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Dry Cupcakes with Excessive Frosting

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My wife came home the other day after picking our kids up from school and she walked in the front door with a flabbergasted look on her face. Dropping all of their bags and lunchboxes on the floor, she held up a handful of envelopes. Looking at me she said, “You have got to be kidding me….four more!”

Horrified, I smashed my face into the pillows on the couch and screamed “NO NO NO!” 

Four more birthday invitations from the kids at school. Dear GAWD no!

A couple of days prior our son came home with 3 other invites, and last month we had to go to 2 birthday parties. Add all of these wonderful party passes up and our weekends are suddenly being consumed with shindigs for goofy classmates that we’ve never even heard of. Parents, are you reading this nodding your heads because you’re experiencing the same frustration? The constant flow of colorful card stock inviting excited peers and annoyed parents to an afternoon of luke-warm pizza, and cupcakes with excessive frosting.

Invites

The invites that are surprising me the most are the ones that are coming from our daughter's pre-school friends. Tiny little 3 and 4 years olds pining for attention at their Frozen themed festivities - and yes they’re ALL Frozen themed. All of them.

We’ve definitely noticed that birthday invites are starting to trend younger and younger.  My guess is not at the request of the little pip-squeaks either, but rather Pinterest parents competing to outdo each other in the world of competitive celebrations. Gone are the days of waiting until your child is pencils deep into elementary school before group birthday parties start - nowadays parents get bombarded by bombastic bashes for little blobs that still poo their pants. Talk about excessive frosting.

Fun right?

And let’s talk cost - start adding up gifts for these sweet little angel children.  Twenty bucks a pop seems to be the going rate for a gift (more if you want to look like the top parent at the party). Add that up over our kids 2 classes and you get roughly 35 gifts that we have to supply (be boo bop boo - math) you’re looking at $700 bucks a year to bestow presents to kids that your child probably doesn’t even like!

My buddy Dom from the radio show came up with a GREAT suggestion on how to alleviate some of the stress and headaches of having to go to so many of these delightful events. I’m totally on board with his recommendation, how about creating 2 massive birthday celebrations that encompass all of the students at once? One for spring and summer birthdays and then one later in the year for fall and winter babies. How great is that idea!? You’re able to knock out a huge chunk of kids all at once - then you’re only ruining two Saturdays a year instead of a couple months worth. And the presents? Either cancel the gifts altogether or maybe adopt this “fiver party” idea that I’ve seen some news outlets covering. In lieu of material gifts, guests can bring five dollar bills to give to the birthday boy/girl. The child can then take their haul from the 10 kids they invited to their party and buy a $50 gift of their choosing - or save the money! The kids learn a little money management and there is far less stress on the gift giver and a whole lot less money spent on these joyous celebrations. You dig it?


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The Frightful, Fitful Fives

Forget the terrible twos and the horrible threes – let’s talk about the little monster that appears when your child turns 5!

The clock struck midnight a few weeks ago and the transformation began. Smoke came billowing out of my son’s room accompanied by flashes of lighting and a thunderous roar. Within seconds a switch had been flipped and we found ourselves living with a pint sized jerk-store. Happy 5th birthday, son.

Our once sweet little boy who was known for his nurturing and caring heart had now turned into an opinionated, sarcastic, back talking little turd!

Are other parents going through this? Where did we go wrong? How did this change happen so fast!? I thought boys didn’t start becoming hormonal nightmares until their teenage years.

The worst part about this negative attitude transformation is that it’s not just confined to our home where we can control it a little easier. We cautiously venture out into the world to run errands just waiting for our little temper tantrum time bomb to explode. What horrific scene will he cause in public today? At grocery stores, at the park, in the mall… nowhere is safe. Where can we hide? We’ve even had an instructor at Reid’s rock climbing class say to him, “You need to chill out, dude”.

Oh, and this is new and fun too – if our little back-talker doesn’t get his way he has no problem throwing himself on the ground with clenched fists and flailing limbs, rockin’ moves that you wouldn’t even see in a Zumba class. The words “NO” and “STOP IT” just don’t seem to work anymore. “QUIET” and “STOP CRYING” won’t even get a reaction. And don’t even bother trying “GO TO YOUR ROOM.” He laughs them all off with a sarcastic little sneer. Our punishments lost all effectiveness the moment he took a bite of his 5th birthday cake.

To combat mister whiny-pants’ new style our parental reactions have had to become a little more creative. We’ve had to adapt to new punishment tactics. Taking away some of this favorite things have seemed to be a worthy violation of his little world. Threats of no more outdoor swimming pool time or no more Paw Patrol on TV have seemed to work just a bit. And if we really need to, we lay the hammer down threatening to – gasp…. take away the Mac ‘n Cheese! Nooooo!

Another great tool we’ve found that has helped curtail the nightmarish behavior is the chore chart!  We have a couple posted on the wall in our kitchen that have really helped with the behaviors and responsibilities that we expect around the house.

Simple tasks like feeding the dog and picking up after yourself now get rewarded with star stickers and smiley faces that can be rewarded with time at the water park or maybe a little toy the next time we’re at Walmart. So far the chore chart has been working – so if you’ve been experiencing some of the same problems that I have, I highly recommend it. It’s a nice visual diagram that your kid can look at and they can see how their good behavior is paying off! You can find a ton of premade templates online if you’re stumped as how to make one. Hope it works for you as much as it has for us – the only downside is that I don’t get all that extra Mac ‘n Cheese we have laying around the house anymore!