Worst idea ever? Give a 7 year old four birthday parties. It started innocently enough with a backlash that was not so easy.
Party 1~ on her actual birthday. We celebrated as a family. She requested steak for dinner and they had ice cream for dessert. No birthday cake, no ice cream, forgot to sing Happy Birthday.
Party 2~ the next day. I thought Emma was old enough to have her first friend’s birthday party. If left to her inviting, I would have had 20 girls here easily but I narrowed it down to 8. Dan had to work late and so it was 9 girls ranging from 5-7 here and then Gerrit & his friend that I picked up so he wouldn’t be the only boy. The party was 3 hours long and if my friend, Nicole, hadn’t of stayed, I might not have survived. To say I was glad she was here is a gross understatement. They had hot dogs, watermelon, chips, store bought cake, and ice cream. In my hurry, I forgot the candles and singing Happy Birthday.
Party 3~ Dan’s family couldn’t celebrate the same day that I had planned the ‘family’ party and my family couldn’t do it the same day as they could, no other dates to do it, etc. I decide we’ll do it separate. Dan’s brother’s birthday is the day before Emma’s so we celebrate them together. There was no cake and still no singing of Happy Birthday.
Party 4~ My family was coming over for lunch and to hang out. We had sandwiches, chips and I made a jello cake. We finally remembered to light candles and we sang Happy Birthday.
As I was cutting the grass for the 4th party on yet another 90 degree day, I realized just how much of my life had revolved around these birthday parties. If I wasn’t shopping for them, I was making something for them, cleaning for them or getting the yard ready for them. I like to have a clean house and a nice looking yard but any woman will testify that when you’re having company over, you have to do all those things right before. I was totally over it.
Add in that Emma was starting to become a massive brat. Apparently, having all these parties must have subconsciously told Emma that she was the center of the universe and could act accordingly. One brutal day of me tearing up one side of her and back down another would hopefully clarify what gratitude and appreciation were. It wasn’t pretty but I really wanted to get the point across to her. Later that day, pouting in a chair, I saw her writing in her journal. She had told me days earlier that this journal would be for writing in and her other journal for doing pictures.
A few days later, I was curious if in fact she was writing or trying to spell out words. I opened it up and saw that she had written ‘my mom doesn’t love me’. Now, she didn’t spell it perfectly but it was well enough for me to get the gist. I was heartbroken. This was something that is supposed to come out of your teenager’s mouth, not your kindergartener’s.
It’s hard to know what to do. How do you teach your children to be grateful for what they have when you don’t usually give them that much? My kids get presents on their birthdays and for Christmas, that’s it. It just seems like that might be too much. Were kids always this way? Did our parents bemoan our bratty ways the way we do today? Or did we have to do more work with a lot less reward back then? I know I did. I wouldn’t have dared to talk with such an attitude to my parents, or any adult for that matter. And it leaves me wondering why little kids today are daring to do so.
Much thought and contemplation have been going into this delimna. I’m not sure what the answer is but I’ll stumble upon it somehow. We started with ‘Work day’ which was filled with manual labor. I’ve talked to them about being grateful and how hard daddy works to provide for us. My next idea is to try volunteering somewhere with them. But where can a newly 7 year old and an almost 6 year old be of value? I want them to see that life isn’t all roses and honey for everyone, particularly for all kids. But how much is appropriate to show them at this age?
I guess we’ll keep fumbling towards the solution.