Monday, January 7, 2013

Party Post Partum

You may relate to having friends who throw the best kids birthday party ever. Or maybe you are that friend. Our friends are over the top awesome at parties. They plan and hand paint decortions a month a ahead of time. Super Hero backdrops for the kids to pose in front of, a station of six games the kids get to play, all Superhero related, and win tickets which they later get to redeem for prizes and balloons that they bent and twisted into swords and super long weanie dogs themselves. Of course, the home made cake looks like it was rolled out of "Cake Boss" too. Layers of fondant and four tiers (even bigger than the picture shown), each decorated with the colors and design of the costume of five different Super Heros from Avengers, with the hulk hand bursting out of the top layer. Amazing!
Did I mention the parents both work and the mother is a lawyer who works nearly 80 hours a week sometimes?
How they do it is beyond me. Their parties are awesome.
So we always go.

The problem is, when we get there, although Ben and I, with the most allergies, are super careful and only eat what works for us, I cave and let Bodee and Bronson eat pretty much whatever they want. They don't have the severity of allergies we do, so I think, "It's only this one time" or " A little bit will be okay." and they eat the pizza (gluten) and candy (GMOs)and cake( food coloring, gluten and GMOs). Ben and I sit and watch the Incredibles movie they have playing while everyone else eats cake. It's too tempting to watch them. Cake is my downfall. But this time anyway, I stay strong for myself. For the two younger ones, I honestly just did not want the screeching and crying, stomping and flailing to spoil the party. So I let them eat the "treats".

And boy do we pay for it later. I want to be clear here, it's not my friend's fault. This is every party we go to. I let my kids eat stuff I know doesn't really work for them. I caved. And the results were what they were, not bad or wrong, just really really annoying.

Bodee was on permanent grouch mode for the rest of the night and well into the next day. He stomped, yelled, slammed doors and gave us mean ogre faces at the dinner table. I almost laughed at him one time because he was staring at me like a one eyed pirate so hard I thought his one eye might pop out. I told him so and then he was screaming at me for laughing at him. His veins popped out and his face turned pink with aggression. It occurred to me that when my friends were kids, they might have gotten slapped upside the head for talking to their parents like that.

Bronson was a screech monster from hell. He cried every time his brother looked at him and he screeched holy hell when I asked him to pick up his toys. Everything was "I don't love you anymore Momma", which is a really big deal for him to say, and "I hate you" to everyone else. I lived each moment in regret every time I raised my voice to tell them to stop fighting and be quiet. I was not inspired. I was annoyed, upset, regretful and mad at them for not controlling themselves.

I kept trying to remind myself of a saying I saw on Facebook written over the face of a miserable looking child "I am not giving you a hard time, I am having a hard time." I got it. They are having a hard time. Well, I am having a hard time with them having a hard time. My husband is ready to blow a gasket and yells "Just make him STOP!" He hollers that he is leaving the house to go work at Starbucks, but after a shower to simmer him down, he puts a movie on for the kids and all seems to settle.

I realize that it's not worth it. Not going to the party, but letting them eat stuff that just doesn't work for them. Bronson's stomach gets a bloated and rashy and Bodee gets dark circles under his eyes and they both look miserable. They don't want to behave this way, they feel like they can't control themselves, I know. I feel like that sometimes too when I have eaten tons of sugary, food dyed, GMO foods. I feel like I am on one of those rides at a carnival that spins really fast and I am screaming and later vomiting profanities uncontrollably. It's Party Post Partum. The body is out of wack from all the chemicals and crashes into the abysss of feeling bad, fits and tantrums.

Sometimes it takes uninspired moments to create inspiration. What I am getting from this experience is a possibility for coming together like a band of B Boys before we go to parties. Bringing our own food and agreeing that after the party we get to all do something super fun as a family together if we all eat our own food instead. We have an After Party! We celebrate our self control, reward our restricted diet, with GMO free, gluten free, food dye free and preservative free abundance of food. It's not that hard either. I make extra gluten free, GMO free pizza and cupcakes and freeze them in the freezer, ready for the next party. I bring some food dye free lollipops from Trader Joe's and GMO free candy in case all the other kids get goody bags with candy it them so I can swap it out. My kids can eat the fruit and popcorn and drink the juice (as long as it doesn't contain corn syrup) and play all the games til their hearts content.

I could just not RSVP to parties and stay home and avoid the mayhem. I can see though, that there would be a real loss in bonding, fun and celebration of our friends. So the "inspired parenting" challenge for me transforms the situation from one of regret to a possible opportunity to really have it all...go to parties and all do what works for us and be our own Super Heros. Sometimes, saying "No" is actually saying "YES" and is the most heroic thing to do.

Zen Honeycuttt

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