As a parent, the worst time for your child to have a birthday is during the winter. And the worst kind of child to have a winter birthday is a twin. Since my children are twins with winter birthdays, they never have birthday parties. Ever. It's not that I don't want my children to feel special, but “special” doesn't buy pizza and cake for 80 kids.
Having twins with a winter birthday is a double-edged sword and both of those edges are expensive and cause flop sweat.
First, there's the sheer numbers that go along with throwing a party for two children and their friends at the same time. Second, there's the headache of finding a place to hold that party during a February in Seattle, when it will definitely, 100 percent of the time, be cold and rainy.
In regard to the number of party guests, we are starting with a low tolerance for high numbers because I am an introvert who hates large crowds. So, the idea of hosting a party with more than, let's say, one person in attendance, gives me hives. But when you look at the number of people I could invite to my children's birthday party, you would have to be a Kardashian to be excited about being around that large of a group.
Parents of multiples need the kind of support you can only get from someone who has also cared for two babies with simultaneous diarrhea.
See, parents of multiples tend to get to know and hang out with other parents of multiples because we need the kind of support you can only get from someone who has also cared for two babies with simultaneous diarrhea. For example, a few months after my kids were born I joined a PEPS group with 10 other moms of twins. That's 20 party guests before my twins even started school. A few years later, my kids went to preschool, which added another 12 kids to the list. Then a few years after that, they went to kindergarten, where I chose to put them in two separate classes. That's another 50 kids that need to go on the invite list. Yes, I said 50, because teachers ask you to invite every single child in your kid's class to their birthday party. So between baby friends, preschool friends and two-classes-worth of kindergarten friends, you now have enough potential party guests to destroy lives.
In case you weren't doing the math, we're talking about a birthday party with around 80 potential guests, and those are just the kids. We're not even talking about the parents who are there hanging out for the adult conversation and the free cake. A birthday party for 80 kids? Thanks for the offer, but no. The thought of that many kids running around in an enclosed space, hyped up on cake, and the enormous amount of crap (and by crap I mean thoughtfully chosen presents) that would come with it makes me want to go back to February of 2008 when my kids were born and cross my legs till July, when I would be able to rent out a picnic shelter, buy some balloons and let all of the children roam free.
Of course, there's nothing that says I have to invite all those people. Another option would be to have one small party with a carefully selected few friends. But that involves social politics and potentially hurt feelings, and I am terrible at all of that. I could also have two separate smaller parties, one for each twin where they get to invite a handful of friends of their choosing, but I don't see how that would make my life any easier. In fact, that sounds more like having a horrible nightmare that ends with a cliffhanger, and then having the second half of that horrible nightmare a week later. But, with cake. I have decided to avoid the whole thing altogether by inviting no one and not having a party. Remember kids, if you avoid problems, then you don't have to deal with them. That's my little motivational message to you.
The truth is that even if I did attempt to have one slightly smaller party, I would still suffer because a February birthday in Seattle means finding an indoor site where it can be held. What I was surprised to learn when I once considered this idea and looked around at places is that many of them allow a maximum of around 14 guests. 14?! 14 might work with one kid, but with twins you're talking about inviting maybe half of their closest friends. Explaining to the parents of a child your kids have played with for years that their kid didn't quite make it onto the guest list is not a conversation I ever plan on having. And the places that do allow more than 14 children are also much more expensive. I am not someone who plans to spend hundreds of dollars on a birthday party for a 5-year-old. If I need to rent out a building for a few hours, someone had better be getting married or have recently died. I may be selfish, but I am also a selfish woman can afford to buy her kids fruit snacks and socks.
So, no, my kids won't be having a birthday party. But they will get presents, a small cake from Baskin-Robbins, and a horribly screechy and an out-of-tune rendition of the Happy Birthday song sung by their parents and grandparents. What more does a kid need? The answer I give my kids is “nothing,” so could you please back me up on that if they ever ask you, I'd appreciate it. Thanks. I'll save you some cake.