and I've still not done much with this. I guess it's time. We're running into some issues around here. Issues with etiquette. Having twins, it's hard to know what to do with social situations. How do you handle birthday parties for 2 opposite sex children who happened to inhabit your womb at the same time? No one seems to agree on how this should be done. Some think that a joint theme should satisfy, others that the kids deserve their own party, still others avoid parties altogether. Hmmm.... none of these options really work for me, or my kids.
In the absence of any sort of guidance that fits our situation, I decided to create my own etiquette for this sort of thing. Still working on a name for it, but "How to Handle Birthday Parties for Twins with VERY Different Tastes" will have to do for now.
Now, here's how I got into this situation. I asked the twins over dinner one day what they would each like for their birthday cake. We used to do joint themes and let them blow out their own candles on cupcakes, but they developed complete minds of their own at 4. *sigh* I was informed that they NEEDED to have a party. Um... sure... long pause as Mama decides how in the world to pull this off.... but what do you want on your cakes. She yells Hello Kitty as he screams Dragon Ball Z. Ok... so much for having a similar theme to work with.
Let me introduce to you the players. We'll go in reverse birth order.
Victoria (aka Twin B, Punkie Poo, Sweet Pea, Danger Ranger) is my "I'm not sure if I'm a tomboy or a girly-girl yet, so I'll try a bit of everything and see what sticks" kind of child. She's spunky, sassy (often too much so for her own good), and has very definite opinions about what she likes and what she doesn't. She likes to play cars with her brother, dolls with her sister, video games with her Daddy, and bake with her Mama. She also likes worms, a lot, but we'll save that for another post. She has developed an almost frightening obsession with Hello Kitty. The child can seriously spot Hello Kitty Memorabilia at 50 yards, through a crowd, in low light. (I am, however, ok with this. Much better than Disney Princesses.)
Braxton (aka Twin A, Buddy Bear, Braxasaurus, Homie Bear, B-man) is my "give me video games or give me death" kind of kid. He loves computers, gaming consoles... if it has buttons, he will probably dig it. He is also the one that wasn't supposed to be able to do these things (again, something for another post). He loves his little cars and dinosaurs, but can generally be heard playing Dragon Ball Z with his toys. If there was a group for Dragon Ball Z -aholics, I'd be signing Brax and his Daddy up.
Bottom line? I blame Daddy for the anime addictions in my house.
So on to the dilemma of the twin party. How in the world do you deal with a party for a boy and a girl who happened to be born on the same day when they have completely different themes? The answer seemed pretty simple to me... have two parties. We couldn't do it on different days because of the logistics of inviting family to both, though it would certainly solve the pesky problem of sorting out how to deal with gift giving. In the end, having the two parties on the same day was the only real solution.
I set about making invitations for both parties and told each of the children they could invite 3 school friends and Mama would deal with family members. By the time all of the children were accounted for, there were 16 children on the list for this party, all between the ages of 4 and 8. Think I'm a little crazy? You haven't seen anything yet.
So, Hello Kitty invites for Punkie, 5 star Dragon Balls for Buddy Bear. Now to figure out how to have two different parties in the same space. Since we only have one table that will snugly seat 6, I called our local school and asked if it was possible to rent a couple of tables and some chairs. For a pretty reasonable fee, I was able to get two 6 foot tables and 16 chairs. After a little bit of internet searching, I discovered that my kids have come by their new loves a few years too late as there really isn't anything to be found in terms of games or decorations in their respective themes. *sigh again* Good thing I don't mind a little arts and crafts.
Prior to starting the crafts, I decided to have the exact same games for each party to make it easier to run the games, but I still had no idea how it was actually going to work. A couple of weeks and about $15 later, we had a 5 star Dragon Ball pinata, a Hello Kitty pinata, a pin the bow on Hello Kitty game, a pin the Dragon Ball on Goku game, a Hello Kitty bean bag toss, and a Bardock bean bag toss and fingers that seemed permanently sticky from all the glue. Excellent!
Then came the cakes. Hello Kitty was relatively simple to construct with cereal treats and fondant, the cast of Dragon Ball Z, however, was another issue. Let's just say I did the best I could ;)
Finally came the decorating. As there was nothing available for DBZ, we decided to turn the lower half of our walls into space. Black table cloths, silver stars, Planet Vegeta, Namek, and Earth covered the walls on one side of the room. Yellow and red streamers draped from corners to ceiling fan. Balloons stuck here and there. Pin the tail on Goku on the wall. Perfect!
On the other side of the room, everything was pink, purple, and girly. Hearts, bows, balloons and streamers decorated the lower half of the walls (thank you Valentine's Day!). A friend managed to locate a Hello Kitty tablecloth. Pink napkins, pink plates, girly colored balloons, and a really neat flower made from balloons on the wall and we had a pretty in pink, purple, and white Hello Kitty theme going on!
The actual party games ended up going smoother than I thought. I had the boys in one line, the girls in the other with the older sisters who were at the party assisting. They all had a great time and it allowed me to chat with some of the grown ups a bit to maintain my sanity too. We flipped a coin to see who got to have "Happy Birthday" sung to them first. We all sang to Buddy Bear and watched him blow out his candles, then it was Punkie's turn. They opened their gifts together, then we broke into the pinatas. After that, the kids took turns playing the other games again and chasing each other with balloons. All in all, it wasn't so bad!
Gift giving for twin birthday parties was actually the original reason for this post. I handled this party the way I did because I didn't want anyone to feel obligated to buy for both of my children or not come because they couldn't afford a gift. There really isn't any solid etiquette in place for this sort of thing, so I felt compelled to start something that I feel is very fair. If you are invited to a birthday party for twins and there is ONE name on the invite, then only buy for the child who invited you! If the invite has BOTH names on it, get a gift for both children or smaller individual gifts. There is a reason for this. I requested that each of the parents treat this like a single birth child's birthday. If Tori invited you, then it's Tori's party. If Brax invited you, then it's Brax's party. Unfortunately (and generously), some of the attendees to our parties brought a gift for both children and it left a noticeable discrepancy between the two of them in terms of gift numbers. Any of you out there with more than one child know that numbers matter. I had a disappointed birthday child on my hands. (side note: No, I didn't go out and buy that child extras to make up for it. We had a lesson in gratitude and being gracious.) I try to teach my children not to be greedy, but I do try to keep things as even as possible, especially between the twins. I think every parent of multiples struggles with this.
So, with a successful 5th Dragon Ball Z/Hello Kitty Birthday Party under my belt and an etiquette issue resolved, I move on to the next thing.... whatever that ends up being!