Inside Tia Mowry-Hardrict’s Shark-Themed Bash for Son Cree’s 5th Birthday: ‘My Child Is Really and Truly Growing Up!’

06/28/2016 at 01:00 PM ET

When it came to planning Tia Mowry-Hardrict‘s son Cree‘s fifth birthday party on Saturday, the theme was a no-brainer.

“Cree is really into sharks,” Mowry-Hardrict tells PEOPLE exclusively. “He can tell you all kinds of sharks — hammerhead, reef. I wanted to have the theme tailored to him.”

The Mindy Weiss-planned fête was complete with an inflatable submarine, bubble play (“my sister [Tamera Mowry-Housley] and I loved that!”) and shark-bite décor (think flip-flops with jaw marks!).

Tia Mowry son Cree shark birthday party
Michael Simon/Startraks

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Tia Mowry son Cree shark birthday party
Michael Simon/Startraks

Tia Mowry son Cree shark birthday party
Michael Simon/Startraks

And Cree (who wore head-to-toe Janie and Jack) had a very special birthday gift, thanks to his mom and dad Cory Hardrict, 36.

“We gave him a remote-controlled submarine,” says Mowry-Hardrict. “He just had to have it. He was reminding me of it every day before his party!”

Tia Mowry son Cree shark birthday party
Michael Simon/Startraks

Tia Mowry son Cree shark birthday party
Michael Simon/Startraks

Tia Mowry son Cree shark birthday party
Michael Simon/Startraks

At the bash, guests snacked on hot dogs, hamburgers, fries and lemonade as they celebrated, though Mom admits she was momentarily overcome with emotion.

“When everyone started to sing ‘Happy Birthday’ to Cree and I saw the number five on the cake, it all just hit me,” says Mowry-Hardrict, 37. “I realized, ‘Oh my gosh, my child is really and truly growing up!’ ”

— Aili Nahas

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Showing 13 comments

Court on

OMG cut that child’s hair. He’s really cute but the hair is just horrible.

Nancy on

I agree . . cut his hair; he looks like a girl. SMH.

Marie on

Yes he is a cute boy, but his hair needs to be fixed.

Deanna on

Love the theme and his hair; leave it as it is! 😍😍

Ashley S. on

Nice birthday party and beautiful family! I love his hair.. It’s curly and perfect. Let her style HER SON’s hair how she wants to plus he may even like it curly. I don’t see you guys complaining about Tamera son’s curly brown hair. 🙄🙄🙄🙄🙄🙄🙄🙄

Soulster Vibes on

His hair is absolutely beautiful! Leave it as it is! I’m sure his hair fits with his personality which I commend his parents allowing him to express himself in that way. Curly hair is certainly acceptable on little boys. Kudos!

April on

Great job Tia & Cory! Yes your lil man is growing up!!! It’s time for a lil sister now! Happy Birthday Cree Cree!🎂🎉🎉🎉🎉🎉🎉

Anonymous on

I absolutely love his hair! I think he is super adorable! If he wants to have long hair, he should absolutely be allowed to. I don’t know why people get so weird about guys/boys having long hair..

Mandy on

I like that cake and want to have some.

stacey on

Darling cake, and I love all the pretty blues the family is wearing!

Tanya on

Aww cute boy LOL.

kellyrsmith15 on

Beautiful family and the child has gorgeous hair!!! It’s natural for him, people should really mind their own business when it comes to stuff like that!!

Anonymous on

Love the hair! Great personality

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