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Egciding birthday extravaganzas

Submitted by on Sunday, 1 June 2008 No Comment

Originally published May 25, 2007, thehive.modbee.com  

Big Guy is “so egcided” today. There’s a birthday party at school, complete with Happy Meals – which he largely won’t eat, but, hey, there’s a toy involved! – and a jump house.

Correction: A jumping house.

“It’s not a jump house, Mommy,” he lectured this morning. “It’s not a bounce house. It’s a jumping house. That’s what all my friends call it.”

Thanks heavens he set me straight. There’s nothing worse than being a fuddy-duddy parent who’s not hip to the current slang.

I’d rather he be a little less egcided, though. Bounce house … er, jumping houses … are the bane of my existence. Big Guy loves them – in theory, at least.

I hate them, and not just because they’re an expensive splurge. I view them almost as disdainfully as I do parking a kid in front of a television, though at least they’re active entertainment. But they’re still easy gratification. No-effort, hands-off entertainment that keeps kids busy with little actual adult involvement.

Admittedly, I’m swimming upstream on this issue, and everyone knows what happens to salmon that do this. They’re bruised and bloodied on arrival. And then they die.

Last year, I foolishly gave way to the clamoring for a jump house at his birthday party at school.
Call it a momentary lapse of reason. He was egcided for weeks at the thought of one. He was egcided that morning when he saw it at school. And then he refused to get in.

To make it worse, his birthday was in the middle of last summer’s heat wave, so the kids couldn’t use it after noon. The company I rented from was two hours late, and it wasn’t ready until around 10. The net result: $65 blown for about an hour and a half of entertainment that wasn’t all that entertaining.

It won’t happen again, and not just because of the wasted money. Because the truth is, I am  an old fuddy-duddy parent, who believes in old-fashioned, fuddy-duddy birthday parties, not circus-like extravaganzas before the kid is even old enough that he’ll remember it.

That’s why Big Guy never has had what my favorite sanctimommy calls a “real” birthday party. We’ve always done cake and pizza and presents at home, but just with family.

I’m toying with having a “real” one this year, though I fear that will lead to disappointment. I think I’d cry real, bitter tears if he were egcided about his friends coming to a party and then they didn’t show.

It’ll take a sales job, but I think I can get him egcided about a fuddy-duddy party.

I’m leaning toward an airplane theme, since that’s his latest obsession. He wants to be a pilot when he grows up, and he also has jobs planned for the whole family. I’ll be a flight attendant – he’s still a male chauvinist piglet – Daddy will put the soupcases on the plane, and Little Guy will be a mechanic.

We can build an airplane cake, and he’ll have a blast helping me decorate it. I’m stuck on activities, other than “pin the tail on the airplane.” But I’m fairly creative at times, and I’m sure I can come up with something – weeks’ worth of projects we can work on together.

I just hope it will be enough to get him so egcided that he’ll forget all about the easy gratification of the jumping house.

Copyright 2007 Debra Legg. All rights reserved.

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