Friday, March 27, 2009

You're Not Invited to My Party!

We've been hearing this phrase for months and months and months. Max is obsessed with his upcoming birthday and the "requisite" party he thinks is his due. If we do something he doesn't like, the arms cross, the brows furrow and "You're not invited to my party! No te invito a mi fiesta!" is shouted in our faces. Wow, what a threat kid, you mean we don't have to hang out with twenty 4 year olds? Shucks darn. He talks about his party EVERY SINGLE DAY. It's becoming quite annoying actually. He uses his party to play Hubby and I off each other as well, "You're not invited to my party, just Daddy, hmph!", at which point we say we all go or there is no party, leading to "I make my party with my friends, not you!". Good luck kid, how's that job hunt going, you got money?

All this party talk is leading us into the world of guilt. We cannot afford to give him the party that he is imagining, in a "jardin de fiesta" (party garden) with thirty kids and their parents to feed, decorations, cake, piñata and entertainment, kids' parties add up to a lot of money, at a bare minimum 5000 pesos, probably more. I so wish we could do it, but it's just not in the cards. We noticed that some of his classmates have thrown little parties at the school, during class time they'll bring in a cake and piñata and maybe some entertainment for an hour and then back to work. This seems like our best option and the plan is in place to do just that. Of course, when we told Max (in our most excited voices with big smiles), he screamed "Noooo, NOT at school!". Sigh. The main thing he wants at his party is the characters from Lazytown and we do think we can swing that one for him. I've got a student who runs a children's party service and they've got a Lazytown show that includes three characters (Sportacus, Stephanie and Ziggy if you care) for 1850 pesos, I think we can book them and hopefully that will appease Mr. Demanding. I can make some food (pasta is easy and cheap and pleases the munchkins), get a cake from Walmart and a few decorations and I hope that satisfies our party obsessed child. I felt bad last year as we didn't do a party, we took him on the pirate cruise and convinced him that all the tourists were there for his birthday. Worked a charm actually, but I know that he really wants his friends to celebrate with him so school party it is.

Now, his thirst for a fiesta is actually working in our favour (as much as I'd like to duct tape his mouth shut the next time the word "party" comes out of it). He's finally connected the idea of "bad behaviour equals punishment, good behaviour equals reward" so threatening to not have a party has definitely improved his "comportamiento"! (Yes, there is a "U" in behaviour and favour, I'm Canadian, remember, now I wish my spell check would know that!) He's learned that we don't make idle threats either, if we say that he is going to lose a privelege, he loses that privilege so I think he's living in a world of fear that he won't get the party of his dreams if he fingerpaints on the walls. Thank the goddess for that!

Now, what threat can we use after his birthday? Help!!!!!


Heather said...

Threats? Im the best, no more beach, no more soccer games, girl the list is endless, lol! My parents were the king and queen of threats, except they never followed through. Cant wait to hear about his party!

Bob Mrotek said...

I think that the kid is a potential future marketing genius. He sets the bar high by creating great expectations. Fortunately I have the brain of a 4 year old so I think I can help. First of all rent a "brincolín" (breen-coh-LEEN) of those combination rubberized slippery slide jump up and down things that is inflated by an air fan. They will come and set it up and return in about four hours or so to retrieve it. Kids go crazy over these things. Keep the food simple. I usually make hot dogs and french fries. Good excuse to buy a deep fryer if you don't already have one. All kids like hot dogs and french fries and Coke. Don't forget to buy a really "cool" piñata and candy for both the piñata "winners" and extra for the kids that couldn't fight their way into the pile so that there won't be any tears. You need to have a couple good piñata men to make it jump around and a good piñata lady to keep the kids in line and run the show. Don't try to do this yourself. You need to be born into it. Ice cream is always a big winner and last but not least if you can swing it try to find an old timer who does magic tricks for kids at birthday parties. They are not very expensive and the kids love them. Oh yes, one more thing...lots of balloons. I they are helium filled so much the better. Believe me, if you do this for Max he will forget all about the other stuff and all of the other kids will think he is cool. Just keep it simple and traditional and fun. I wish Max would invite me :)

K.W. Michigan said...

What happened to pin the tail on the donkey? Or is that an American thing? Max will love his party (oops - fiesta) no matter what you decide.

Kelly said...

