Success can be ephemeral in mothering, so we need to recognize these moments when they happen. Really, we need to latch on to them and bring them up in our mind’s eye when that same angel is standing in front of you with her arms crossed, her eyes rolling up into her head, and she’s singsonging, “whatever” at you.
No really, you think, that’s not my child. My child is the one who knows that friendship is going to the at home party because even if your best friend’s mom can’t afford to bring in ponies or air bounces, your best friend will be there and it doesn’t matter what you are doing; it matters who you are with. So you don’t smack her in the face. You send her to her room and know deep down, she’s better than that. And you earn yourself another mothering gold star for not freaking the hell out on the little witch. No one said this nonsense was easy. Or consistent.
After her party I was ready to pay closer attention to how other moms handled an at home party and luckily we had an immediate invite from a good friend. Back to the bookstore we went for a gift. Only this time I was determined to actually pick out a book. Because I’m an idiot. So I took all three kids back to the kids’ section with the god forsaken trains. Mistake number one. I had forgotten my stroller at home so I decided to see if my toddler had improved in dealing with the Thomas the Train section without the inevitable freak out. Big mistake number two. And instead of watching said child like a hawk, I milled around the closeby racks. Final mistake.
“Mom! What. Is. That?” “What is what?” “THAT?” “What are you — oh my god are you kidding me? Get some paper towels from the bathroom. Hurry.” Yup, there was a toddler turd lying on the floor next to the train table. This is my nightmare. Fortunately, while the universe has a sense of humor, it isn’t always cruel; and no one caught us. I was able to casually scoop the item in question off the floor with a Target flyer from my purse and into the trash can beside the help desk before anyone saw. Eventually, my daughter came running back with ONE paper towel which I used to wipe up my son’s legs. “Ok, we’re getting a gift card. Let’s go.” Tears. Protest. Child with poopy pants. Scene. Always a scene.
That party also ended up being completely lovely. The mom happens to have a pool and a play set, though, so she had a decided advantage on how to entertain multiple children. Regardless, having an at home party takes a certain level of chutzpah, I’ve realized, and I’m proud of myself and anyone else who is brave enough to have one. Oh, and the gifts from my kids, until future notice, will be gift cards.