Monday, May 23, 2011

Bieber, bacon and bullies

First cook six lb. of bacon, slice some cucumbers and put some juice boxes on ice. Give twenty 3, 4 and 5 year olds 36" inflatable light sabers. Watch a frenzied, testosterone-laced mosh pit of Star Wars-induced brawling for as long as you can handle it. To calm things down, give them a bat so they can whack away and an impenetrable Justin Bieber pinata hanging precariously from a ceiling fan. To the pinata candy, churning in their tummies, throw in a Darth Vader cake mortared together with 3 pounds of butter cream frosting dyed black. Watch clothing, tongues and teeth turn black. (Apparently you're supposed to start with chocolate icing when you're trying to make a black cake.) During all of this try to have conversations with traumatized parents while drinking 3 cases of beer and attempting to control your unbelievably aggressive 18 month old...

Now that's a PARTY!

None of this was supposed to happen in my house, but of course it rained on Jack Peter's 5th birthday. It was astonishing how smoothly it went. The only tears involved Steel and the girl with 2 moms who's not allowed to play with Barbies over some Barbie clothes. Catherine, the 3-year-old girl who Toby mercilessly assaulted didn't let it get to her. She knows what to expect of the McDonald ladies; Steel bit her when she was 6 months old. Toby, the subtle one, chose to stick out her chest and bulldoze Catherine into a wall, while looking at me and chanting, "TOBY NO PUSHING!"

Is it not pushing if arms aren't involved? Toby and Jack Peter are always looking for the loop holes. Steel is more into flagrant defiance. How do we cope with a bully? Last week, I returned from a relaxing swim at the Y to retrieve my children from the Child Watch. Miss Kim, the monitor, was shaking her head and muttering, "She's just so FAST!"

I had wondered why I saw a little Toby flash by the windows of the pool as I was swimming. She'd been banished from the child watch room for bashing an infant on the head with a xylophone 10 seconds after she'd been chastised for pushing her down.

I've been looking back at photos of Toby, and I should have seen it coming. Our Christmas card showed her true nature. She comes from a long line of tough women, but she's particularly relentless. My niece was called "FANG" at her daycare; she was a biter. It was one of those day cares that writes up incidents. Both the aggressor's and victim's parents have to sheepishly retrieve and unfold the tell-tale pink slips sticking out of their kids' cubby. The Gillian bit someone notes were such a daily occurrence that my brother made a scene when he finally received a victim notice. He whooped out loud and high-5'ed the kid who'd stood up to Gillian.

I'm sure the daycare staff weren't sad to see my brother and his posse graduate. It's in northern Florida where there are a lot of religious people. He'd picked the day care because they had assured him that the kids would not be practicing any sort of religion. One evening, Gillian started to say grace at dinner time, and Curt lost it. He stomped into the day care the next day shouting, "I WILL NOT BE HAVING MY CHILDREN BEGGING FOR THEIR FOOD! I get them their damn food, so if they want to thank someone for it, they can thank ME!!!!"

Tim and I had to clean the entire house after the party. Our threshold for stepping on wads of play dough and omelets is high, but marble cake, hummus, bacon and black butter cream were more than we could stand. As I scrubbed I had the thought, "I'm going to treat myself." I knelt down under the sink, dug around the 200 plastic bags and pulled out a brand new sponge...

Didn't a treat used to be a pedicure or a massage?
Who would pick on a ceramic angel eating a cupcake? Toby at 1 was screaming gleefully while hitting her on the head and throwing dirt at her. ( The angel is the grave marker I made for my sister in law's grave.)

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