Today one of J’s friends had a birthday party. I went shopping for the gift with a friend of mine, and picked out a fire truck (can you really go wrong with a fire truck for a 3-year-old? I think not). I then went home and made the rookie mistake of showing it to J. This was a mistake for two reasons: 1) J, as you probably guessed, decided this truck should be HIS, or at the very least that his friend should definitely bring the truck to day care and share it; and 2) once the present was wrapped, J kept repeating, “It’s a fire truck! A fire truck!“, making me certain that we’d last about one minute at the party before the birthday boy knew what his gift was.
While we were driving to the party, J said, “You know, mommy? I love fire trucks. They’re my favorite!” Which is definitely not true – Thomas & Friends are his first love – but was pretty smart on his part. He knows how to appeal to his mom! Too bad it didn’t work this time. Poor guy.
The party was at a place filled with inflatables, perfect for toddlers to run & bounce off all their energy. Unless you’re J, and are pretty intimidated by those big bouncy structures. We’ve been to this place once before, and J spent most of his time running back and forth on some gymnastic mats (totally worth $5). Today he was a little braver, encouraged by seeing his friends playing. Don’t get me wrong – he still spent a large part of his time standing next to various bouncy houses, cheering his friends on through the little mesh net windows. He did play long enough to let me snap a photo, though:
Can I admit that for a moment I wished I was young enough to hop up there and play a little too? I would have loved a place like this when I was a child.
After playing for a while it was time for the actual party to take place. We all shuffled back to the party room and took seats along picnic tables to watch the birthday boy blow out candles and open presents. I have to say, I love being around other parents of toddlers. There’s no embarrassment when your toddler throws himself to the floor in a huff – just knowing, sympathetic looks. Not that J would ever do that. Multiple times. Along with exclaiming, “Where are my presents?!” Noooo, not my child.
Really, J did well overall. He and his friends were pretty cute to watch as they ate cake – their conversation was mostly about the cake, and about the Mickey Mouse toppers on it. They also liked to talk about what big bites of cake they were eating. Riveting stuff. :) Once it was time to open presents, J became very interested – mainly because he thought it was just a matter of time before it was his turn to open presents too, I’m certain. He stood just a few feet away, watching intently. Toward the end, he picked up one of the opened gifts, a big truck, and tried to bring it over to me. I – in my sweetest voice, mind you – told him he needed to put it back, and that’s when one of the aforementioned huffs took place.
Mostly, though, it went really well and was a fun outing. I liked getting to know some of the other moms, and I loved seeing J interact with his friends. Plus, I’m hoping it was a good trial run for him to be ready for C’s party next weekend. That’ll be his first experience with his brother getting all of the attention, and getting presents when he doesn’t. It might not be completely pleasant for him, but we want him to learn that it’s not always about him, and that it’s fun to be excited for other people’s special days. Wish us luck!