This month PJC celebrated turning three. At first, I wasn’t planning on throwing a party. Then my 5 year-old (for whom I threw an epic birthday party last year) said, “Aren’t we throwing him a party. I bet he wants a dinosaur party, don’t you?” And PJC exclaimed, “Yes, I want a dinosaur party!” Well, I guess that was decided for me.
PJC has a bit of an identity crisis and often declares that he is a baby T-rex named “Little Chomper” so a dinosaur theme seemed appropriate. I also figured it was a good excuse to have everyone over. Honestly, there is not that much to do in this small fishing village for kids besides the beach, so people are always looking for a party, playdate, or some event to keep their kids entertained. So, $300 at Amazon later, I had planned another pretty impressive party (I am a good party planner, but maybe not a cost effective one). Thank goodness for Amazon Prime and Mail Boxes Etc. I’m sure I could have found party supplies here in Panama, but they would have been 1.5 hours away and I would have had to visit 10 different stores and probably never found exactly what I wanted. It’s might be more expensive, but I’m all about convenience.
We invited about 20 families to our house. I did decide to go simple with food. We had the party early so it could be a brunch, and I way over ordered a variety of pastries from, Tia Libia’s, everyone’s favorite local bakery (and a must visit if you come to Pedasi). I added a few salads, some fruit, dinosaur claw snack mix, a champagne cocktail and done- a perfect brunch buffet. For dessert, I spent the week before making batches of cupcakes and freezing them (all gluten free of course for AJC) so people could pick between funfetti, chocolate, and pumpkin each topped with a gummie dino.
I didn’t have any structured games, but I set out a variety of activities and crafts for the kids. Of course most people spent time in the pool which included a floating t-rex, dinosaur water shooters, and dinosaur bath toys. There also was a dinosaur dig station in which kids could dig in sand to find mini dinosaurs. This was surprising popular, especially among the kids 3 and under. For crafts, we had dinosaur cards that they could thread and dinosaur sun-catchers to paint. However, I think everyone’s favorite activity was the dinosaur eggs that they could soak in water and then crack open to hatch their own baby dinosaur. (Forget that- every kid’s favorite activity was the bag of balloons I forgot to blow up. They had a ball blowing up the balloons by themselves, letting the air out of them, or hitting and kicking them to each other. Next party, I’m saving my money and just buying balloons.) Each kiddo was also excited to leave after “adopting” their own little stuffed dinosaur to take home.
Living in rural Panama, we totally lucked out for conditions for the party. It was a gorgeous, sunny day with a cool breeze coming off the ocean. And even though our power was out for 12 hours on Friday and 10 hours on Sunday- it was on all day on Saturday for the party. Hurray, sometimes you win some in the game of basic amenities roulette! I think everyone had a good time and Little Chomper felt at home in his dinosaur environment.
Now I get to rest…oh wait, I mean now I get to start planning our family’s Christmas party, the North Pole Breakfast, and AJC’s birthday party in March. If I can pass on a word of advice to new moms-once you set the bar high (especially with parties, but probably pretty much with anything in life), your kids will expect you to surpass it every time. Well, at least it’s only two birthday parties a year, and Christmas, and Easter and Halloween, and…. The truth is I love to plan that kind of stuff (Brian says I love to plan parities, just not go to them), but I especially love seeing the joy that it brings to all the kids. We should help their lives be magical as long as possible.