Charlie Henderson turned two last week. My big headed, big hearted, pink bodied baby is growing up, and once again I find myself googling “how to stunt a child’s growth.” I had decided not to blog about it, but then I asked Stephanie to come grab some shots, and they turned out so cute that I figured I’d show you.
That is how Charlie displays that he is 2 with his fingers. I swear I didn’t teach him that.
I still wanted Charlie’s day to be memorable for him – a day that felt special, despite my need for low maintenance. So what is special to a 2 year old? Pizza, snacks, lots of balloons, bubbles, a few presents, cake, a couple good friends and a special guest, SPIDERMAN. Oh and TV, as we promised him that around 7pm they could all watch a movie (a strategic move so that we could obviously have a non-paid babysitter while we hung with our friends).
We texted our friends (two of whom have kids that we’ve match-made to be Charlie’s best friends), and told them to come over Friday around 4pm (P.S. No, you don’t have to have 9am birthday parties). We rented a helium tank, and blew up a ton of left over balloons we had, then filled the house/deck with as many as we could. Nothing is cheaper or gives more excitement (and creates a festive ambience) than good old fashioned balloons.
We went to Target that morning and bought streamers, happy birthday banners, paper plates/napkins and cups from their spritz line and called it a day regarding the decorations. Not to be their spokesperson or anything, but they kinda have everything. Those party stores have more stuff, but it’s not as pretty.
We bought that white cardboard castle for another occasion but never put it up, so we pulled it out from the garage and put it together. It’s cute, but something that will probably end up in the garbage soon, so I don’t really recommend it. They thought it was fun, but not sure it’s worth the $75. The idea is that you can draw/paint all over it, so I think it’s great for an event but just know it won’t last too long.
All toddlers want to do is hoard anything that once came in a package and eat it until they are sick. Like dogs. For snacks we basically bought all those hipster expensive who-knows-how-healthy-they-actually-are snacks at Whole Foods. It made them happy and kept my guilt to a minimum. Charlie is seen here downing craisins – what he thinks is candy and we are not correcting him.
And bubbles. Toddlers love bubbles. I’m telling you, you don’t have to spend real money on a toddler party. Balloons and bubbles, folks. That’s all they need.
We were racking our brains to figure out what could be extra special that wouldn’t cost too much or be too, well, laborious for us to do. Charlie loves Spiderman, as does Brian, so we figured an appearance by that dude would be VERY fun. Earlier in the week Spiderman called Charlie on the phone and told him that if he was a really nice boy this week that he’d try to make it to the party. All week long he was talking about it. Then about an hour into the party, he showed up! AKA Brian disappeared for a bit and threw on the suit.
Please look at Charlie’s face/body language as he first saw him . . . so priceless.
You can tell he is kinda scared, but so excited. We had warned him a lot about the mask, and how in person Spiderman is really big, but that he’s a good guy, etc., etc., all week long.
I can’t with that face.
Spidey brought him a present, too.
He’s mastered the scooter so we figured it was time for him to understand pedals. Hopefully he’s ready for it, but regardless he was psyched.
I wish we could see Brian’s face, too. He was totally living the dream.
I mean, what dad doesn’t want to pretend to be a superhero and be believed? But Charlie recognized his voice, so after Spiderman left we asked Charlie where daddy was and he said, “he fly away to hep people.” And that’s when we realized that it wasn’t that he thought that Brian was in a Spiderman costume; he now thinks that his dad is THE Spiderman.
Charlie had so much fun. Spiderman was such a hit. And we barely stressed (listen, my assistants might have helped me for a couple hours blowing up balloons, and hanging some lights – thanks, guys). I really just wanted Steph to take some photos of the spiderman situation so she popped by for 30 minutes. It was so casual, we didn’t even grab any photos of the food or cake. We ordered pizza, had beer/wine for the grownups, and juice boxes for the kids. Oh, and Brian got the world’s ugliest cake from the grocery store that pained me to let into our house. I accused him of buying it just to torture me. It was a beige sheet cake with stupid ass swirls all over it then happy birthday in weird brown cursive on top. It was almost ironic how ugly it was. But Charlie didn’t care – he ate so much of that stuff, and then the kids watched The Blue Fox and totally crashed while we chatted and drank.
Happy Birthday, Charlie. You’ve made the last two years total magic.
Just in case you wanted to get a few of the sources (even though, as I mentioned it is basically all target), here they are for your next VERY casual bday party.
1. Gold Confetti | 2. HoneyComb Garland | 3. Tassel Garland | 4. Jumbo Round White Balloons | 5. Gold Balloons | 6. White Balloons | 7. Blue Balloons | 8. Party Hats | 9. Blue Polka Dot Dinner Plate | 10. Gold Snack Plate | 11. Cardboard Castle | 12. Blue HoneyComb Decor | 13. White HoneyComb Decor
***photography by Stephanie Todaro