Goody Bags Suck

goody bags

I hate birthday party goody bags. They are idiotic. What evil genius suggested that it might be fun to give little swag bags to a bunch of 8-year-olds? I don’t know who the whack-o is who came up with the idea, but I know the whack-o who is going to put a stop to it…and that’s me.

WHY are we giving out freaking goody bags? Did we get goody bags when we were younger? I don’t think so. (Either that, or they were so bad that my mind has blocked them out.) But I don’t think that our parents were foolish enough to hand out little prize bags to kids just for coming to our birthday parties. That’s not how things worked back then. Back then if you got invited to a birthday party you went, played pin the tail on the donkey, handed over the present that your mom sent you with, and you got a piece of homemade cake. That was it. If you asked for something else someone threw a shoe at you.

Now, birthday parties are a whole big, annoying, freaking experience.

They break down sort of like this:

1 month before your child’s birthday you’re like, “Shit! So-and-so’s birthday is in a month. I mean, of course, yay! But still, shit.”

You do some quick research and find that all the local birthday party hot spots are going to run you about $250 (minimum).  Add to that having to serve pizza, drinks, cake and ice cream. If any parents are staying you need extra pizza, and you should probably have soda or water to offer. You know you could save money if you just had the party at home and entertained all the kids yourself (and if you didn’t already know, your husband will remind you)…but paying $250 NOT to do that seems totally worth the money.

It’s basically $20 a head, with a 10 head minimum. Plus, sibling’s heads aren’t free. Depending on the size of your family, your kid is going to have to pare his guest list down from every single person he knows, to his 5 closest friends.

So you book the “venue,” send the evites, and tally the RSVPs. And you decide you really hate birthday parties. Not like in a funny, ha-ha-I-hate-birthday-parties-but-I-really-don’t kind of way…but more in an evil “I want to stab the birthday party in the gut” kind of way. Like, in a scary way.

And since you are feeling mildly homicidal, now might be a good time to remember that all the little kids that are bowling or jumping or bouncing at your venue of choice are also going to be expecting goody bags when the party is over.

Again I ask you, why? You don’t want to give them, and the parents of the kids don’t want to get them. The only people who are happy are the kids. Which sounds nice, but these are the same kids who just ate pizza, cake, and ice cream. They should ALREADY be happy. I know that I’M happy when I’ve eaten pizza, cake, and ice cream.

And, not for nothing, but sometimes the contents of the goody bag feels like an act of aggression. I send my kid to your party and you send him home with a bag full of pixie stix and a whistle. Really? Why do you hate me? If there are more than three pixie stix in that goody bag chances are I’m calling the mother like, “are you mad at me for something?”

My son just turned 10. We took our kids, plus 4 of the birthday boy’s friends to the movies. Afterwards we came back here for cake and ice cream. They played for a little while and then we drove them home. My son quietly asked if I was giving out goody bags. I said no. I waited for the horror…but there was none. He didn’t care. As I dropped his friends off one by one I waited for someone to mention the lack of goody bags. No one said a word. No one cared. They were all happy as clams. They didn’t need goody bags to be happy after all. Imagine that.

 Now cut the shit with the goody bags everyone. Let’s just all agree that these useless little bags full of candy and shit should be banned immediately.


What I Learned on Vacation


Sooo… I took my kids to a hotel down the Cape for a few days at the beginning of this school vacation week. We went with my friend and her son. It was SO fun. So so so fun. And SO enlightening. Big lessons learned. Mainly about the fact that I am in a COMPLETELY different place when it comes to packing for vacation then my kids are. Completely. I’ve been packing these kids up for so many years, that now I just want everyone to be able to pack themselves. I want it to be like, “We are going to the Cape for 3 days and 2 nights. Plan accordingly, pack your shit up, and let’s go.”

So that’s kind of what I did.

Only I made them a list of what they would need to pack because “planning accordingly” to them means “bring your devices and your chargers.” I’m not sure that packing clothes would have even crossed their minds.

However, while, “here is a list, now pack your shit up and let’s go” may work for my 12-year-old, and kinda sorta my almost 10 and 8-year-olds…it doesn’t really work for my 6-year-old. Or my 4-year-old.

Luckily at the last minute I checked the 4-year-old’s bag. She had completely overlooked the “pack 3 pairs of pants” part of the list. She had packed 2 pairs of tights, one pair of pajama bottoms, 2 shirts, and the stuff to wash the one ear piercing that remains (the other earring fell out a week ago.) In her defense, she can’t read, so, you know.

I didn’t check anyone else’s bags. Why would I? They had a list. I told them to pack their shit up.

Which is how we discovered, once we arrived at the hotel, that my almost 10-year-old had forgotten to pack a bathing suit. Which is how I almost ended up cutting a pair of his thick black sweatpants into shorts to wear into the pool. (Until I came up with the brilliant idea to root through the lost and found bucket, like an animal, hoping to score a boy’s size medium bathing suit looking for a forever home.) Which is how I ended up accidentally grabbing a gigantic pair of “lost” tighty whiteys with my BARE HANDS. Which is how my life flashed before my eyes. I would ask you not to judge me, but I would probably judge you in a similar situation so go ahead.

