Let me begin with an apology. To all the parents I frowned upon in the past, for contracting out their birthday parties to magic shows, carnivals, kiddie restaurants, petting zoos, mad scientists and any other off-site (read: no mess left in your house) entertainment (read: they do all the work, you get all the glory) service: I beg for your forgiveness. I now understand what drove you to remove all vestiges of birthday party madness from your lives and from your homes. What moved you to shirk your parental party obligations onto the shoulders of paid professionals. I get it now. Boooooooy do I get it.
Ok, so this post will appeal to two groups: a) parents of kids who like Star Wars and are looking for party tips, and b) parents who want to point and laugh at other parents - like me - who are foolish enough to host a birthday party (complete with custom hand-sewn Jedi robes which I finished at 4:43 on the MORNING of the party - yes, I am completely certifiable) for seven 7 year olds in my own home for 120 of the longest and loudest minutes I will ever suffer through. Throughout this post you'll find embedded links to tons of great Star Wars Party ideas, and plenty of opportunities to shake your head at me and ask "What was she thinking?".
I have now reached 7 consecutive years of almost exclusively home-hosted theme-based no-holds-barred birthday parties for Simon. And as I confessed to a fellow parent at a (grown-up) party recently, who was in awe of my selfless dedication to my child, it's driven largely by my own issues with perfection. Of course the foundation for these monumental undertakings is definitely built on my profound love for Simon, and to a great extent the lengths I go to for these parties are in direct proportion to the lengths I would go to (and have gone to) for Simon in any part of his life. But I've gotta be honest with you, there's a whole lotta ego in my obsession with hosting the perfect birthday party. And since taking Simon out of Grade 1 to homeschool him - not just a little sense that I have something to prove to the other moms.
Year 1 was the traditional 'baby's first year' shindig with extended family who each brought one item for a time capsule to be opened when Simon turns 18. Year 2 was a zoo theme with painted wooden zoo animals for invitations. Year 3 - backyard bbq pool party theme, year 4 - Pirate party (Simon's friends still talk about that one three years later) with pirate hats bearing each guest's personalized pirate name (Swashbuckle Simon, Buckaneer Ben, you get the idea) and a walk the plank (over the kiddie pool) activity complete with inflatable shark. In Year 5 Simon casually asked me when his superpowers were going to come in, as if they were in the same fact-of-life category as facial hair.
That year also brought a super hero party, and I hand-made 8 super hero capes (blue for boys, pink for girls) each with a personalized monogram with the first letter of their name in the shape of the iconic Superman logo.
Last year, Year 6, was our first annual Star Wars party with Yoda Sodas and a visit from Darth Vader himself. That brings us to Year 7. Also known as The Final Chapter. This one just about did me in, it took me within an inch of my life and walking distance to insanity. Seth wasn't mobile last year - that made orchestrating The Perfect Party much easier. Of course that didn't fully occur to me until today, as I was practically screaming just to be heard over the jet-engine-decibels of seven 7 year olds with pool noodle light sabers in full Battle of Naboo mode.
Seth was strapped to my chest in a cuddly wrap for most of the party, and the poor little guy is likely deaf in one ear now. My kind neighbours (who are also his godparents) graciously took him (2 hours past his nap time - you KNOW what that's gonna look like right?) for the last 45 minutes of the party.
The Imperial March (downloaded for 99 cents) droned appropriately in the background, we made a craft, we did Jedi training obstacle courses in the backyard, we had Darth Vader (aka Dad) stop by for a good beating again, this year joined by his pal Darth Mal. Who knew pool noodles could bring out the inner bloodthirsty warrior in children? These black-and-white, good-vs-evil confrontations still don't sit well with the philosopher in me, but they sure do appeal to my little Aspie :)
We drank Yoda Sodas again (lime sherbet with sprite), this year joined by the equally-tempting Darth Malt (vanilla ice cream with Cream Soda). Vader Taters (potato chips), licorice light sabers (Rainbow twizzlers) and Wookie Cookies (oreos) rounded out the ADHD-inducing table of sacarin delights. Of course the OCD in me had to label the foods using an authentic Star Wars font.
By the time we sang Happy Birthday and brought out the cake, I was so exhausted I literally didn't have the energy to even look for our lighter, and instead instructed the kids to 'blow out the light sabers' on the cake-topper action figures. They gave me a few strange looks but played along.
Star Wars Bingo was a big hit and a welcome relief from the madness of Sith Lord free play. My one sweet, quiet, unimposing Princess Leia (the lone girl at the party) was content throughout the chaos with her Leia hair (brown wool twisted into buns and sewn onto a plastic headband). She held her own in the saber jousting too, I might add.
I feel drained all over again just recounting everything here... ugh. Am I getting old? Or am I just getting wise? The redeeming factor of course is that all the kids had a riot, Simon had a wicked good time, and it was memorable. It will take the place of the legendary Pirate Party in kid lore, and it will feed my needy momma ego. I may not always know what the heck I'm doing in this whole parenting ASD/SPD thing, but MAN can I throw a good b-day bash.
I'd like to say Simon's joy made it all worthwhile but... honestly... it's a close call. Yoda would have words of wisdom to help me figure out this needy ego of mine but unfortunately he'll never get the chance because next year - next year we are going to Chuck E Cheese!