No more birthday parties EVER! There are a couple of meanings that can take on, maybe depending on how bad he is : ) Just kidding!

Frankly Ronda said...

We have every variation of party - big, small, sleep over, special outing, etc. Some stupidly expensive and other ridiculously cheap. Frankly, our kids seem equally happy whatever we do. We always let them help decide format but within resonable limits. Good luck!

ElleCancun said...

Jajajaja - don't forget colour!!! I am cdn too! LOL!!

Ohhh Max - already a little partygoer!!!!!

Theresa in Mèrida said...

Okay, here I am going to be a beeeech and say that in my opinion. a four year should not be having a party with all that stuff I know that there is pressure but seriously, the recommendation is one child guest for every year of the child's life.
I wrote a long comment here but it started to sound judgmental and I apologize if this part comes across that way.

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Islagringo said...

Don't have kids. Never will. That said, a 4 year old would never dictate to me what I should or should not do. What you have planned sounds absolutely fantastic.

Rosas Clan in Tulum said...

I totally agree with Canibal. That is almost 2 times my rent. CRAZY! ANd the feeding of kids and their families is very different here. I was more of a finger food and salad girl for parties. My husband has since set me straight and told me the way that him and his family do it. CRAZY!!!

I do love having the "you want to have your party or not" in my bag. Works for months.

Jonna said...

Can you move right into Easter Bunny threats? Then summer vacation threats, then Halloween threats leading right into the big enchilada, Christmas threats. See, I know them all. don't ask.

International Mom said...

hahaha, my son and i had the same thing. i milked his birthday party for weeks. it worked soo well. you can say, that you'll take away all his toys, that seems to do a pretty good job of keeping him in check:)
The Travel Expert(a) and an Expat with a Twist

Gaelyn said...

Sounds like a great party. Hope you can all survive until the big day. Look forward to pics of the special entertainment.

Thanks for the birthday wish.

Michele in Playa said...

Cole turns 6 tomorrow and as there are 5 birthdays in his class this week alone, we will do his fiesta next Friday. He wants to have a pool party at Rancho Guadalupana. I can't wait to see what ths is going to cost me! This is the first year he has wanted to do something so we will make it work for him. He is really such a good boy, I've not had to threaten anything! I'm sure, when the day come,ax will be thrilled with his party!! I have no idea what Lazytown is but I'm sure it's fabu!

Cherished said...

Hey--love kids! Sounds like a good time to start teaching your young adorable man, Max, about less fortunate children and how to kindly give something to change another child's life for the better. Kids are born self-focused and now is always a good time to help him learn to think about others. (Threats aren't actually needed, just calm consequences to perk his interest on how things work.) As he matures this manipulation can get worse if fed into & not stopped...even adults struggle in the same areas of self-focus verse being other-centered. PS. Love your writings and sharing about the beauty, adventures and insights of Mexico..Thank you! We're going to visit next week and r trying to make some last minute plans! Happiness to Max on his big day of knowing he's uniquely made & very much loved.

CancunCanuck said...

Heather- The process of rewarding good behaviour and removing privileges for bad behaviour is exhausting, lol, but better than screaming or spanking or other forms of punishment! I do follow through on the "threats", though Daddy is the softie who gives in, we're working on it. :)

Bob- I wish the school had space for a bouncy house, the kids would love it. We've got the piñata picked out, Hubby is an expert in the field of piñata dancing. Hot dogs are a good option and definitely balloons! Thanks for the comment, I'm sure if Max were to meet you on the street, he'd invite you! :)

K.W.- I haven't seen "Pin the Tail" here (yet, I'm sure it exists!) Max will love his party as long as his friends are there, that's what he really wants.

Kelly- Ha! He's not such a bad kid, and this will be the first real party we've had for him. But yes, there are days where I feel a Joan Crawford desire to scream "No more parties, evah!"

American Mommy- I'm sure this will be the first of many party variations, he mostly just wants to spend time with his friends (and meet Sportacus!).

On Mexican Time- The Canadian "U" makes me happy, I just hate having spell check go crazy when I use it! And yes, Max is a very sociable little boy.

