18 Oct 2010

Becoming a Man

4 Comments Family, Personal Crap, Toddler

This weekend my family celebrated my nephew’s Bar Mitzvah, a Jewish ceremony marking a boy’s (or girl’s) 13th birthday and the fact that he is becoming a man. It represents the change from a boy with little social responsibility to a man with the onus to do good in the world and to affect positive change. It’s a lovely service at temple where the young man reads from the Torah, surrounded by all of his friends and family.

A Bar Mitzvah is also a big, fat party with music, food, dancing and pure chaos. It was an absolute blast, and I saw my kid do some stuff that blew my mind. First of all, he was in a suit. Garrett, my adorable little man, looked like a lady killer in his pin-stripe jacket and tie. When we got into the tent that held the festivities, incredibly loud music poured out of the speakers… And Garrett promptly covered his ears and scrunched up his nose. “It’s too loud!”, he screamed. And I thought we were in for a very long, frustrating night. But then a song came on that must have been “his jam”, because all of a sudden he ran to the dance floor and started rocking out. I mean, he wasn’t merely dancing, he was feeling the music and busting a freakin’ move! This dance fest lasted for about an hour, and I’m still sore. I danced with him (well, NEAR him) the entire time and I had the sweat pouring down my face to prove it.

I finally pried him away from the dance floor long enough to say hi to some folks and have a little drink. Then the DJ started playing a song I requested at the beginning of the night: “The Final Countdown”. If you haven’t read my post on this little ditty, now might be a good time to do it. Suffice it to say, it’s Garrett’s favorite song. And as soon as he heard it, he ran full speed onto the dance floor and started going nuts! Within seconds, he was surrounded by every one of the 80 tweens attending the party. Outside of them were the rest of us, staring in wide-eyed awe at the three-year-old in the middle of the floor. At the chorus Garrett started to jump up and down, and so did all the kids around him. It was like he was their short, blond czar and they all had to do exactly what he was doing. Then they all started chanting, “Go Garrett, Go Garrett, Go Garrett!” and he kept dancing. Read more

02 Oct 2010

Three-Year-Old Birthday Party

No Comments Toddler

In the decade leading up to having my son, I went to plenty of kids’ parties that I felt were way too lavish for someone who’s still pooping in their pants.  So when it came time to throw our own parties, I’ve tried to keep things within my own budget… both mentally and fiscally.  Last week was Garrett’s third birthday party.  With that in mind, I’ve come up with a few suggestions for making children’s party planning as stress-free as possible, while still giving your child a day to remember.

PICK A THEME:  Whatever they love at the moment, go with it! Once you have a theme, it’s easy to build around. Originally our theme was Iron Man, but I found there was not a whole lot of Iron Man-themed stuff readily available, so I coaxed and prodded until Garrett agreed that a dinosaur party was the way to go.  He freaking loves those extinct giants! Then you can go to a site like celebrateexpress.com. We were able to get the plates, cups, silverware, napkins, balloons, streamers, party favors all at one place.  It was affordable and everything had a dinosaur on it!

MAKE THE ADULTS FEEL SPECIAL: Order food for the adults, and make something to eat for the kids. We order sandwiches, empanadas, and a big salad from a local place called Portos.  If you’re local to Los Angeles, you have to try it. It’s amazing, and they also make the cake!! If you can consolidate your errands that day by getting a bunch of stuff at one place, do it!  Then, I made a giant mac and cheese for the kids. Here’s the recipe I use, and I double it.  (Yes, I realize it’s Rachael Ray.) Since Read more

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