This worked for me because it's easy to organize and incredibly inexpensive, especially compared to some of the party places that some of these kids hold their parties. There are some things that are the same no matter what country you live in - party places for birthdays are one of them.
So anyways, we attempted to plan his party for the day after his birthday on a Saturday afternoon. Now, I may have made a faux pax by sending the invite within the hour after another party that was scheduled for Sunday. But in my defense, the party is a different day and time AND her invitation just reminded me that I needed to send it. But I probably should have spaced it out after she sent hers. Anyways, no big deal because ONLY TWO KIDS COULD COME. Yes, only 2. Turns out that it was also communion weekend. Who knew? Not me.
In the end, I talked it over with Josh and Aidan and we decided to bump his party out a few weeks in order to allow for more kids to be able to come. He was only inviting about 10 kids anyways, so when a few can't make it, it makes a big difference compared to parties of 40 or more kids (which many parents do - they do group parties and invite both classes for that grade). This worked out better for Aidan, his guests and for me who didn't have to deal with 2 consecutive weeks of parties, therefore enabling me to focus a little more on his party rather than being just too wiped to deal.
The only problem with having a party in the park is that there are only so many picnic tables to go around. With 5 tables and tis the season for fiestas, I was a little worried about staking my claim in time for the party. The kids had tennis in the morning and then Josh was going to pick up 2 of Aidan's friends for the party. So they weren't going to be there til around 1:15. Would that be enough time to get a table for a 2 o'clock party? I wasn't so sure. The alternative - have Josh drop me and all the stuff off on his way to tennis at 10:30AM. Yes, 3 1/2 hours before the party.
Now, some may be thinking that this was unfair to others that might have used that table during those 3 1/2 hours. But I know many moms out there would have done the same thing for their kids if not more. However, you will all be happy to know that while all the tables did fill up with people, some of which were parties, there was never a time when anyone entered the picnic area only to find no tables available.
The weather was supposed to be early 70s and sunny. Once again, the weatherman was wrong and I was totally inappropriately dressed in capris and flip flops to sit freezing in the shade. Ah well. At one point while I was waiting a creepy guy came over and asked what I was doing and why I was there. I kept trying to ignore him but he kept standing there and staring. It was a bit unnerving. Eventually after about 15 mins he moved on. But it made me a bit weary about the kids running around the park unsupervised. And when they got there I gave them a lecture about stranger danger.
However, that may have been unnecessary (not that they don't need to know about strangers) because no joke, by 1:30 we were the ONLY people in the park with the exception of a family sitting at the table next to us. The playground and entire park was empty. I didn't think about the fact that I scheduled the party for siesta. I've learned my lesson there!
The party started off a little rocky in my mind. Thankfully it was only in my mind and not Aidan's. With only 10 kids invited and one unable to come right off the bat, we were down to 9 kids. Not bad actually, a good group - not too big, not too small. Of course, only 2 of them were there during the first hour which had me panicked. A few cancelled, two were late (one I knew about but forgot). And one met up with us later on. But during that first hour I was in total panic thinking we were only going to have 2 kids after all that.
But it was perfect. They scootered thru the park, ate pizza and cupcakes. They had sword fights with sticks, climbed trees, played soccer and enjoyed what little bit of nature the city life has to offer. They laughed and smiled and it warmed my heart to see how happy Aidan was with all his friends.
Aidan and his best friend
Liam is excited for the party
Grabbing their scooters
Liam had a playdate during the party too!
Love this picture!
Aidan's favorite tree in Barcelona
Seriously the playground was completely empty except for these kids - how awesome is that?
Enjoying the playground
In the end, it all worked out beautifully. Aidan and his friends had the park to themselves. It was a small, intimate group. And we all came back to our house for an extended playdate that lasted til 7 and included a sleepover with one of his friends. When the kids came back to the house everything just felt in sync. They played fantastic - just a great group of kids.
Not only that but one of Aidan's friends that couldn't come to the party stopped by on Sunday to take him out for an impromptu playdate and some ice cream to make up for not being able to come on Saturday. It was so incredibly kind of the parents to go out of their way to make him feel special, and he did. I think overall, it was a great 9th birthday for Aidan :) Happy birthday!!!