Prior to this column, I have shared with all of you that I babysit for a little girl in the neighborhood. And that she is my bff (best friend forever). I refer to her as my “surrogate granddaughter” and it was actually kind of adorable when my surrogate granddaughter met my real granddaughter. Fortunately, they hit it off right away, because what seven-week-old doesn’t appreciate a good game of peekaboo?
It is always interesting to observe others’ reactions to a baby. My bff kept asking me why I couldn’t take Gd #1 on the trampoline or on the little seesaw we have in the playroom/hockey room/beit medrash. “Well,” I began my explanation, “I can barely do those things when I am not holding my precious little strudel, so I think it might not be the best idea.” And that was that, my bff thought my little strudel was adorable, but she was bored and I relinquished the strudel back to Dil #1.
A few days ago, I brought Gd #1 over to a friend’s house, and my friend’s dog had a serious panic attack while she watched my friend hold my little strudel. Poor doggie, she was not having any of this. So I quickly took Gd #1 back before the dog had a stroke. Both the dog and I were relieved when we were safely outside. No offense to the dog or my friend, but if I don’t return Gd #1 in the way in which I got her, I might lose privileges, and we don’t want that to happen.
In any event, this week’s column is about birthday parties. My bff received an invitation to a birthday party that said the time was 5:30 to 6 p.m. Her mother and I were puzzled as to how one could pull off a birthday party that lasts only 30 minutes. It made me think back to my monkeys’ birthday parties. The longest I could go was an hour and 15 minutes — and that was with an age appropriate movie (probably sports related, ahh, good times. I wonder if there are any films about the life and times of Rav Avigdor Miller or Rav Moshe Feinstein…look at my shtark name dropping…anyway…). Ya, so a movie, pizza and a Costco birthday cake. 75 minutes never felt so long.
First you have the kid or two who don’t want to watch a movie, so you have to distract them with some other activity that you hadn’t planned in advance. Then you have the kids who are watching the movie, but keep going off on tangential conversations so the other kids cannot concentrate on the movie. Then, when the movie is over, you have the kids who don’t know how to use a cup and spill water all over the place. The kids who don’t want water and start crying for apple juice. The kid who doesn’t like pizza. The kid who keeps asking for more pizza. The kid who drops cake on some other kid. The kid who doesn’t eat cake. The kid whose parent thinks the birthday party is a babysitting service and comes 30 minutes late. The kid whose parent thinks they can come early and feed their other uninvited children pizza and cake. The parent who has to stay for the whole party because they have yet to cut the umbilical cord. The possibilities are endless and, again, this is only for a 75 minute party.
One year, we had a magician who had to cancel at the last minute, but was kind enough to arrange a replacement. To this day, when Husband #1 and I look at those pictures and see the replacement, we think, “How did we allow someone who looked like that to entertain at a children’s birthday party?” Fortunately, no lawsuits were filed, but only because we got lucky.
So 30 minutes for a birthday party seemed like a genius idea. I spoke to the mother hosting the party and she confirmed that yes, it was not a mistake, the party is only 30 minutes. Apparently, she had a hired a snow cone truck. Genius. You drop your kids off, he/she/other politically correct pronoun gets a cup of shaved ice, they choose their flavor, they get hopped up on sugar close to bedtime, and then you take them home. In 30 minutes. Genius. Hope this helps any of you about to plan a birthday party.
Wishing you a wonderful rest of the summer and may all of your plans go according to plan!
Banji Ganchrow of Teaneck is enjoying her summer and cannot wait for all three monkeys to be in the same zoo.