When I turned six we went to Showbiz Pizza and there exists only a simple Polaroid picture of me wearing a crown. For my fifth birthday I remember getting a tricycle that was tall and red. For my fourth birthday my mother made me a strawberry pie and I got a peacock-blue paper parasol.
There were no big party stores selling aisle after aisle of themed paper products back in the early ’80s. There were no goodie bags handed out as guests left the celebration. And we all know there was no Pinterest and Instagram. (If you’re like me, then you are particularly irked that you had to plan an entire wedding without a virtual pinboard and had to haul around a scrap-book.)
These days parties are color-coordinated creations full of photo-ops and party favors. Starting with the very first birthday, they include an elaborate spread where all the food, cakes, plates, and straws match each other. Striped straws, to be exact, preferably in little glass milk-bottles filled with the perfectly colored beverage (sans food-coloring, naturally). We create backdrops, not only for this optimal display of edibles, but also for pictures of all the gorgeous, exceptional children attending. For more flare, we even use photo props as well, like a little gold-glittered bow-tie on a stick to hold in front of a toddler (he will lick it). We have hand-crafted party games complete with costumes and take-home gifts. The cakes are covered in fondant and the pictures of the darling Little eating that cake? (It’s called a “smash cake”, by the way). They were taken two weeks ago in an antique high-chair in the middle of a pasture, bathed in golden sunlight.