There is a strange transformation that happens between five and six. Children somehow go from that pre-school look to that grown up school kid look. Here is Sebastian last year:Here he is now, with his long arms and legs:
Birthday parties used to consist mostly of family for us. By the time you add in 6 grandparents, great-grandparents, and an aunt, an uncle and a couple of cousins it makes for quite a party. Now that we are far away in Vienna, we have to look for party guests elsewhere. Sebastian had no problems coming up with a birthday list and we addressed lots of invitations to his kindergarten classmates. The other problem with birthday parties here is that we live on the 6th floor in a 2 bedroom apartment, which doesn’t allow for a lot of room for party guests. There is a park nearby, down the road from the kindergarten, so we scheduled the party there and hoped for good weather. It was fun watching his excitement build as the parents of his classmates called to say their children could come. He changed birthday party themes multiple times until we settled on a sports them with a soccer ball cupcake cake. We made fruit kabobs and ham and cheese sandwiches and a vegetable plate. Finally his birthday arrived. The day was perfect. He went to kindergarten where they also have a little celebration with everyone in his class shaking hands and wishing him happy birthday.
After he came home we had some lunch and he opened his presents from parents and grandparents and brothers which included a bike and helmet, some puppets, some toy cars, a ball, memory, a swim float and water gun.
Finally it was time for the party. I think I have never been quite so nervous. I didn’t know if parents would stay or drop off their children. (They all stayed.) Birthday presents were presented on arrival and it seemed that he was supposed to open them as they were presented and so he did. I’m not sure if I got that right or not. The children were hungry and thirsty, so they ate pretty much right away before going to play. Eventually we got to the cake, and sung happy birthday in German and English as each saw fit. He had a little trouble with the candles, but a friend helped him out. The parents were all wonderful and I enjoyed time talking with them and watching the children play. He had a fun time.
I have decided that perhaps a big party will not be an every year occurrence. We can party one year and do a family outing the next.