Saturday, July 31, 2010

Walking the plank...

My kids were born 10 days apart. Wait. Let me clarify. They were born 10 days shy of two years apart. For one of the most fertility-challenged women I know, November was a good month for me.

This sucks for several reasons.

#1: Mother's jewelry loses it's interest. They have the same birthstone. So, it's like, "Oh, what a nice ruby ring. And another ruby ring. Or, a ring with two rubies. How clever. Oh, maybe I'll get the pendant mother's necklace. But do I buy two ruby dangles or just one? Isn't two redundant? But won't one child get gypped if I only buy one ruby dangle? If I buy two, how will I know which ruby is for which kid?" You see. It becomes complicated. Sucks the joy right out of etsy, I swear.

#2: To party en masse, or not. This one I seriously struggle with. We have a large family. This family typically shows up for every kid party, driving in from the country, some from out of state, to celebrate. Wouldn't it be just a tad silly and selfish to expect them to do this twice in one month? BUT...don't the kids deserve their own special party? Don't they deserve to celebrate the miracle that is their birth independently? I mean, it's hardly their fault their momma didn't consider the ramifications of this when she was planning their conceptions. Hold on. Let me recover from the hysterical laughter [ . . . ] Ok. I'm good now.

#3: Kid parties in the summer suck donkey balls. Period. It's flipping hot in Louisiana in July and all of your school friends are totally MIA. It reminds me of my childhood, celebrating my birthday in late November. I made do with crazy aunts and uncles singing off key and candles stuck in pumpkin pie.

So, suffice it to say, I am working against a few obstacles in birthday party planning. To complicate matters, I have extremely high party ambitions. I like to fancy myself a party creating diva. My kid's parties (with the exception of last year, where I fell hard ONTO the wagon and did the whole thing the morning of at Dollar Tree and Sam's's the year that shall remain nameless...and themeless. Unless primary colors count as a theme) are pretty special. I mean, there is generally sewing involved. And tiered cakes. And fondant. And Photoshop. I enjoy this. I truly do. I get tremendous pleasure out of envisioning something and then bringing the vision to fruition. Before you think I'm getting all high and mighty about this, let me assure you, I am not. I pretty much am aware I am doing this for myself, and not the kids. Evangeline will not remember the 500 yards of pink tulle I spent hours draping for her first birthday. Harrisen will likely not remember three tiers of icicle-dripping glacier cake with dancing penguins on it...with his penguin printed shorts that matched the tablecloth that matched the banners, that matched his sister's dress....etc that I pulled off 2 weeks postpartum with a newborn. I was a little bit crazier then. Ok, a lot crazier then.

Sanity improvements aside, I still put a lot of internal pressure on myself to do their birthdays up right. I still art direct a theme and spend a lot of time on eBay, Oriental Trading and Birthday Express. This year, because my life remains out of control with school, I caved to the dual party. I just couldn't make it work otherwise and the kids seemed ok with it. At first, H wanted a robot party. Dwen was set on mermaids. Now, I'm good, but I ain't THAT good. (Though I would be lying if I said I didn't at least consider how to meld the two themes.) Long story shorter, the power of suggestion worked and Harrisen now thinks it was his idea to have a pirate and mermaid party. Arrrrgh, matey.

The kids are getting old enough to really get the concept of the party and be excited about it. They are even old enough to assist with the guest list. I was addressing invites yesterday and called them over to peruse the Montessori directory, just so I didn't inadvertently invite the spawn of Satan or the bane of their existence the party. Harrisen went first. There was nobody he wanted to exclude from his list. Typical for my angel boy. While we couldn't invite his whole enormous class, he truly wanted to.

Then, I called Evangeline over to compose her guest list. She took this very seriously. (some names have been changed to protect the innocent.)

