First of all, thank you for all the great feedback here and elsewhere about the frustrating fives. It means so much to know that we’re not alone or worse, failures at this whole parenting thing. It’s hard to admit out loud when your kid isn’t 100% a rock star because chances are that means you aren’t 100% a rock star parent either. But I have good news in the form of a really solid plan for this coming weekend, setting Avi (and his parents) up for success.
On Sunday we’re doing a small family party for the birthday boy at his grandparents’ house. There will only be one other kid in attendance, my 20ish month old niece. Instead of hosting a more passively adult-focused party, where we sit around and chat while the kids play, we are going to do some really active, intentional things to keep it fun and focused for Avi and the rest of us. We’ve talked about having maybe a treasure hunt for his presents, a silly scavenger hunt to get everyone involved in small groups, informal snacking and grazing (instead of a sit-down dinner) and some old-fashioned games in the yard. We’ve thought of egg spoon races, a water balloon toss and maybe pillowcase relay races, which he knows from Little Bear. We’re going to end the party early enough that he isn’t overstimulated and exhausted, and we think that will help with the end transition since he won’t be left feeling like he had to leave while everyone else (read: the adults) were allowed to stay and hang out.
I’m excited about this now, which is a huge relief since the last thing I wanted to feel about my son’s fifth birthday was anxiety. I think we will all have a lot of fun, and I can’t think of a better present for a little boy who loves to play with his older aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents, great-grandparents and parents than a game-filled afternoon in celebration of, rather than frustration around, turning five years old.
(Any other party games in the water balloon/relay race vein, feel free to share!)