Parties for Each Personality

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Find more about siblings, parties, birthdays

Caitlin and Ellie's 10th birthday approached with a landmark request for separate parties. Matt thought I was certifiable to even entertain the idea of back-to-back events, but the girls are twins, not carbon copies. The more they talked, the clearer this became.

I set some limits: We would celebrate at home, and if one opted for a sleepover, they had a guest limit of three. To my amazement, this led to a debate about whether each could come to the other's party. Thankfully, we resolved this with a yes, and set the dates, Ellie one Friday evening, Caitlin the next.

Ellie's planning went down to the wire. I threw out several themes, but all she wanted was tie-dye and action, action, action. She made a pitch for a homemade water park, but all I could picture was a trip to the ER.

With six friends arriving in four days, time was running out. Then I remembered those giant parachutes from gym class; Ellie grinned ear to ear. A nearby toy store had one in stock, and I found a slew of games to play with it at www.playparachutes.com.

In the end, we had a full evening of tie-dying T's, kickball, and parachute games followed by pizza, watermelon, and chocolate cake with vanilla frosting.

For Caitlin, it was all about the sleepover, provided it came with a piñata and water balloons. (I suspect Ellie was behind the latter.)

Five days ahead, we began paper mâchéing. The weather turned muggy, and the piñata needed every one of those four days to dry. When Caitlin wielded the paint brush on Friday, her plan for a mouse morphed into a fine example of modern art. We filled three buckets with water balloons (note to self: use outside tap, not kitchen faucet) and hung the piñata on the swing set.

After the guests and party girl got soaked and scavenged fallen candy off the lawn, they devoured pizza, watermelon, and vanilla cake with chocolate frosting. One movie-showing later, we all even got some sleep.

Two parties in a week may have been exhausting, but it felt good that the celebrations matched the girls' personalities, right down to the icing on the cake.

How do you help your kids maintain their individuality? What's your perfect party-planning trick? Click the comments link below to find and share solutions.

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Parties for Each Personality

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