K: Ok, Dwen. We can't invite all of your friends, so let's choose some who are your best best friends, ok?
E: Ok, mommy.
K: How about Jessica?
E: She cries a lot. She doesn't like to come into the classroom.
K: Ummm...ok. How about Samantha?
E: I can't say her name.
K: But we can still invite her. Even if you can't say her name.
E: Ok, mommy.
K: Let's see...Clayton?
E: He eats rice cakes. The big people kind.
K: Really? Well, do you want to invite him?
E: Ok, mommy.
K: Let's see. Lila. You love Lila. You talk about her a lot!
E: OH! Yes! Lila wears a flowered dress!
K: Every day?
E: Yep.
K: James. Your teacher said James is your good good friend.
E: Uh huh! He is gooooooood! He helps me! He brings me water for the speckled frogs!
K: Really? Let's see...a few more. How about Trey?
E: (serious look. very serious.) He. He. He eats his food when it's not lunchtime.
K: Oh dear.
E: (nods. Still very serious. I can tell this is a crime of massive proportion in Toddler North.)
K: Ok, one more. How about Brandon?
E: (looks shy, bats her eyes and glances away.)
K: (Oh shit. Let's not invite Brandon.)

It took the majority of the afternoon and evening for me, in cooperation with Daddy, to get the invite design finished, re-designed (remember, I mentioned cooperating with Daddy?), printed, trimmed, addressed and stamped. We even missed the trip to the park I had promised the kids. Harrisen was surprisingly understanding. We returned from the post office about 8:00 PM.

H: Whew. Mommy, those invitations were a lot of work, weren't they?
K: Yes, honey they take a lot of time.
H: But it will be so worth it. It will even be worth missing the park today.
K: (How did I end up with a compassionate five year old? Thank you, God.)

So, next weekend, I will walk the plank in our first birthday celebration where Mommy and Daddy will have to cooperate in public, for an event that is emotional in the sheer fact that their original birthdays were the happiest days of our lives together. I don't dread it, but there is a little fear of the unknown. I know it will be, essentially, a happy day. The kids will be delighted, and I will be surrounded by family and friends who love me. But it's hard to ignore the added stress that the party not only has to look good, but that I have to be a shining example of single-mommyhood with a perfectly functioning-though-separate family. Perhaps I should plan to serve a little grog with the buttercream.

Happy birthday to my miracles.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Bucket List.

I have been meaning to actually put this down for over a year now. It's been stirring in my brain since last summer when I helped my friend, Kelly, click one off her bucket list. Somehow, forcing yourself to put it in tangible form holds you more accountable. These are in no particular order, as is obvious by number one...

1. Milk a cow
2. Participate in a chili cook off.
3. Stay in an over the water bungalow
4. Sing in an opera
5. Build a teardrop camper
6. Build an amazing treehouse
7. Learn to surf
8. Make love in the rain
9. Take my children to Africa
10. Deliver a baby
11. Have my writing published Nationally
12. See the Pope
13. Finish my Master's degree
14. Fly in a helicopter
15. Serve on a medical mission
16. Learn to play an instrument
17. Direct a play
18. Attend a silent retreat
19. Cruise to Alaska
20. Tour the death camps in Poland
21. See the auroraborealis
22. Complete a triathalon
23. Run a 5k in under 30 minutes
24. Go to a nudist resort
25. See the pyramids
26. Participate in a protest
27. Take the kids to at least 20 of the National Parks
28. Put $100 on black
29. Sit on a jury
30. Visit Acadie
31. Memorize the rest of "Paul Revere's Ride"
32. Donate blood
33. Boil a lobster at home
34. Ballroom dance
35. Swim with seals
36. Take a bath in a tub full of warm chocolate milk

So...36 far. One for each year of my life. There are some common and religion, for sure. There is a lot of random. There are a few that are slightly embarrassing. In fact, in a way, all of these are a wee bit embarrassing. I'm not fond of discussing in public all the things I have not done, but if you want to get things accomplished, it's best to write them down. If you had to pick three things you don't want to leave this world without accomplishing, what would they be?