I can barely believe it but my eldest will be turning two next month! So I’ve started the process of planning The Party.
I still think he’s too young to know the difference, but his paternal grampsters are coming up from Cape Town for the occasion and – together with my grandma – they will lynch me if we don’t throw their darling boy a birthday party. Last year we got off lightly with having the family round for tea and birthday cake, but I don’t think that’s going to cut the proverbial mustard this time round.
Ariel loves Winnie the Pooh, so I went down to the local party shop to see what’s available. They had Pooh Bear disposable cups, plates, cutlery, serviettes. They also had throw-away banners and other decorations. And, of course, plastic “goodie bags” and plenty of junk with which to fill them.
But I didn’t buy them. Something didn’t feel right. Too many questions kept popping into my head: Do I really have to buy into cavalier consumerism to throw my son a nice party? Does a birthday necessitate buying – and then discarding into landfills – piles of paper and plastic, Pooh Bear embellished or otherwise?
It just doesn’t seem to gel with the values I’m trying to teach my kids. What message will this send? That when we celebrate, it’s okay to waste? That profligate behaviour is acceptable, just so long as you have a great party? I want Ari to grow up to be an earth child, not a prodigal son! What of planetary responsibility?
That said, I have two babies, a house to run, a job, and now a blog to write – so the convenience of the Party Shop route is definitely appealing. I’m also not particularly keen to martyr myself. I know that parties don’t happen every day, and that a few plastic plates won’t make a huge ecological difference in the grand scheme of things.
But it’s the principle. Each little bit does count. Furthermore, these are the occasions on which memories are made. And more importantly, for me at least, I think it’s appropriate that a celebration of my son’s life espouses the values by which he lives.
What’s a VeggietotMom to do?