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A Progressive Birthday Party

As my Lil Bug’s 3rd birthday got closer and closer I was trying to come up with a good idea for how to celebrate her birthday. She loved giraffes so I was leaning towards having a party at the zoo. People could come and go as they wanted and she could feed the giraffes. But, as it came closer to the date, I hesitated in setting that idea into a real plan. 

While I knew Lil Bug enjoyed the zoo and loved giraffes, I didn’t feel like that was what she would enjoy the most. But, my hesitation was this, crowds caused her to be really quiet and almost non-responsive to others. She would just watch everything and sometimes it can be difficult to even tell if she is having fun. I’ve even gotten a comment at church that she didn’t seem to be having any fun during the children’s singing time. But, that wasn’t the case, she really loves to go to her Sunday school class and she especially loves singing time. It’s just that when she is in there, she just observes. (I talk more about how my highly sensitive introvert child responds to an event here). Now she’s a little more responsive at the zoo but a year ago when I was trying to decide what to do for her birthday it was still quite overwhelming for her. I knew she would also have added attention on her because it would be her birthday. That could just cause her to be more overwhelmed.

As I discussed my concern with my husband, we really focused on what Lil Bug would want.

  1. We knew that she would want to do something special for her birthday. Something that sets it apart from any other day.
  2. We also knew that she would want a smaller group of people celebrating with her. Large groups are overstimulating for highly sensitive introverts.
  3. She would want to be with people she knows and loves. It’s always special for her to see Grandma, Grandpa, Nana, Papa, Auntie, etc.

So, as we discussed possible ideas of ways to celebrate our soon to be 3 yr. old’s birthday we kept these things in mind. Going to the zoo would have been something special to do that set her birthday apart, but it would have been hot and crowded. We could have had a party at home, but we were actually in between homes (having just sold our house and we were building a new one). Also having a party for her would means a larger group of people. Even with just family it’s a rather large group. 

Then the idea came to me to have what I called, “A Progressive Birthday Party.” My husband loved the idea so I began to let our family in town know about the idea. They loved the idea. I worked with family to know what time of day worked best for them. Then we went from family member’s home to another. 

It was amazing! And it was so easy for me to plan. All I really did was coordinate times. Our family each planned their own little celebration. Really the whole thing was one small party after another. We probably had more sweets than I would have liked, but Lil Bug sure didn’t mind that. Each group at each house was limited to the family that lived there and it was just the right amount of attention on her. 

The other great thing about this was there was enough down time between each visit for us introverts to recharge. Well, it was enough until the end of the day. She was pretty exhausted by the end of the day, but she still really enjoyed it. When we ran later than expected, we rearranged our dinner plans to have pizza at home with Nana and Papa. Thankfully they were flexible enough with that.

All in all it was awesome. Lil Bug loved the time that she was able to spend with those she loved and she wasn’t completely overwhelmed by too many people at one time. 

Looking back I probably could have planned it a little better. I could have planned it where we went to the first house and played a game. Then swimming at the next house, followed by dinner at the 3rd. Finally ending with cake at the 4th house. But, either way she enjoyed her day, we were able to include more people, and each person got to celebrate with her in their own way.

Small groups of people who she knew well and loved. That is what we felt she wanted and it turned out that we were right.


  1. I'm introverted too and remember the painful shyness I had. I'veovercome alot but still inside I'm an introvert. Great idea about the progressive Birthday party!

  2. Thanks! That's great that you've overcome a lot of your shyness.


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