Category Archives: Birthdays

Birthday Cake Makes My Kids Homicidal

Since Halloween is almost upon us, I wanted to bust out some scary stories from my life to shock and amaze.  Sadly, what I came up with will make me look like a bad person at worst, and at best be ridiculously funny.  So after some thought I chose to lead off with the story that makes me look like a bad parent and my children look like demon spawn.  At least you all will get some entertainment from this, but I am still traumatized so at least one of us has been adequately affected.

My daughters are for the most part sweet children, but they are a tad high strung.  I can actually hear my immediate relatives laughing right now from distant corners of the globe at this grievous understatement.  Okay, to be fair they are very high strung, and I do not give them any caffeine at all because they already act like addicts going through withdrawal.  Their sugar consumption is also strictly monitored because it doesn’t take much to send them into the atmosphere for hours.  They are actually quite wonderful, and they just have so much nervous energy (I blame this on my husband who is exactly like them) so as long as they are kept busy and not overstimulated, they act like relatively normal children.

I wonder if Disney Princesses have this problem...

I wonder if Disney Princesses have this problem…

So let’s introduce a far from normal scenario for my girls: a kids’ birthday party.  We walk into a house we’ve never been to before, and there are a dozen weird children running around screaming.  Something starts to slowly fray in my girls’ frontal lobes until they reach a point of no return when they are no longer able to make reasonable decisions or think anything through before trying to beat their peers senseless.   After so much cake, ice cream, wrapping paper flying through the air, and adrenaline soaked girl drama, my kids just lose their cool and go completely ballistic.  I am terrified of finding party invitations tucked into their school folders and try to dispose of them quickly before they remember that classmates had passed the invites around.  I cringe when neighbors casually invite us to an impromptu party because I just know my kids will probably beat up their kids or kill their cat or set their house on fire, and then there is a good chance we won’t be friends anymore.  I get the feeling that some of you readers (those who are not immediate family and close friends) don’t believe me, so I am going to present a list of evidence as to why I am so traumatized by my children’s behavior.

Birthday Party #1

Everything was fine until it was time to go.  In my defense, I let my daughters stay through the entire party, so they had plenty of time to play.  When I told them to put their shoes on they both went boneless and flopped around on the floor crying.  I had to drag them up the stairs to the front door.  This was at a house where I hardly knew the hosts or anyone else, so I was getting a lot of mixed looks of sympathy and judgment.  Once I had the front door open my girls both grabbed onto the door frame and held on for dear life, bawling like stuck pigs.  I had to pry them loose and drag them out to the car.  The whole time they were screaming “No Mommy! No!” as if I were beating their butts.  So embarrassing.

Birthday Party #2

Amazingly I allowed the girls to attend a second party the following weekend, thinking surely that last party was just a fluke and they would be on their best behavior.  I was so wrong.  This time we were at a recreation center and again I was with parents I didn’t know very well.  These were the parents of kids I work with at the school, and most were the bratty ones –that would be parents and kids.  I had a bad feeling when we walked in, and instinct told me to make up an excuse to leave early.  But no, I stayed and made polite conversation with some of the cattiest mothers I have ever met while their children started instigating trouble with mine.  And then I saw it coming: S-n-n-n-n-a-a-a-p!  Both Annie and Alexis (my girls) decided that they had been pushed around enough and tiny fists started flying.  I had to do the right thing, so I collected my screaming, red faced children, made apologies, scolded my girls and loaded them into the car.  But secretly I was proud of them.  I was sick of listening to their mothers but I couldn’t indulge in that behavior, no matter how much I wanted to slap their prissy faces.

Birthday Party #3

Surprisingly we were invited to yet another party, this time by a sweet mom who had witnessed the behavior at Party #1, and she either didn’t judge me or didn’t care because Annie is close friends with her daughter.  I was really paranoid by this time, especially because the party was in an art center where I had done three months of teaching internship.  I really did not want to make a bad impression, and as we were driving to the art center, I kept envisioning horror scenarios of paint splattering like blood onto the expensive art for sale in the gallery.  I read my girls the riot act before we went inside, “Mommy used to work here, there is nice art on the walls, you absolutely have to be on your best behavior!  If you do one thing, if you hit someone, if you scream, if you do anything mean, we will leave and you will lose all privileges for a week!” I shrilled at them before we got out of the car.  Things went fine until Annie felt that she had been wronged by a toddler who took a cupcake topper that Annie had claimed.  Annie was 7 years old at the time, but she had snapped once again and there was no rationalizing that a 2 year old should be spared her wrath.  I intervened and discretely threatened the death penalty so Annie would calm down.  We somehow made it out of the art center with no casualties, but it took some very strategic thinking and fast moving on my part.

