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Archive for the ‘BOOK EXCERPTS’ Category

BIRTHDAY PARTY EXTRAVAGANCE

In BOOK EXCERPTS on September 17, 2010 at 2:05 pm

            Once upon a time birthdays used to be celebrated with family a few friends and a simple birthday cake.  Games such as musical chairs, Tag, Hide n’ seek a few races were all that were required.  What the hell happened?

            Birthday parties now require several months planning and remortgaging your house.  Imagine the stress my husband goes through having to pay for six birthday parties a year! Of course the EMM’s and SM’s are the ones that plan the social birthday party of the year. Not me!  I was the mom who embarrassed my children by insisting those who had birthdays at least two months apart had to have their party together. 

            Well times have changed for sure and these days you can’t have a party unless it is peanut free, egg free, gluten free, and oh hell everything has to be free of some type of ingredient!  Moms must know the updated “in” character for the birthday party theme as parties are just not cool if they are not branded.  You cannot just have plain paper plates and napkins unless you want to be the social outcast.  Everything has to match so if you have Pokémon plates then the hats, streamers, napkins, cups and blowers all better be Pokémon as well.

            It has become a competitive fight for the perfect venue, perfect party, number of guests (apparently the more guests you have the more popular you or your child is) food, and of course the loot bags.  Those friggn’ loot bags!  What the hell ever happened to a plain lunch bag filled with candy?  Oh no, now it is a huge deal and the gifts you put in that fancy or licensed bag costs almost as much as buying an actual birthday present!  It is my belief that loot bags today cost at least ten dollars and up per child.  Ridiculous I know.

            I have to admit though, when I only had my first two children I fell prey to this whole birthday party business.  Boy did I!  Being a former National gymnast I suppose I have a few competitive bones in me and I spent hours making the perfect loot bags.  One of my hobbies is to crochet so when year I actually crocheted the bags and matching hats for the girls, and special Pokemon sacs to hold the trading cards for the boys.  I did a lot of crocheting let me tell you.  I must have been crazy or something.

            Now the whole birthday party is completely different.  If the child really wants a party at a special venue then he or she must share the party with whatever sibling has a birthday closest to them.  For example Sebastian wanted his party at this new indoor playground.  Zachary’s birthday is a month after Sebastian’s and wanted his party there as well.  So I booked one party and they each were allowed eight guests.  This way they both got what they wanted and I only had to pay for one party, saving me about three hundred dollars or so. 

            As my gang of children grew the parties at home became more of a reality.  I am lucky that all but one of my children’s birthdays fall in the spring or summer so it is very easy to plan a party at the house in the backyard.  The children love it, the costs are much as I only have to pay for a few pizza’s, snack food, cake and the loot bags.

            As a mom who has been through many birthday parties I encourage you to try not to fall victim to the competitive birthday party race.  Be creative, and get your child involved in the preparations so they can enjoy themselves more.  If they are turning eight tell them they can only invite eight guests.  If you are brave enough to have a sleep over then cut the guest list in half.  Now speaking of sleepovers there is another alternative you can try – a sleepover without the children actually sleeping at your home.  You have them come in their p.j.’s and bring their pillow, sleeping bags etc..plan for pizza, chips, and then depending on the children and ages, have a make-over session, or a movie and then the guests get picked up at say ten or eleven (again depends on the ages).  The loot bags can even be related to the theme.  If you had a make-over then put lip gloss, fancy soaps and face clothes in the bags.  If it is a party for boys relate it to the movie, for example if it was star wars movie then add a star wars figurine or trading cards in the bags.  Having a simple party may ease your anxiety levels, trim the competitiveness, and save your sanity.  You may be surprised at what a great time you child has.

 

 

 

 

THE LARGE FAMILY

In BOOK EXCERPTS on August 3, 2010 at 8:03 pm

THE HELL JOYS OF A LARGE FAMILY

            Perhaps I should have been born in the late 1940’s because by the time the 60’s rolled around it was commonplace for couples to have four, five, or six children without anyone raising an eyebrow.  Now a days of course it causes others to question your sanity, question your fidelity ( were they really  conceived between you and your husband?) or to ask you the most rudest questions such as the following:

1: Do you know what birth control is?

2: Are any children from a different marriage?

3: Why would you want so many?

4: You have two with special needs, isn’t that enough?

5: Wow, your husband must be good in bed (for the record he is – but is that anyone’s business?)

