Category Archives: nursery school

A Birthday Fiasco

This was a difficult story to write about, but in the hopes that it might spare other families some trauma, here we go:

A couple of months ago, right before school started, my 4yr old twin girls were invited to a birthday party for one of their classmates from nursery school who had just turned 4 himself.

Like many of the twins’ nursery school classmate parties, the event was held at a local kiddie gym.  So, presents in hand off we went.

The first clue that things weren’t good should have been that the gym was located in an out-of-the-way deserted industrial area.  Still, I figured that they set up shop there because of low rent and we went in.

Upon setting eyes on the interior was when I should have packed up the girls and left but I didn’t want them to miss out on playing with their friends, many of whom they would not see for awhile, as they would not be returning to the temple school for pre-k.

Half the room was unfinished and there were no barriers to the half of the room in disrepair. (Clue 2 that the host mama hadn’t exercised her best judgement in arranging the party.)

But I figured that the staff and the other parents present would be enough to ensure the kids didn’t wander over there.

I was pretty surprised, though, that for a birthday party for a 4yr old there were only FOUR 4-yr old kids – and two of those were mine! All the rest, about 10 other kids, were aged around 6-10. (Clue 3)

But my kids had spotted their favorite friend, one of the other 4yr olds (the final one was the birthday boy), and were so overjoyed to see her that I was reluctant to drag my kids out, as they squealed and hugged their little friend with delight.

Then the kids started the obstacle course. It quickly became apparent that there was not enough competant staff available, as only one risky station involving heights was attended half-heartedly by a female who barely provided any spotting for the kids as they swung from gymnists rings 5 feet off the ground. (Clue 4 that this was not a good place to be).

The other station, a ramp going up to a 4ft height then leading to a drop onto a trampoline, then another 4ft high ramp on the other side.  Not. Attended. At. All. (Clue 5)

I was kept busy running back and forth between the two areas to provide spotting support for my girls, while a male staff member sort of wandered the reception area with a vague, spaced-out look on his face. (Clue 6)

None of the other parents seemed to care and just wandered the reception area, chatting to each other.

Then the 8 yr old brother of the birthday boy came barreling thru announcing “I’m the brother of the birthday boy, so I get to go ahead!” (Clue 7 – and an indication that that family had radically different ideas of what it meant to raise children.)

As the BBB (Birthday Boy’s Brother) came barreling over to where my little girl was just landing on the trampoline, I begged him “Please wait until the little girl gets out of the way!”, but he didn’t and started to leap upon the trampoline, just as Halle had made it to the ramp on the opposite side.

Instead of jumping up and down on the trampoline, the BBB just bounced once and leaped feet-first for the opposite ramp where Halle had just landed herself, as I cried out for him to let me get her out of the way first.

Then the BBB SLAMMED feet-first into Halle’s little back, her head snapped back from the impact, her little back bowed, and she was kicked off the ramp to face-plant from a height of 4 feet, into the hard mat below.

No one came over to us as I picked up Halle and checked her over.

After I had calmed her down from her hysterical terrified crying, she tried to walk, but was unable to because of the pain in her back.

I went over to the host mama and told her that her older child had just slammed feet-first into my child and I needed to take her to the Emergency Room to be checked out.

She just smiled vaguely and said “Oh that’s too bad you’ll miss the party.” (Clue 8 that the host mama was missing something crucial – like a soul, perhaps?)

Another mama came over and said that I was overreacting and that I should just let the girls finish out the party. I asked her if she was a doctor and she said yes, she was a gynecologist.

Oookay…

I then took both my sobbing girls out of that place, got a picture of Halle’s reddened back where the footprints were and off we went to the ER. The girls were inconsolable that they had missed the chance to play with their friend and were missing the party, but I lied and told them that the party had been canceled and that everyone had to leave because the BBB had been so naughty by kicking little girls.

After she got checked out by two doctors and a nurse, they said she seemed fine but to keep an eye on her.

I then called the host mama’s home phone and let her know that if there were further complications from the injury my daughter received, that I would let her know so that she could help out with any financial considerations.

You know, that mama NEVER called back to ask how Halle was doing, and when we ran into her at school a couple of weeks later (thankfully neither of my girls shares a class with that woman’s son!!) She completely ignored me. I said “Hi” to her and she just stared at a wall, pretending I wasn’t there.

(Why the heck did that mama even invite my girls when it’s pretty clear she didn’t give a rat’s patootie about them, their safety or their well-being? Did she just want more presents for her kid?)

I made sure to tell my girls to stay away from that woman’s little boy, because if it is acceptable in his family for bigger boys to kick tiny girls in the back, the younger boy is a risk to public safety as well.

Halle’s just fine now, but I’ve learned my lesson about birthday parties:

1) Double check with the facility that they will have adequate and competant staff for spotting.

2) Check the age range of the guests – it is NOT APPROPRIATE for a 4yr old’s party to have 75% of the guests be so much bigger and older than the birthday child.

3) If the facility looks unsafe in any way – drop off the presents and LEAVE IMMEDIATELY. Your kids will get over being disappointed, but they might not get over a physical injury so quickly, or at all.  Listen to your ‘Mama’ instincts – if something seems to be wrong with the situation – listen to that feeling!

4) I’m thinking that for the girls’ age, it may be safer for them to only attend parties given for other little girls. The boys at this age (and their older brothers) are way too rough, and you can’t depend on other parents to curb their children’s wantonly destructive behavior if it occurs.