Birthday Party #4

This party was the most traumatic party of all, to date.  Some close friends invited me and the girls to their house for a small get together to celebrate their son’s first birthday.  They went all out: delicious meal, homemade cake, a piñata full of candy in the back yard.  My girls were so excited they could hardly contain their joy at the prospect of filling a little bag with goodies.  There were not many children at the party, and very little chance for drama, so I relaxed a bit, had a tiny glass of wine, and chatted with other guests.  I let my girls have a huge piece of the homemade cake as a courtesy to the hostess, since I could not eat gluten.  I swiped a finger of frosting off the cake and wished I could ignore my diet for a day.  I was starting to think that maybe those bad birthday parties were just anomalies, three bad coincidences in a row and nothing more.  Then my friends announced that it was time to break open the piñata.  Each child had a turn.  Apparently I had not been paying enough attention to my own children because I didn’t hear the sound of Annie snapping.  But everyone saw her take the two foot piñata bat when it was her turn and come after her little sister with a murderous glint in her eyes.  She actually managed to chase Alexis a few feet, swinging the bat viciously, before another adult grabbed her.  Oh, mortification, take me now!  I wanted to die.  We all cried in the car on the way home.  My friend sent two enormous pieces of cake along for “when the girls are feeling better”.  I ate them both for dinner that night with more wine and got very sick.  I didn’t care.  This party had confirmed my worst fears.  My children absolutely cannot tolerate birthday parties, not even a little bit.

Birthday Party #5

We abstained from birthday parties for a long time after that.  I was so traumatized that I couldn’t even consider the idea of sending my kids to a party.  The potential repercussions were too horrifying to imagine.  Then a neighbor up the street invited us to a casual little shindig and I thought, well maybe this will be a good opportunity to gauge their “progress”.  Oh why do I do this to myself?  My girls were horrible all day, screaming at each other, hitting each other, talking back to me, typical sisterly behavior.  They actually lost their privilege to go to the party, and I was going to make them take a nap.  Then miraculously, they stopped fighting, began to treat each other politely, picked up their toys, got dressed, and apologized to me.  So I basically fell for it, but told myself that they had earned enough redemption to go to the party.  The neighbor’s house was close enough to walk, so we strolled over, but the whole time I was reiterating my riot act.  I told them it would only take one act of violence or disrespect and we would leave immediately.  They made it exactly 30 minutes before Annie punched Alexis in the chest.  And I kept my word; we walked home immediately, me striding ahead angrily and the girls crying and yelling and stomping behind.  It was a tiny parade of rage for the whole neighborhood to watch.

So I have come to three possible conclusions and they are all scary.  Either 1) my children truly are demon spawn, 2) somehow I have failed as a disciplinarian, or 3)  birthday parties are just too intense for my children, AND other parents have this same problem but just aren’t talking.

So if anyone else has this problem, and more importantly some hilarious and scary stories of birthday party debacles, I would love to hear them!  You can share by commenting at this site, or if you are my friend of Facebook, you can join the conversation there.  Halloween parties are coming up next week, please pray for my family, and any families that may be directly impacted by my children!

—G

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Calling All October Babies

My beautiful picture

Hey all you October babies out there!  This is your month to celebrate, and I fully expect you to party!  Whether you have already had a birthday or are still anticipating your special moment, there is no reason why there can’t be weekend revelries!  October is quite possibly the best month to have a birthday.   Besides being the most gorgeous turning point between autumn and winter, the beloved harbinger of Oktoberfest and Halloween, October is also the month of:

Health Literacy, Domestic Violence Awareness, Celiac Sprue Awareness, Breast Cancer Awareness, Dental Hygiene, Down Syndrome Awareness, Infertility Awareness, SIDS Awareness, Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness, Dwarfism Awareness, among many others.

German, Polish, Italian, Filipino and Hispanic History in the United States.  October is a good time to educate yourself through awareness and also to celebrate our country’s cultural melting pot!

