Last week my baby girl turned 2! I know it is such a cliche, but time really does seem to go so quickly. It feels like just yesterday she was turning one and then I blinked and here she is turning two. *Sigh. I am finding her antics to be just as amusing as when my other two kids were toddlers, but because she is a girl her play is decidedly more feminine. She is very loving with her baby doll, until she gets distracted and drops the baby on her head, which always makes me snort with laughter. She is also very clear with what she wants, which is usually her shoes because if her shoes are on then she knows were are going to go outside which is her favorite thing to do. Who doesn’t love a shoe girl? Unfortunately she isn’t as fond of wearing clothing and has a peculiar habit of dropping trow both at home and at preschool. I have had more than one teacher tell me how amused all the older kids are when Ella runs by naked with her poor teacher running after her trying to get her to put her clothing back on. Having lost three pounds from being the one behind Ella as she sprints like a puma down our hallway, I think I should be getting that exhausted teacher a Starbucks gift card right about now.
Because Ella is only 2, I didn’t want to throw some kind of large birthday party with lots of kids and even more presents. I had done that with my sons and I found that the birthday boy usually ended up in tears and then was overwhelmed by the amount of new toys to play with. So for Ella I kept things low key and just invited family and our next door neighbors over for a nice dinner and cupcakes.
My husband, who usually has exactly zero opinions when it comes to birthday parties, decided Ella’s celebration should be a “mermaid party” and the total shock of him giving his take on the theme almost sent me to the hospital! I have no idea why he thought mermaids had to be the inspiration, but I wasn’t going to argue with the man. Plus I thought it was a really cute idea! Off I went to my local Party City to see what they had in stock. I was thrilled to find a few sets of these paper fans in different shades of blue and green, so I snatched them up and added a few bamboo table top tiki torches (say that 3 times fast!) and coordinating plates and napkins. But how was I going to add the all important “mermaid” aspect of the decoration?
I ended up finding this adorable blog with the best free mermaid printables (here). After spending an inordinate amount of time perusing said blog, I printed out the medium and large sized mermaids and then hot glued them to the fan decorations.
I especially liked the ones I hung on my turquoise blue china cabinet.
Included in the free printables were cupcake decorations which I just printed out, cut into circles, and then glue gunned onto toothpicks. Easy-peasy and I managed to sneak in some TV watching while cutting and gluing. My favorite show right now, besides MasterChef is the Next Food Network Star. Anyone else watch that show? My favorite is the “meat on the side” gal, but I think they might cut her because she is “too young”. Whatevs. But I digress….
The whole thing took me about an hour to set up, though I did have my 10 year old son help me make the fans you see scattered down the table, and the majority of time was spent cutting out the mermaid decorations. If I had just gone with a blue and green theme it would have taken 20 minutes, tops!
So for those of you looking to throw your toddler’s a birthday party, don’t forget that sometimes the best decorations are the ones that are the simplest, and that your child won’t even remember this when they get older. Sometimes it is ok to simplify and don’t think your child has to have a blowout bash with jumpers and pony rides and a dessert table that sags under the weight of three types of cake on a stick that you felt pressured to make at 2 in the morning. Because when all is said and done, all your kids want is everyone to sing them “Happy Birthday” and then get to eat an entire cupcake by themselves!