This year, M's birthday falls on the Monday after Thanksgiving. We'll be traveling the weekend before, and already have two birthday parties to attend the following weekend. So instead of a big weekend birthday party, I'd planned to do a small dinner on M's birthday, inviting only my in-laws and the four friends M plays with the most. I hadn't planned on inviting all of M's friends (basically, the whole playgroup), because for the third year in a row, we're doing a group party later on for all of the kids. Frankly, the dinner is just because I can't bear not to have any party for M at all, seeing as we skipped the parties for her first two birthdays.
But now we're starting to receive birthday invitations from the other kids in playgroup, some of whom we hadn't planned on inviting to M's party. It's nothing personal, I just wanted to keep M's party small. But I'm left wondering -- am I wrong not to be inviting all of the playgroup kids to M's party? Is there some kind of rule of inclusion or reciprocity? I know that I wouldn't be insulted if I learned someone else in the group had had a party and hadn't invited M, but given the events of the past two weeks, I'm feeling pretty sensitive about being a good friend. I really don't want anyone feeling left out or insulted.
So, should I rethink things? I still don't think a traditional weekend party is a realistic option, given the timing constraints. I could make M's weekday party bigger than I'd planned, do it during the day and order pizza instead of cooking a dinner, but then The Boy would miss out on M's very first "real" birthday party. Or I could just make the dinner party bigger and find a way to feed (and seat) up to 38 people (eek!). Or, I guess, I could skip doing a party for M again, and hope that next year things will be simpler. But I really hate to do that, especially since she'll be attending so many parties for other kids in the next month and she's already excited to have her own party.