back to the other room, Taya was weighed (7lbs 8oz) etc, and then it was my turn to be checked down below, you know, to see how it had coped. By the midwifes grimace, and the “Oh…” I knew it hadn’t fared well. I’d torn. I was swollen, very swollen. The midwife admitted she wouldn’t be able to do the stitches so went in search of a surgeon. I forgot about it as I cuddled my bundle of joy. Then the surgeon came in and I got an even bigger grimace and another “Oh…” and by this point Sophie was interested and asked if she could have a look, she’d just watch me give birth so why not? “Oh…” So it turns out I was in a bit of a mess down there. The surgeon said she’d try but it could be tricky with the swelling. I was given gas and air to cope. Now, I’ve never done drugs, but oh God, I’m guessing that’s what it’s like on drugs. Everything goes out of focus, I can’t see anything, can only just hear things and I go silly. I’m sure it was hilarious. It was still painful for me though. She did her work and said she’d come check later. Fast forward through more cuddles, breastfeeds, sisterly chats and bonding. Surgeon comes back and there are even more grimaces. 

    It turns out that the swelling had caused her to stitch me up wrong. Yea.. So, my options were to have her cut it and retry with gas and air but keep perfectly still (apparently I kept jumping with the pain before…), or, have a spinal and go to theatre to have it done. It was a horrible decision. I didn’t want to leave my baby and end up staying in. However I didn’t think I could cope with the gas and air again. I’m sure I cried. In the end I chose theatre. I knew Sophie would look after Taya. I am terrified of needles, but again I used my mantra of “I can do it”. We headed down and I coped surprisingly well with having the spinal. I suffer with anxiety around people I don’t know, but they were all very nice. It felt very, very odd not having control over my legs. A new surgeon came in and started work, commenting on the uniqueness of the situation, apparently. She then found a problem from the stitching after logans birth! So she offered me a “designer vagina” in her words, and I accepted. Once it was finally over and I was wheeled on to the ward I had to ask where Taya was, I started to panic a bit as I spent a good amount of time without anyone. Then she came, with Sophie, with Kiba, Logan and my mum. I was gutted. I’d missed both Kiba and Logan meeting Taya for the first time, something I was so excited for, and I still feel sad about now. 

    On the ward I became “the lady from MLBU” as it seems it’s very uncommon for people to end up staying in. I hated staying in. I pushed to get us home as quick as possible. Taya was born Friday night, I was admitted to the ward on Saturday morning, and I got home Sunday afternoon, where we announced her birth to the world. 

    Everything went up from there, I healed well, and I manged to get breastfeeding established. We’re now at 2 years of breastfeeding, I couldn’t be prouder. These 2 years have gone so quickly. I often think of both my births. I love birth. I love to read about it, see photos of it. I’d love to witness it in the flesh. I’d love, and hope to train as a doula, to support women to get the births they want. If I could, I’d relive it all again, as despite the pain it truly is beautiful.