Written by Jeanne Martin
Q: My baby’s first birthday is coming up. So many people have asked me, “when’s the big bash?” that now we’re rethinking our planned “cupcake after dinner.”
A: What kind of MOTHER ARE YOU??? You obviously have not rented out Audubon Zoo yet, so you should really get on top of that, because I hear it books up early. And if your thoughts then wander to having the Audubon Tea Room for refreshments, you can just forget that. It’s reserved at least two years out. But not to worry, I’m sure they will be able to accommodate you somewhere in the petting zoo. And your precious tot can blow out her birthday candles perched atop a llama.
And the wonderful thing is, after you’ve spent the 13 grand (gratuity not included), your one year old will have memories to last a lifetime. Oh, wait. Never mind. That’s right, she’s ONLY TURNING ONE. So in fact she won’t remember a thing about the day, and her only concern when she’s older will be why she’s on student loans at the local community college and working part time at Abercrombie to make ends meet. But at least she’s got llama pics for her Facebook page.
I joke of course, but the deal is that the one-year-old birthday party has absolutely nothing to do with the dude in a diaper and everything to do with how many in-laws, cousins, and oh so dear friends we can assemble around a highchair. So I suggest checking in with your CPA and your psychiatrist to assess where you stand with your liquidity and stress threshold, and then make a decision from there. Case in point: my first-born had a throw down the size of an LSU tailgate party pre-Sugar Bowl, but my second turned a year old six weeks after Katrina. She got a bran muffin from Whole Foods, and we sang to her in her hand-me-down jammies, size 4T. Good Times.
Q: My parents buy one gift per grandchild (they have two) each Christmas. Usually it’s something kind of silly. Any suggestions on how we can get a Wii out of them this year?
A: Though it’s shameless beyond reason, here’s a tactic that many of us have witnessed or played part in a million times over. As the kids approach the gifts Christmas morning, train them to do the ole Inspect-The-Wrapping-Thing, shaking it and turning it, massaging it, and even sniffing it. And all the while they need to be squealing, “Oh, I HOPE this is a Wii! It looks like it could be a Wii!! I HOPE I hope I hope I hope…. (repeat this line at least four minutes straight)!”
Make sure they include some hardship line like “ I’ve ALWAYS wanted a Wii and then when Mommy said that her overtime was cut, and her insurance had skyrocketed, we THOUGHT we weren’t going to be able to get one this year! But it looks like you’ve come through for us, Grammy!”
And then make sure they close with a line that stresses community building or social relevance, like “Thanks so much, Grammy. This will really improve my grades, and help me with my sharing issues.”
And so on.
Like I said, not one of the proudest parenting moments, but depending on how well the kids have memorized their lines, and how AUTHENTIC their emotions seem, Grammy will have that spin art toy exchanged faster than you can say, “The Target on the Westbank.”
If all goes according to plan, you may be playing Guitar Hero before the eggnog is gone.