Monthly Archives: April 2008

b-day party etiquette

Because the baby is due just before my daughter’s 4th birthday, I figured it would be best to have her little friends’ party ahead of time–and out of the house (after listening to some sage advice from family members and friends). I am glad I followed their advice; this weekend’s party went off without a hitch.

Since my daughter is very into crafts (she even “rescues” used fabric softener sheets for possible projects!), we had an hour and half-long crafting party at a kids’ place that caters to pint-sized Picassos. With stations set up for drawing (with pastels, no less!), painting and, lo and behold, reincarnating paper towel rolls and egg cartons into mini Thomas the Tank Engines, she was in heaven.

I was pleasantly surprised by how well it went: no outbursts, teary scenes, fights over who got to use which color paint, etc. The kids are alright!

Instead, I think I was more perturbed by the mom situation. That is, when it came time to RSVP, we still hadn’t heard from a handful of kids. Because I needed to give the crafts place a head count in advance, I wound up calling the missing people…only to receive harried calls from apologetic mothers, most of whom said they couldn’t make it for one reason or another. Didn’t their own mothers ever teach them the art of polite refusal?

In fact, one of the moms I got to talking to at the party, who happens to be hosting her own son’s birthday this coming weekend at their home, had invited 30 kids–and had only heard from 19 guests. She was interested in my opinion in whether or not she should call the remaining bunch and find out their plans. I told her to me, it was a no-brainer–and even more important to know when you’re having a party at home, trying to plan how much food and goodie bags to make up. That’s one surprise that wouldn’t be a welcome one.

Now, a few days later, thank-yous with photos are in the mail and one mom even came out on a rainy day and dropped off a gift, along with her regrets at being a no-show. (With a sick baby, a husband away on business and 3 other kids, this mom impressed me with her thoughtfulness, no matter how full her life was at the moment).

I can’t say the same for those whose kids didn’t attend, and never sent over a small gift or even mailed a card. Isn’t that the right thing to teach your kids? Maybe it’s still a bit early in the game and/or my standards are a bit too high…but I don’t think I’ll hold my breath. Let’s see if I run into any of them at this weekend’s soiree–and if any of them even mention it.

preparing for big sisterhood

My husband and I took our 4-year-old daughter to the hospital yesterday for a sibling class, geared to prepare her for what it’ll be like when the new baby arrives. I had high hopes, as a friend had recently attended and thought it was extremely helpful. I should begin my mentioning that my daughter is your atypical little girl–NOT a huge fan of dolls (she’d choose Thomas the Tank Engine over a Betsy Wetsy anyday).

So, as you can imagine, when it came time to role-play, Peyton was not having any of this. Practicing diaper changing and burping…does it get your blood pumping, too? In fact, if anything, she seemed rather bored and wanted to know when we could go home.

More useful, perhaps, was our trek over to the nursery where the nurse held up a live baby for our viewing pleasure. A preemie boy (because “none of our ‘regular’ babies were available), he was so small and fragile-looking, it made me catch my breath. I looked over at Peyton who my husband was holding up, so she could get a better look, and realized that in a few short few weeks, this little baby of mine would have her place as “baby” usurped, and I felt a genuine pang of pure empathy. Would she be OK with this change in her young life? I could only hope so…

not-so-maiden voyage

As I count down the weeks (one month to go!) to the birth of my second child, I can’t help but smile a bit knowingly at the wide world of baby gear. Since my daughter was born nearly four years ago, I’ve managed to (finally!) figure out just which products were worth their weight in gold (a digital ear thermometer for painless, barely invasive fever checks) and those that still have me scratching my head (wipes warmer? Give me a break…I wanted my kid to learn early on that not everything in life is peaches and cream.)

Today, I’m investing in some items that have emerged since my last time shopping for a newborn: a take-along swing (so much more practical than the bulky, take-up-more-space-than-I-can-bare to-swallow models) and a diaper bag that acts more like a functional tote than one that claims to have a life beyond the first year.

While I’m amazed at the advancement in technology that’s occurred–flat-screen video monitors and strollers equipped with MP3 ports–I’m happy to say I won’t be seizing them up anytime soon. Call me old-fashioned, but I’d rather use nap time to catch up on e-mails and take a few minutes of a breather than analyze my child’s every breath and movement. And as for the music-moving machine, I think I’ll settle for the sweet sound of the birds overhead.

Sweet dreams, baby…