Ask any mother with multiple children and more than likely she will tell you the work is all relative.  The first child is completely overwhelming with so much work and requiring so much time.  No one understands why you are happy one moment, crying the next, and a few minutes later screaming hysterically.  Any social life you once had is now non-existent so why not add a second child for the poor little burden.  For myself the second child was the hardest, however once number three was popped out he had no choice.  He had to get in line and wait his turn.  After the third I found it just got easier and easier.  Of course one of the brood will be the offspring that lessens the load for the others but I wouldn’t advise giving them that little bit of info unless you are prepared to pay some expensive therapy bills later on in life.

Although are several challenges of a large family there are many advantages:

1: The children always have someone to partner up with, play with, argue with, and fight with.

2: typically you don’t have to worry about where they are because play dates are always at your house.  Why?  Because all of their friends think it is cool to be at your house because you don’t watch over them like it is the first play date, they can be louder, and there are more children to play and fight with.

3: More children to build tents and castles with.

4: More children to plot against mom and dad with.

5: They could share the blame for things but they usually don’t.  Usually they blame everyone else, and why not?  There are more children to point the finger at.

6: At restaurants you sometimes get served faster because they want you to finish and get the hell out.

7: There are more children to run around with and talk to when they are supposed to be sleeping.

8: as soon as your oldest child is old enough you have a built in babysitter.

9: You have no need for pets.  You’ve got enough monkeys

10: What could be more inviting than a loud and interactive household?

“Don’t Worry.”

In BOOK EXCERPTS on July 15, 2010 at 12:03 am

Joshua didn’t go to Pre-K but we started him off in Private school for Junior Kindergarten.  Unlike Marie he had a lot of anxiety, and some other issues.  Believe it or not he probably set the record for being the youngest child to be kicked out of school.

            That’s right.  Kicked out in kindergarten.  It happened about a week after school started.  I had just given birth to the fourth child Arielle and she was in special care so we were all a bit stressed.  Joshua was of course new to the whole school thing and there were a few things he didn’t get right away.  Library was one of them. 

            At this point I knew something wasn’t quite right with Joshua but the so called experts told me I was worrying too much and that he was fine.  Of course years later we now know he has aspergers so it all make sense, but at that time it didn’t. 

            Anyhow, he was at the stage where he was obsessed with the T.V. show Arthur.  So this day in particular Joshua was at school and they had library.  Joshua picked an Arthur book and then (according to Joshua) another boy grabbed it from him and said it was the book he was going take.  Well that set Joshua off on a major meltdown.  The school called the next day and wanted to meet with myself and Paul.  They claimed he wasn’t a good fit for the school and perhaps we should look into having him assessed.  In short they were trying to be polite while they were kicking him out. 

            So in the end we decided that for Junior Kindergarten the best place was a nursery school.  It was the best decision we could make but it wasn’t an easy journey.  Joshua was very anxious and suffered from major separation anxiety.  I can only imagine what must have been going through his head the first week he started when I told him everything would fine and not to worry.  His thoughts probably went something like this:

            My name is Joshua and I am only 4.

            Are you going to kick me out of this school too?

            I have new pants that bug me, a new shirt, and socks that don’t feel right. I haven’t slept well since I was born and I am worried.

            We have a new baby.  What if mommy forgets about me and I have to sleep at school?

            Do we have library at this school?

            What if the other children laugh at me?

            What if it is too loud and I need to run or scream?

            What if I can’t keep my socks on because they bug me?

            What if the other children don’t like me?

            What if the other children don’t like Arthur?  What will I talk about?

            What if I spend the whole day without a friend?

            What if the other children try to take away my Arthur book?

            What if I don’t like the snack and it smells funny?

            What if the teacher gives a seat to everyone and I am left over?

            What if everyone can write their own name but me?

            I’m just a four year old boy, with new pants that bug me, a new shirt, and socks that don’t feel right, but maybe I am as smart as I think I am.  At least I know better than to tell a four year old “not to worry.”

 

THIS IS A HOUSE?

In BOOK EXCERPTS on July 12, 2010 at 11:30 pm

Confession # 8: I used to dream of a beautiful spotless home, full of fresh scents, baked goods, and happy smiling children.  Then I woke up.

            I don’t know how many times I have told my children that we live in a house.  Not a playground, not a park, not a zoo. A house.  For some reason my children find this concept hard to grasp.  So one day I decided to spell it out for them so they understood what was expected of them.  

