Five Random Thoughts on a Fourth Birthday

1. It’s the evening before your daughter’s fourth birthday and you’re at the store to buy a container of brownie bites… You know, because you need a quick solution for the treat your daughter will share at her preschool’s snack time. You’ve visited your fifth store when you realize there’s been a run on brownie bites.

You find yourself in the neighboring college town where the last brownies within 200 miles are discovered. By now it’s 10 p.m. on Sunday and the cashier gives you a knowing look. You feel like telling him they’re really for a preschool party, but know he wouldn’t believe you because there’s only one reason people buy munchies in a college town at 10 p.m. on a Sunday. Why else would this brownie guy’s eyeballs be bloodshot and dilated? I mean, besides from having a newborn at home.

2. So the wife is talking to our newly branded
4-year-old on their way home from preschool when my wife asks how her
daughter liked the parade the family attended two days earlier. It was a
typical small town community parade tied to a spring festival, no big
deal, but exciting for a toddler.

My wife: “What was your favorite part from the parade?”
My daughter in a dismissive tone, “Oh, that’s back when I was three.”

3. That afternoon my wife noticed a full body rash on our daughter at bath time. It’s faint, but it’s there.

“Do you itch?”
“Yes, on my chest and my tummy and my arms.”
“When did that start?”
“Months ago when I was three.”

4. We’re glad we picked a pediatric group that is open until 8 p.m.
on birthdays so we could conclude the day with a diagnosis of Scarlet
. Yipee! We’re now on Scarlet Watch hoping our 2-month-old
doesn’t get it, or it could mean a hospital stay.

5. Oh, but hey, what about the birthday party? Well, we haven’t held
one, yet. Our daughter had a normal day, then her choice of dinner
(pancakes and broccoli). Afterward, we opened presents from immediate
and distant family members. Cake and ice cream were planned, but
instead she went to the doctor.

Bonus outcome: Now she has a paper hospital gown for pretend play.

For a party, we considered:

  • An inflatable bounce-o-rama fun zone type of facility — Too noisy for the baby.
  • Bowling with gutter bumpers —€” Good, but unmanageable for the number of kids involved.
  • The zoo —€” Great, our daughter could even feed a bear, but not for $340
    for the feeding, a room rental and two led party games. (Believe it or not, the bulk of the cost is the room rental. The bear feeding is just $40.)
  • Roller skating —€” It’s more like slow shuffling for 4-year-olds. Ugh, no thanks.
  • Park and playground —€” Totally doable, but the weather is unpredictable.
    Yep, 55 degrees, cloudy and breezy is common for our summers.
  • Massive cardboard fort at home —€” This will happen. Oh yes it will happen. But not until our baby boy is a little older.

So… we proposed an idea to our daughter that requires a delay. In
early July we will hold a proper party at an organic pick-your-own
blueberry farm (when the crops are ripe). The farm supplies the tables.
We bring everything else. It’s free, except for the blueberries of
course. My fiendish plan is to rid the world of plastic trinket party
favors. The kids will eat the party favors.

See previously: The third birthday party never be repeated again. Who has the time?

Update: So we are sitting here the next day
wondering why our daughter doesn’t have any of the nastier symptoms of
Scarlet Fever… just a light rash, some itchiness, and a light
temperature. One call to the doctor later… Ohhhh, she has a viral
infection with symptoms similar to Scarlet Fever. Well, thank you for including that alarm word in your diagnosis. She can return to school once her fever breaks… except, there are now a couple dozen parents who won’t been too keen on seeing our daughter this week.


12 Responses to “Five Random Thoughts on a Fourth Birthday”

  1. RobMonroe says:

    Our daughter turns 1 on Thursday. There is an end-of-year party at her daycare and another birthday on Friday, both of which will have sugary snacks. Our solution: individual fruit salads. They can have them for snack time and still be managable when they get home.

    Now I’m off to read about the third birthday party….

    June 10th, 2008 at 6:58 am

  2. AJ says:

    Oh, no doubt. Our first thought was watermelon slices. But my urge for a no-mess no-preparation treat took hold. While the average person would have gone back to Plan A after the brownie bits were unavailable, I accepted it as a challenge.

    During the rest of the year we avoid treats. At the parade, for example, there were plenty of “No thank yous” as parade walkers tried to hand us candy. We also really appreciated the flag lapel pins prominently labeled as made in China. We licked the red, white and blue paint off them for extra nutritional value.

    June 10th, 2008 at 7:10 am

  3. Jennifer says:

    I love the quotes! It’s amazing how in just a day they “reminisce” on the good old days of “when I was little”.

    June 10th, 2008 at 8:13 am

  4. Sara says:

    I love the blueberry picking idea! Rather than getting kids hyped up on sugar inside, they can run around and enjoy nature and nutritious food outside!

    June 10th, 2008 at 9:16 am

  5. My Boaz's Ruth says:

    Why else would one be getting brownie bites at 10p? I don’t get it?

    BTW Costco has great Brownie Bites at a great price!

    Scarlet Fever for her birthday :( So sad. Good thing you did not have aparty planned!

    June 10th, 2008 at 9:25 am

  6. LiteralDan says:

    You’re committed– I would have given up on the brownie bites pretty quickly and gotten something else. I have a feeling that perhaps the little lady was told to expect brownie bites.

    The debate over what to do for the party makes me want to turn four, man– what a life!

    June 10th, 2008 at 11:39 am

  7. Cindi says:

    I am glad to hear it is only a similar viral infection! What lengths we will go to for our children! My two boys are much older than four, but I would still go to the ends of the earth for them. Cindi

    June 10th, 2008 at 4:30 pm

  8. CanCan says:

    This is exactly like the time the doctors office called my husband to say he had “hepatitis A, or maybe B”, and then upon further communication they said “traces of hepatitis FROM YOUR HEP VACCINE” were noted in the blood. Geesh, people!

    June 10th, 2008 at 6:50 pm

  9. bobby says:

    So what viral infection is like Scarlet fever, just wondering? Is it measles or a Herpes virus? Do you know?
    Poor girl, wish her Happy Birthday and hope she kicks it without baby catching it!!!
    Brownie bites seem like a really “fun” treat for the preschool teacher, but definately fun for the kids!
    What a great idea to pick blueberries, party favors are so wasteful…. You make up for the brownies with the blueberries, I think. It’s all about balance….

    June 10th, 2008 at 7:00 pm

  10. Chief Family Officer says:

    That’s an awesome birthday party idea! Hmm, what farms are in my (very urban) area …?

    June 10th, 2008 at 8:57 pm

  11. Joanne says:

    Seems that my husband has the same fort plan…. for our 3 month old.

    June 11th, 2008 at 6:37 am

  12. Nicole says:

    “Months ago…” I love it!

    I love the blueberry idea. I’m going to have to look into that one as well… I have always refused to give party favors. I mean really!?!?! Isn’t the party “treat” enough =)

    We’ll be celebrating our oldest son’s 4th b-day at the end of next month… This is the first year we’re not competing with naps so I don’t have to provide lunch or dinner. Yippee!! 2pm – 5pm

    My plan at this point: I’ve talked with the local fire department and they will bring a truck over (assuming there isn’t a call…) and do a little talk on bike helmet safety for the kids… then the kids can climb around the truck.

    I hope Little Miss is feeling better… and I would just love to see the expressions on the parents when they first see her at school! ha!

    June 11th, 2008 at 2:41 pm