On the second day I discovered that I should have also checked my 6-year-old’s bag prior to leaving the house, because she, too, didn’t pack any pants. (Even though it was on the list.) So she wore the 4-year-old’s pants. And the 4-year-old wore the tights, with what was either a really short dress, or a really long shirt. Think Marsha Brady. Like that. Only with extremely sheer pink tights underneath. Which is not a good combo when you are a little girl who likes to do handstands and flips. Which is how I discovered that she obviously couldn’t find the underwear that she had packed. Which is how I discovered she was going commando. Under sheer pink tights. Sheer. Which how I nearly died from horrified laughter. (And which is how I ended up having an impromptu talk with my 4-year-old about being a lady, which means always wearing underwear under your tights.)

On the third day I discovered we were in need of a plunger in our bathroom. We ALWAYS end up in need of a plunger in our bathroom at every hotel we go to. Without fail. Which is how I ended up realizing that I could really save everyone a lot of time if, while checking in, I preemptively scheduled a courtesy plunger visit to our room within 24 hours of our check in.

Which is how, when all was said and done, I discovered that too many Amaretto Sours gives me heartburn. Which is also how I realized that sometimes getting heartburn is so totally worth it. Totally.




We had an adventure at the doctor’s office yesterday. It went down like this:

All the kids had to get their blood taken, except “the one who is afraid of needles” because he had a soccer game.

I only told the two older boys that they were getting blood taken. I didn’t tell the two younger girls because I didn’t want them to panic. I told the two older boys not to say anything to the two younger girls because, you know, I didn’t want them to panic.

But by the time I got all of them in the car to drop off “the one who is afraid of needles” at his soccer game, “the one who cries” was in the backseat hysterically crying about getting a shot. “The one who is easily aggravated” had clued her in about where we were going and why. (Upon interrogation, “the one who is easily aggravated” said he told “the one who cries” about the needle because, and I quote, he “just felt like telling her.” Nice. I have failed as a mother.) We dropped off “the one who is afraid of needles” at his game, and as he was gloating about being the only one not having to get blood taken I explained that he wasn’t getting blood taken TODAY but I’m just rescheduling his appointment because of his game. His face turned pale. (Which gave me a weird sense of satisfaction.) I smiled, gave him a little wave goodbye, and off we went.

The endless drive to the doctors was spent with “the one who cries” crying, “the one who can roll with the punches” saying that she didn’t care about the needle and she’d go first, “the one who thinks he is funny” trying to make everyone more nervous than they already were, and me giving “the one who is easily aggravated” the stink eye.

Somehow we made it there in one piece. Somehow we got everyone in the elevator (good thing “the one who is afraid of needles” wasn’t there because he is also afraid of elevators.) Somehow we made it into the little room where the blood was to be drawn.

And, oh my God, we did it!

I can’t believe that “the one who cries”actually got her blood taken without having to be strapped to the bed. I was seriously impressed. “The one who can roll with the punches” got her blood taken like it was a walk in the park (naturally). “The one who is easily aggravated” had a rough time of it because he has skinny veins or something. (They had to stick him a gazillion times in both arms before they actually could draw blood. It was ugly.) “The one who thinks he’s funny” was next, and he’s up there joking with the nurse that he might cry and that this is a judgement free zone, right? And just as I’m about to cue the laugh track, “the one who is easily aggravated” faints!! One minute he is up, the next minute he is down.

THAT was unexpected. We have a man down!

elmo faints.gif

A half hour later everyone was conscious and alert and we headed home. (Stopping at McDonald’s of course, as promised.) As we were going thru the drive-thru and ordering our food, “the one who thinks he’s funny” was yelling into the speaker that his brother had passed out earlier (in hopes that they would give us free food. They didn’t.) “The one who cries” cried the whole time about how she was afraid to bend her (left) arm because she was afraid it was going to hurt so she couldn’t get the food to her mouth (she’s right-handed.) “The one who can roll with the punches” announced that HER left arm also hurt to bend, so she decided to eat with her right hand instead (naturally.) And “the one who is easily aggravated and who also apparently faints when he gets blood taken” talked the ENTIRE time about how he should get to skip school the next day because he fainted.

The night ended with nothing out of the ordinary. It only took “the one who cries” a half hour of hysterical crying to get her band-aid off. But then once it came off she was so excited to see that there was a little drop of blood on the gauze thingy, and she immediately made plans to hang the gauze thingy up in her room to show all her friends. Then she started crying again because she was afraid her arm might start to bleed. “The one who can roll with the punches” told me she needed some Advil (only I couldn’t understand her, so it was like: Can you get me some oval? Oval? No, oval. Oval? No, oval. Oval? She wants Advil. Oh, you want Advil? Yes. Okay. Naturally.) “The one who thinks he’s funny” spent way too much time re-enacting the fainting scene (his version included life saving CPR, and me screaming “live, damn you!”) “The one who is easily aggravated and who also apparently faints when he gets blood taken” laid on the couch and kept on talking about skipping school the next day. (Interspersed with asking me if I could please write in his baby book that he had fainted at the doctor’s today.) “The one who is afraid of needles and elevators” was squirreled up in the corner of the couch on his phone as if the rest of us didn’t exist (because, in his mind, we don’t.)

So, you know, just an ordinary day.

Oh my God, I’m so tired!!!