Do you have any helpful advice to keep a child safe when they are a guest at a birthday party? Please leave a comment and let me know 🙂 Thanks!

Birthday Trepidation

I have twins.  They will be 4yrs old in July.

They have already started inviting everyone they know to ‘their birthday party’.

This was surprising to me, as I had no idea we would be having a birthday party for them at all this year!  I was thinking more along the lines of a bunch of goody bags sent to school for the children to share on the last day, as some of the other mothers have done.

I think I may still do that, as I really don’t think I’m up to preparing for and hosting a birthday party for 4yr olds.

On the other hand, this is probably the first birthday that the girls will remember, and they’ll be switching to another school in the fall.  It might be nice to cement those friendships they’ve made with other children.

So after conferring with a few of the other moms in the class, it seems that having the party picnic-style in a local park would be acceptable (and free).

I’ll have to come up with a few activities and a craft for the kids to do, then on to a small lunch (I’m thinking organic mini-hotdogs with hydrogenated oil-free minibuns, and a wad of organic mac & cheese w/pureed squash mixed in.) and cake.

I still haven’t decided if I want to go to the trouble of making a homemade one or splurge on one from WholeFoods.  If I make one myself, I can lower the sugar and sneak in some more pureed veggies!  But that’s an investment of effort, energy and time, vs. an investment of cash.

Yes, I’m trying to keep the party low budget in some areas, because I want to splurge in other areas.  Instead of the obligatory pizza served at EVERY party my girls have gone to this year, I’d like to vary the menu a bit – make it healthier but still have kid-friendly items – even tho it’ll be a bit pricier than a slice of ‘za.

I’ll have to buy decorations since ‘paper products’ won’t be supplied by a party venue, and craft materials.  We’ll probably have to buy one of those balloon filler machines for floaty balloons, tho I hope we can do without that.

And while I was thinking of making a pinata filled with small toys, I’m not sure if that would work out, letting a 4yr old have a blunt instrument while blindfolded – maybe I’ll have everyone at the party sign liability waivers first.

Swagbags are going to be one of the splurge items.  While some party hosts have had nice ones – little buckets of playdough with alphabet molds was pretty nice! – others just had candy (which my kids can’t eat – don’t worry, they’re not deprived!  They get treats from time to time that don’t have artificial colors or flavors – chocolate is their favorite!) and a few 10cent novelty toys.

One lucky break for the swagbags is that I won a giveaway on another blog for a set of 8 girltype items that are REALLY nice and perfect for the swagbags!  That just leaves boytype items I need to get – unless I can win another giveaway!

Wish me luck!

Schooled by my kids

Today was supposed to be the first day back at school after the harrowing week of Spring Break.

So I breakfasted, clothed and car-ed my twins and off we went to school.

Imagine my suprise and dismay at finding the parking lot EMPTY!

Seems there was an extra Jewish Holy Day (and I’m too exhausted to look it up and have no problem admitting my shameful ignorance) and school was closed.

And I’ve got a minivan full of eager, anxious and excited twin toddlers in the back wanting to be let out to frolic.

So I drove us to IKEA where the very kind staff let them romp for over an hour in the ballpit while I caught a nap on one of the IKEA couches.

Then after I got them home, it was business as usuall.

Anyhoo…

At one point there was a frantic search for a dearly beloved Little People (by Fisher Price) person that resulted in our apartment looking like it’d been ravaged by angry peasants with pitchforks.

At last the joyful cry was heard: “MAMMA!! Zanna found my Maggie!”

Whereupon Maggie, the toy in question was waved happily in my face.

“I’m so glad you’ve been found, Maggie!” I greeted the lump of plastic threatening to take out my eye.

“Mamma!  Maggie is a toy, she cannot talk!” Halle patiently explained to me, with just the right amount of condescension to be used when explaining something very simple to someone who ought to know better.

Thankfully Halle then rejoined her sister in the living room, saving me from embarassing myself further in front of a 3 yr old.

Super Halle to the Rescue!

Yesterday I attended a kiddie event at the twins’ nursery school, and afterwards the children were allowed to run and frolic.  Unfortunately, the running led to a little collision between Zanna and Matthew, one of her classmates, and Zanna got knocked over.  Matthew, who’s a very sweet and sensitive boy felt awful about it and looked like he was going to burst into tears, so I was trying to comfort both of the children.

Then Halle, seeing that her sister had gotten knocked over by a larger child, stalked over, gave the boy her best Glare of Toddler Fury and shrieked at him,

“Stop hurting Zanna!!” then she put her little fists on her hips and gave a final “Hmpf!!”

I tried to explain to Halle, that while her desire to defend her sister was teriffic, it was actually an accident, and Matthew hadn’t done it on purpose and felt pretty bad about it.  Thankfully she seemed to understand this and with a final glare, she went back to playing.

All this actually made me really incredibly happy.  Halle loved her sister and wanted to protect her!  She wanted to fend off possible bullies!  She was a superhero in the making!  Happy Mama time!

I had begun to think that Halle’s goal in life was to tease and torment her twin.  She’s pretty creative at pushing all our buttons 🙂  which is pretty normal for kids her age.  So I was pretty amazed to see her, at the age of 3, developing a sense of what is just or injust, and having the desire and confidence to do something to change the situation.

My little activist!

Tyrants of the world, beware!  You’re about to meet your match!

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