Best Birthday Party

Read about being a mother of 12 as our resident 'Supermom' shares her wise parenting advice.

The best birthday bashes

My 12 children don't always experience the material benefits of the neighbor's children, but despite their complaints, there are areas in which they feel great family pride. Sometimes it takes a while for me to know that I'm doing all right on one score or another. My nine year old, discussing with me his upcoming birthday party told me that our family is known for throwing the best birthday bashes.

This was a new idea, for me; that we were known to give great parties. I have to admit that I took a great deal of pleasure in this knowledge. My older children saw my obvious delight and confirmed that growing up, our family was identified with knowing how to party hearty, and that there was a great deal of prestige connected to such wisdom.

I know that some of what makes our parties great is all about me. I love kids, and I'm a party-animal. I think that if a mom feels good about making a party, kids are halfway to having a fantastic time. Of course, in order to be in a positive frame of mind for partying, a mom has to have spent a bit of time planning and preparing.

The formula for a successful party

By now, I pretty much have down a set formula for a successful party. First, I talk with my child about the cake. I like to make my own birthday cakes and I have accumulated a lot of pans and decorating equipment through the years. I also have 4 books with cake patterns. My kids love to look at the books year 'round, dreaming about the cakes I might make for them. I am realistic with the kids. If they pick something that is too time consuming or too difficult for me to execute, I will suggest a different cake. I don't want to have to stress out over cake.

Once we have a cake picked out, we choose 5 competitive games to play at the party. I always buy five prizes, to hand out to the winners. It takes quite some time to play five games and what with eating cake and opening presents, you've pretty much covered all bases.

Make sure you set up all supplies in advance of the party. That means that you have everything set up for games, as well as balloons and signs for decorating the house. It's a good idea to have disposable dishes, cups, and tableware for easy cleanup.

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