“Mama, how long until my birthday?” asked my son the umpteenth time in February. I said, “Fifteen more days.” He was turning five full years and was becoming quite a handful.

He was growing up into a boy. He was climbing up trees, gazing at new models of Hot Wheels cars, race cars, collecting dead rubbish and doing everything a boy would do.

I could no longer call him a young toddler. He was almost a little boy, and he kept counting down the days to his birthday from one month before.

He asked, “Can we have a party like last year?” I said, “I will try.” We had just shifted to a new locality, and I was not sure if he had made enough friends whom I could invite.

Of course, there were a couple of friends from the same old school whom I knew would definitely visit .  And also, there were his two sets of grandparents, my extended family and my husband’s family. But, they were all not really his age, and I was wondering if he was going to be disappointed with not so many children around for his birthday party.

So, we went ahead and invited all the children whom he claimed were his friends in the new place. We then invited the family, too. We were sure there would not be more than ten children whom would turn up. But, to our surprise, all the children who we invited and some additional children who we did not invite turned up, too!  The more, the merrier!

Our son seemed to have become instant friends with all the new children.  He was having a whale of a time!

We had a cake in the shape of Spiderman, my son’s latest fad and super hero, upon his request.  It was a rage among his friends. In the children’s eyes, he was almost a hero, as he got to cut a Spiderman cake. We cut the birthday cake and passed out the snacks and drinks. The children had second and third helpings and were happily feeding themselves and making a ruckus.

My son suddenly asked me if he could open a gift wrapped box, which seemed extraordinarily big. I was unsure of the etiquette. Could we unwrap gift boxes before the guests left? Or, should we wait as a courtesy?

I decided that we should wait. But, the children persisted.  Could I control twenty odd five to ten-year olds and their excitement? Not to mention their need to satisfy their curiosity, too?

So, well against my better judgment, all the gift boxes started getting unwrapped. I was sure a disaster was going to ensue. They unwrapped an airplane, a bike, a remote-controlled race car, a set of color pencils, crayons, among many other things.

I tried to remember who gifted what. I had to eventually give up. But, in the end all the kids were having fun, and it made no sense to maintain any false sense of decorum. And, they did not fight. Or perhaps, just a little bit for the airplane. It was huge and made a lot of noise.

It was soon night-time, and we bade good-bye to our guests. We were tired and still had to clean up. We collected ourselves and reflected on the new friends we made through our son.

The party was a hit, although there were many things which happened which were not the norm, like unwrapping the gifts during the party and hosting all the extra children that showed up as friends of friends to the children invited.

My son said he had the best party to date. Nothing went as planned. Everything was spontaneous, but there was nothing which I would want to undo or redo.

My husband was meeting half the people for the first time in his life, too, but still played the charming host’s role perfectly for which I am grateful.

Perhaps, next time, I may not plan the same kind of party because it is a lot of work, and my son’s network is growing. But, I am sure we will whip up something still fun for him that would allow his friendships to blossom.

How do you celebrate your child’s birthday? Is it a closed family affair? Or do you invite a lot of his friends?

Have you ever played host to a party where you were meeting half the people for the first time?

This is an original World Moms Blog post by The Alchemist of India. She rambles at the Alchemist’s Blog too which can be found here.

Photo credit to my husband for clicking the best Spiderman cake in the world.

Purnima Ramakrishnan

Purnima Ramakrishnan is an UNCA award winning journalist and the recipient of the fellowship in Journalism by International Reporting Project, John Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. Her International reports from Brazil are found here . She is also the recipient of the BlogHer '13 International Activist Scholarship Award . She is a Senior Editor at World Moms Blog who writes passionately about social and other causes in India. Her parental journey is documented both here at World Moms Blog and also at her personal Blog, The Alchemist's Blog. She can be reached through this page . She also contributes to Huffington Post . Purnima was once a tech-savvy gal who lived in the corporate world of sleek vehicles and their electronics. She has a Master's degree in Electronics Engineering, but after working for 6 years as a Design Engineer, she decided to quit it all to become a Stay-At-Home-Mom to be with her son!   This smart mom was born and raised in India, and she has moved to live in coastal India with her husband, who is a physician, and her son who is in primary grade school.   She is a practitioner and trainer of Heartfulness Meditation.

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