The princess turns four today.

I’m not doing a whole lot for her tonight – she already had a massive party at House of Bounce on Saturday, plus a separate family party on Sunday. (And yes, I not only fell off the Weight Watchers wagon – I dove head-first into an orgy of cake and pizza and Twizzlers and didn’t emerge until…um. Yesterday. *sigh*)

I did buy her cupcakes to take into her class this morning, but I eschewed the goody-bag phenomenon on Saturday. It’s something I never really understood. When I was growing up, I seem to remember pretty low key birthday parties at home  – spaghetti lunches and pin the tail on the donkey. Maybe ten kids. Homemade carrot cake for dessert. Running around outside. Water balloon fights. Looking for toads in the garden.

Undoubtedly I’m using some pretty thick rose-colored glasses here.

These days it’s all about the super parties – simply plunk down $400 for your kid and your kid’s 25 closest friends and watch them go nuts at the waterpark, Chuck E Cheese, House of Bounce, whatever. Sometimes that includes food (which it did, this time around.). Still had to pay extra for balloons, though. And we had to bring in the cake separate – Lucy insisted it had to be an Iron Man cake, and that she only wanted “boy stuff”.

On the other hand, I didn’t have to clean anything or manage timing or really do anything other than hang around with other parents and talk, and that was actually more relaxing than I thought it would be.

But goody bags? Meh. I’ve done in them in the past, but I just didn’t have the heart or the cash to run out to Party Central Saturday morning and put together 20 bags full of cheap plastic crap. I mean, really, what’s the point? And what are we teaching our kids? That they should expect gifts just for showing up?

In either case, for someone who freaked out about getting a Barbie Doll for her birthday (sorry, poor hapless parent!) instead of Optimus Prime,  I have to say she seemed to enjoy prancing about in her plastic princess high heels yesterday, carrying her little doggy bag full of stuffed puppies.

Of course, she did complain about how much the heels hurt. I told her to take them off, but she refused, and I couldn’t help but think of that passage from the Little Mermaid where the grandmother attached all those oysters to the mermaid’s tail and tells her that “pride must suffer pain.”

And so it begins.

And yes, this was horribly rambly. I apologize. I appear to be on a sugar withdrawal.

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