Stamp Collecting, Clergy Appreciation, Fair Trade Awareness, Auto Battery Safety Observance, Physical Therapy Appreciation, Archeology Appreciation, and National Squirrel Awareness (I did not make this up but thank goodness someone finally brought national attention to squirrels because they really need the spotlight).  So bust out your old stamp collections, get your car batteries checked, and party your bums off, luscious Libras and sassy Scorpios!  Just watch out for those nutty squirrels…

October is also Pizza, Popcorn, Cheese and Sausage making month.  Do you need another reason to have a party in your honor?  All these foods go together beautifully!

Here’s a fun fact: October 5th is the most common birthday in the United States.  My lovely mother was born on this day.  The theory behind this phenomenon is that if you count back a full term pregnancy from the 5th of October you arrive at…New Year’s Eve.  Kind of makes sense when you think about it.  So if you are still feeling unsure whether or not you need a reason to party this weekend, I will leave you with this thought.  Your birthday (and birth month) only comes around once a year, and you deserve to make some memories.

—G

32 Hurts!

Today I am in pain, but yesterday was great.  Yesterday was a good birthday.  Several adoring fans (parents) called to sing to me off key, I received lovely cards and gifts, and I had a pretty wonderful day.  I finally set up a Facebook account.  Please stop laughing at me.  I know that I mentioned in my previous post that I do not do technology.  For years now people have been asking me why I don’t have Facebook and I had so many good answers: creepy stalkers, Taliban spies, baby photo thieves, computer hackers, not enough time, carpal tunnel syndrome, PMS… the list goes on.  But now I really do need Facebook to help me network.  All I need to do is Friend ten million people on Facebook and convince them to read my blog and then I will be set.  Simple enough!

Anyway, impossible dreams aside, my birthday was awesome.  I got to do mostly what I wanted.  I did still have to go to work, but what I do for money is a pleasure.  Whoa!  Let me restate that.  What I do for money involves kids.  Hmm, somehow that’s worse.  Might as well just say it: I work as a noon aide at the neighborhood school, so for a few hours each day I basically herd 400 unruly children between playground and lunchroom, scolding and consoling in turn.  I am sort of a mix between Mary Poppins and R. Lee Ermey.  There are many reasons why I like this job.  Although I am not being paid hand over fist, I get to work minimal hours and I get free time for the rest of the day to do things like run errands, take naps, exercise, and hey, blog!  I also get to see my own children at the school, and who hasn’t had the dream of literally being paid to yell at their own kin.  An unexpected bonus of this job, and the reason I love going to work, is that I have learned so much about myself and humanity through the eyes of children.  It is amazing and humbling to be around a group of tiny people who put so much trust in you and depend on you so completely to wipe away tears, solve territory disputes, organize schedules, and be a disciplinarian without being a tyrant.  Very humbling indeed.  So I try to temper my drill sergeant spasms with sugary sweetness and have found that my method seems to be working.  The kids I have yelled at the most over the last year love me the most and give me the most hugs.  Go figure.

So after being hugged by more adoring fans at work I still had kids hanging out at my house (again the perils of being a favorite noon aide) and once I chased them off it was party time.  The hubby and girls surprised me with the most beautiful handmade outdoor coffee table, with a beer bottle cap grouted top!  They had been not-so-secretly working on it in the garage for several days and had hidden it under a sheet.  It is so cool, and I am afraid to put it on the deck and subject it to ugly Kansas weather, but I also can’t wait to sit on the deck when the sun comes up and have coffee on my new coffee table!  We also went out for dinner at my current favorite local Mexican restaurant, La Fiesta.  I like going there because the wait staff is very willing to coordinate with the kitchen staff and accommodate my several annoying food sensitivities, and the food is quite delicious.

Everything was going great until a horrendous migraine struck and I ended up curled up on the floor of our living room after the rest of the family went to bed.  Coincidentally, that is how I found the sweet, secret birthday message that my husband and girls wrote in marker under the coffee table.  It made me feel a little better. It’s the little things, ya know?  This morning I have a migraine hangover and feel every second of my 32 years.  Today will be especially rough.  Migraines always leave me loopy and weird, not the best way to start out a new year of life.  Life in Kansas has been rough on our family.  I can’t say living anywhere else would be easier, but it has been difficult to the extent that I cracked a joke to my neighbor one day: “I’m not Catholic, but I think we are in Purgatory”.  A devout Catholic, she laughed, and continued to be on speaking terms with me.  I must be on to something.

Coffee                                             My super cool new coffee table, hand made by angels!