I'm a mom to a boy and a girl, and while they're similar in so many ways, I never notice their differences more than when I'm planning their birthday parties. "What do you want to do for your birthday, honey?" I'll ask, maybe a month or two before the big day. My son might give me a blank stare, as if it's a trick question. My daughter? Her mind immediately starts spinning as she spouts out elaborate, totally ridiculous ideas that she'll expect me to not only be excited about, but to actually execute. "How about a puppy party full of lots of real puppies we can play with?" "Or maybe we could take my 20-person class to a superhero movie, then check into a hotel and order room service?" And that's just the beginning.
Every kid is different, and while some boys care deeply about their birthday parties, mine just isn't one of them. He's pretty laid-back when it comes to celebrating the day he came into this world, but my daughter makes sure the world stops for her for just a little while. And I have to admit it always makes me smile. Her wild imagination and attention to detail will serve her well in life, and as much as it sometimes pains me to spend an entire weekend planning a party, it's usually totally worth it in the end.
- The Theme. My daughter usually comes up with a superspecific theme that doesn't exist in nature, like a Barbie/unicorn/kitty party or a soccer/outer space/alien party, and she'll be dead serious. I'll find myself searching Etsy for the one vendor who creates slightly relevant favors and empty my bank account to buy them. My son, on the other hand, will want something comically simple like Minecraft. Get him the appropriate napkins and a balloon or two, and I'm basically done.
- The Guest List. My daughter will have to think long and hard about the guest list, unless, of course, she's decided she wants to invite every child she's ever met, which is a strong possibility. My son also can get particular with his list, but usually fills me in on who his new friends are with descriptions like "the one who jumped down a whole set of stairs!"
- The Entertainment. My daughter will request each of her guests be treated a certain way (manicures with glitter, goodie bags fit for Wonder Woman, or personalized jerseys to play games in). My son also has some pretty great requests, but he and his friends usually end up playfully throwing things at each other instead.
- The Food. My daughter would like me to serve all of her favorite foods and those of her two best friends. My son is totally cool with cheap pizza, as long as there's a lot of it. But when it comes to the main event, they can both agree that a fancy, theme-based cakes are totally wroth losing their minds over.
- The Gifts. The worlds collide here because, of course, both my daughter and son are going to require gifts for their respective birthdays — and no, the elaborate and expensive parties I throw for both of them don't count.
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