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My son’s birthday was over the weekend, along with the first of his two parties. This year, we decided on two individual parties because last year was kind of a mess. The first year’s birthday we hosted at our home, and quickly realized we have no business hosting that many people in the middle of winter. We thought we’d outsource the second year’s party to the local children’s museum so we’d have more space and time and stuff for the kids to do.

The second year’s party was tricky, because I couldn’t actually get my son into the room where his family and friends were. Rather than push him, I let him do his thing, which involved him spending about 3 seconds in the party room. My husband’s family was displeased as they didn’t want to leave the room to go spend time with the birthday boy. Instead, they pouted and stated to me during the party and after the fact about how my son “doesn’t like them.” Seriously, if you’re a grown up and you’re looking to a toddler to validate you, get the fuck out of my face.

So this year, we invited our friends with children to the same style party, and did our best to get my son to spend time with them. We approached it differently, having our party later in the day, and giving my son time in the children’s museum to play before taking him to his “special room” for “cake and pizza.” It worked beautifully. He had a great party, his friends were all awesome, and their parents were all very cool about everything. He even let us sing to him!

In two weeks, we’re driving up to see the adults who weren’t invited to this party, so they can have their time with him. While it’s not ideal, it’s the best of the worst case scenarios. I think it will be a bit of chaos for him, but he’s done very well at Christmas and Thanksgiving, so I have hope. And, if he hates it, all the more reason to go home early.