It's been a week since we got back from our vacation at the Jersey Shore (not the Snooki shore, but the nice part!). We had a great time and there were wacky hi-jinks all around, and lots of visitors, from my parents, to my in-laws, to my brother and his kids. My mother and the Grump both managed to tamp down their annoyance quotient, so the aggravation alert level stayed at a pleasant yellow.
I attribute this to the fact that my sister was unable to join us for the week. She can be very hard to deal with sometimes and has been known to use not only conventional rhetorical weapons, but has also resorted to thermonuclear war on several memorable occasions, which wasn't pretty for anybody. If I could, I would send in a team of Mossad operatives under cover of darkness to dismantle her over-reactor.
Also, it was my birthday. The Grump, bless his heart, is clueless about this stuff, so he was completely at a loss, leaving a gap for my mother to jump into. She loves to make a fuss, and got me the cutest cake with a little surfboard on it (incongruous since I have never touched a surfboard, but cute anyway), and we let the Duchess blow out the candles, and it was a lot of fun. Also I declared it Birthday Diet Freedom day, and stuffed myself with pizza, cake, and other goodies.
I bring this up because I have actually been stressing about the Duchess's third birthday party, which isn't even for two months yet, but I had to book the public space in our condo. I am flummoxed by the options available. Should I do a morning party or an afternoon party? Should I have alcohol or not? (I know the answer seems obvious, but the condo has many more hoops to jump through for parties with booze). Should there be one or more of the following: A musician, a bounce house, a magician, a sports coach, a babysitter, a craft table? What should I have for party favors? How do I nicely say "no gifts" on the invitation? How many people should I invite from the Duchess's school, given that we don't know many people yet because it is the beginning of the year, but I don't want it to be a tit-for-tat thing later on?
Adding an extra layer of stress is that I did the wrong thing and read the internet. There are so many crafty moms out there, all posting pictures of their clever ideas and brilliantly executed parties online. How can I compete?
At the same time, I can't believe that I am worried about a child's birthday party. Does anybody else have this anxiety? How do you manage it?