To my dear children

v  This is a house.

v  Any form of vehicle is not permitted in the house.  This includes scooters, bikes, skateboards, roller skates, in line skates, and remote control cars or airplanes.

v  Ring. Ring. Ring. That is the phone.  Answer the phone in a polite voice and say “hello.” Say “Good-bye.”  Better yet, let the answering machine take a message.

v  Shoes go in the cubbie.  The cubbies your father was so kind to set up for you. The hallway floor is not a cubbie.

v  Your bedrooms are a special place for sleeping, not playing.  Find your bed each day.  Try harder.  Most of the time you cannot see your bed or your bedroom floor because they are covered in clutter.  A cluttered room is a messy room.  Mothers cannot breathe in messy rooms. 

v  The bathroom is a friendly place.  It is there when you need and want it.  Toilet lids do not like to be stood on, or jumped on.  It hurts them. 

v  Boys aim into the toilet, not the wall or any surrounding area.

v  Towels like to be hung up, not left on the floor to be stepped on as they cannot see when they are on the floor.  Soap likes to go on your hands not the walls, or counter tops. Yuck.

v  Tooth paste is for brushing our teeth with.  Not for painting on the walls.

            See Mommy being the slave to so many children?  See mommy crawling on the floor?  Be nice to mommy.  Do you want to drive mommy bonkers?  Then shape up.  Try.  Ty harder.

HALLOWEEN COSTUMES

In BOOK EXCERPTS on July 9, 2010 at 7:00 pm

            With each child,  Halloween has become more and more of a nightmare.  One would think it would become easier because there would be so many costumes to pass down.  No way!  Every year they seem to want newer, bigger and better costumes or they want me to sew them something “special.”  Why? Because I am the Martha Stewart of the neighbourhood. (in my dreams!).

            This past Halloween was particularly crazy when two days before Halloween Arielle came to me and begged me to make her a Princess costume.

            “Why?” I asked “when we have so many beautiful Princess costumes in the playroom that you could wear.”

            “None of those fit me anymore.” She whined.

            She had a good point over the past few months she had grown and put on a few pounds. 

            “Well I don’t know if I have enough time…”

            “Oh please, mommy please! Miranda’s mom made her one!”

            Well of course Miranda’s mom made her one!  Why wouldn’t she?

            “I can’t make any promises but I will try.” I said knowing I had already been sucked in to the depths of sewing hell.

            So for the next twenty four hours I attempted to sew, sweated, swore, threw things, and swore some more.  Finally it was done!  I called Arielle down to see what I had created.

            She looked at me cautiously and asked what it was.

            “What do you mean what is it?” I snapped.  “It’s your princess costume!”

            Arielle bit her lip as she attempted to not to cry. “But, it, looks like a paper bag!” she shouted.

            I couldn’t believe how ungrateful she was being after all my hard work!

            I looked at her disbelief  “Arielle, have you never heard of the paper bag Princess?”

HOLIDAY BLISS

In BOOK EXCERPTS on June 22, 2010 at 3:20 am

Confession #9: In my BTBCD (before the brats came days) I used to dream of happy family gatherings, a  beautifully decorated home, and peace on earth…. now two weeks before school lets out for the holiday break,  I rush to the Dr’s and beg for Prozac.

People who have less than two children often comment how fun Christmas must be in our home with so many children.  Seriously?  Now we know why they only have two or less children if they even have any at all. I really do not do any special planning per say although about a week before school lets out I get into a feverish hyper state and ensure I complete the following:

1. Most important buy LOTS of tylenol Candy canes.

2. Have lots of empty closets to lock the children in hide the presents.

3. Buy all my Christmas duct tape presents early when on sale.

4. Buy lots of alchol juice for the children to drink.

5. Have a good storage of Kleenex.

6. Make sure all flu shots are completed.

7. See my therapist daily before the big day.

8. Get my prescription for Prozac filled.

9. Ensure there is enough Ritalin in the house for those who show any signs of ADHD.

10. Buy myself an updated IPod with good earplugs.

11. Develop an attitude of who cares who ruins the house it’s Christmas.

12. Count the days down to when school starts back and wish my two youngest were full day.

13. Sing “it’s the most wonderful time of the year” when school finally starts back.

14. Thank the heavens that all my children look alike so that when the camera battery is dead and I can’t take any more photo’s I can pull out those from a few years ago and lie smile and say “Oh yes there you are!’  (come on we all do it).

15. So thankful that I have an aspie son who knows how to put together everything better than I do.  Who needs a husband?