Monday, January 26, 2009

Birthdays in this day and age ...

I've been doing a lot of thinking lately about how different birthdays and birthday parties are from when I was younger.

It all started when I was unloading Alyssa and Joel from the car to go to our little buddy Sammy's birthday party. Alyssa innocently asked, "What birthday is Sammy having?" and I assumed that she was asking how old he was turning. I told her that he was turning two years old and she replied, "No, I mean ... puppies or monkeys or Fancy Nancy or Hannah Montana ... ". It didn't help that just that week we had been looking through a birthday party catalog and she had planned out every birthday party for both her and Joel for the next 7 years - she had themes on the mind. So it really got me to thinking how she doesn't know birthday parties that don't have a theme. Not horrible in the grand scheme of what some kids her age think of when they think of birthday parties.

Then a couple weeks ago I was getting an adjustment from my chiropractor before we went another kid birthday party and Dr. C asked me if the party was "anywhere fun" when I finished telling him our plans for the rest of the weekend. I immediately replied, "No, just at his house", which I didn't think twice about until Dr. C responded with a dejected "Oh." Like its not a "real" party in this day and age unless you GO somewhere.

And the final icing on the birthday cake (ha) has come with the planning off Alyssa's bff Sophie's birthday. I started feeling uneasy when her mom told me that about 20 kids were invited ... about 5 that Sophie really knows, the rest are her parents co-worker's kids. Kids that she probably saw last year at her birthday party and has probably been to their parties, but not necessarily kids that she would care whether they were there or not. I just kept thinking "quality not quantity". It was held at a local cake decorating place. Which the kids did all have fun eating icing and getting to decorate a mini-two tiered cake that they got to take home - I will say that. But I came home feeling really sad. Sophie sat a table with her mom's co-workers kids. And the ones that probably mattered the most - Alyssa, her parents good friends little boy, and another little girl from the neighborhood that she plays with frequently - were stuck at a table way in the back. Alyssa probably got about 2 minutes of "face time" with Sophie the entire time we were there. And most of that was when Alyssa was called up to present her present to Sophie. She got to stand there while Sophie opened it, the woman who owned the place announced what it was, then Alyssa was quickly shoo-ed back to her seat. It reminded me of Ralphie getting kicked down the "Santa slide" during "A Christmas Story". I don't think Alyssa or Sophie probably thought anything of it, but it made me sad that the party felt so structured and "sterile". And Sophie's parents just sat off to the side and watched. I would totally want to be involved with my kids' parties. I would want to be the one helping them open their presents, not some woman who had never met them before. I feel like the main reason for a birthday party is to get together with the people who love you and to celebrate. Hang out, let the kids play, have a good time, go with the flow ... which is not what I witnessed yesterday.

Last night we were talking about the day and Alyssa told me that when she turns 5 she wants a Hannah Montana party. But then she said something that warmed my heart and made me feel like maybe there's hope for me to raise a "good" kid, who doesn't come to expect all the frill and hubbub ... "but I just want to stay home for my party, Mommy". No problem.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

What's wrong with this picture?

aka "Overheard at Daycare"

"Joel, that's Will's purse. Please give it back to Will and we'll go find your purse"
*insert Will and Joel both screaming "MINNNEEEEEEEEEEE!" at the same time*
"Where's Joel's purse? That's Will's, buddy, let's go find yours. Where's the pink polka dot purse?"
*Will brings me me Joel's polka dot purse, so I not-so-gently remove the cherry purse from Joel's clutches*
*Joel cries*
"Joel! Look what I'm putting in your purse ... its a barbie! Look, there's a barbie in your purse!"

The tears finally subsided when he discovered the Hannah Montana microphone that had been "lost" on top of the washing machine. "its the best of both worlds!!!!!!"

I'm kind of afraid to take him over to the Kleffmans' house ... he might get beat up.

Now our boy Joel is hoarding all of his toys in a pile and if you even look at him he roars at you. Methinks the terrible twos arrived just on schedule. *sigh*

But he did just offer me some of his cheez-its, so maybe there's still hope for him.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Professionalism, please

I have struggled with one of my daycare families for several months now. Really since they started ~ I "lovingly" refer to one of their children as the "poopinator" - an almost 4 year old who would routinely take off his pull up during naptime and get poop all over my furniture, carpet, etc. For the last 3 months I have jumped through hoops for them when they decided that they wanted to drop from two days a week to one day a week without any formal "warning". Then they wanted to change their hours so that their kids got dropped off about 15 minutes before my schedule naptime. Then about 3 weeks ago they decided they needed two days a week again and promised to get in touch with me so we could discuss a schedule. Getting in touch with me last week was calling at 6:30 Sunday night to see if I wanted to watch the kids on Monday. Getting in touch with me this week was e-mailing me Sunday afternoon to inform me that they had hired a nanny to come to their house and wouldn't be needing me anymore. Credit to them they did offer to bring their kids for two more weeks since I have a "two week notice" clause in my contract.

My first thought was to e-mail back and say, "Screw you, forget it ... good riddance". I was horribly upset. I was so relieved when they announced that they were going to go back to two days a week because it would make our money situation a lot more comfortable and now we're losing that income all together. I'm not sorry to see them go at all because its been nothing but issues and stress and annoyances with them since they started. But I am sorry to see the paycheck go.

But as I've thought about it more and more, I think the thing that upsets me the most is that she felt the need to tell me via an e-mail. Didn't even have the respect/courtesy to call me and tell me "in person". Almost since the start of our "relationship" I have felt that these parents appreciated everything I have done for them, but didn't have a lot of RESPECT for me ... and that's something that I think really stinks. I am the last person that wants to engage in any sort of confrontation, but be an adult for crying out loud!

I know everything will work out and I know that I will be a lot happier having this family out of my life, but for now I just want to be as childish as the mom is/was and just tell them to stick it where the sun doesn't shine (for Adam ... Seattle, Washington). But I'm going to sleep on it and then respond tomorrow. Or as Adam suggested, wait until Wednesday night since Thursday is their "regular" daycare day.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

I'm first!

I'm not sure if I've mentioned this on here before or not, but the past couple weeks Alyssa has been obsessed with screaming "I'm first" and throwing herself right up against me (to prevent anyone else being able to get anywhere close to me and possibly getting something before her) when I'm making breakfast, handing out snacks, trying to get kids dressed etc. Joel has picked up on her habit, so I swear one of his first full sentences was "I first!" (it was either that or "I'm a dog" which he regularly says as he's crawling around on all fours and panting).

This afternoon I was handing out fruit snacks and Alyssa started getting pouty because I handed one to Joel before she could proclaim that she was supposed to be first. I told her that she could be first next time and reminded her that she and Joel had to take turns. Then I asked her if she wanted any Nilla Wafers and she was very excited about the prospect, so I handed her two of them. I then gave 2 to Joel and she handed hers back to me and said that she didn't really want them, she just wanted to be first.

Ah, kids.