Theresa- "All that stuff"? He wants to have his friends there, feed them and give them treats and have some entertainment, I don't think he's asking for too much. I never spent time with children in Canada, so have no idea how to do things other than what I witness from his classmates. There's about 15 kids in the class and they have all invited Max to their parties, he only wants to return the favour. He keeps talking about how this friend will like this kind of game and that friend will like the cake, he's not really being greedy or demanding. He's been to all his classmates parties, it's impossible to say that he can only invite four of them, it's bad etiquette to be exclusive and I've never seen it done here. He hasn't said one single word about presents or gifts or what he gets out of it, he wants to entertain his friends and celebrate his birthday with them, I really don't think that is going to spoil him. I think the price tag is just indicative of how expensive things are, not that he is asking for a lot. Renting a party garden is about 2000 pesos and entertainment 2000, that's just 2 things and already it's pricey. We don't have the space to have the party here so we've got to look outside for one. When I read about bar mitzvahs and sweet 16 parties costing thousands and thousands in the states, I think that is over the top, but having a party with his classmates with food and entertainment is not asking for much, nor is it giving in to big demands. He doesn't ask for "things" when we are out, he understands that we don't have the money for them. He'll see a cool toy and turn to me and say "It's expensive mommy", not knowing the price but knowing that it's too much for us. He doesn't cry or throw a tantrum, he just says ok. So, I'd like to be able to give him the party that wants to share with his friends.

Canibal- Bienvenido! Esta bien que escribes en español, gracias por tu comentario! Tengo problemas con mis escrituras, pero voy a tratar. Si, es muy caro, pero creo que es los precios de Cancun, es un ciudad caro tambien. Una piñata de sandia? Que divertido!

IslaGringo- Max is not a demanding kid and he certainly doesn't dictate how things go down around here. I can't give him everything, can't give him much in terms of material things, so being able to give him a party is something I'd like to be able to do. Not because he's demanding it, but because I know it will make him happy to be around all his friends. He's now on board with the idea of having the party at the school and we're rolling along with the simple plans.

Rosas Clan- Seriously, the cost is high! As I said earlier, the party garden alone is around 2000 pesos, almost 2000 for entertainment, plus food, cake, piñata and treat bags, it adds up fast and that's not for anything fancy by any means! I see the "society" pages in the paper here with little kids having huge fiestas in hotels etc and I wonder how the heck the parents can afford it, that costs thousands and thousands of dollars!

Jonna- Ahhh, the queen mama, thank you for the suggestions, lol! I'll come to you for parenting advice anytime! :)

Marina- Hola and welcome, thanks for your comment! Strangely, Max is not a big toy kid, but if I threatened to take away his crayons and paper, that might do the trick, lol!

Gaelyn- I hope you had a fantastic birthday yourself, I really loved your post. I know Max is going to have a great time. :)

Michele- Happy birthday to Cole! Wow, a lot of April birthdays there, too many parties, lol! Max is a pretty good kid too, though he really is a bit OCD on the party thing. I hope Max turns out to be at least a little like Cole, you've got a good kid there. :) Lazytown is a pretty good show actually (I'm saddened to admit), it teaches kids NOT to be lazy, to eat their fruits and vegetables, to brush their teeth, get enough rest and to help their friends, a lot of great values in one little half hour show with lots of dancing, singing and gymnastics.

Cherished- He IS one of the less fortunate kids! He doesn't have all the latest toys or gadgets or games, he doesn't even ask for them. His friends have video games and toys with all the bells and whistles, it's just stuff that is not in our budget. We do teach him that he is fortunate to have what he does have and therefore he doesn't ask for much. "Threat" might not be the best word, it really is "these are the consequences, if you colour on the walls, you get time out and no TV or if you pick up all your toys, you can have a piece of gum". He's growing out of the self centered phase that is normal for his age. He is quite a generous young man, he wants to take care of the street animals and give money to all the people begging at the corners, saying "No one loves them, can I love them?" I'm sure he'll have a ball being able to entertain his friends. (Welcome!)

Melissa said...

After reading this, I asked Edgar if he got invited to the party. He said he remembered some talk of a fiesta and believes that he may have been invited. I, on the other hand, think I was invited but then de-invited.

Max doesn't seem particularly interested in things (things as in cosas), but rather experiences, which I know you're trying to cultivate.

Of course, if he had his way, all of the street people of Cancun would be at the party, every single cashier too...and maybe 687 street dogs and a dozen or so pregant Chiapanecas.

Theresa in Mèrida said...

Cancuncanuck, I apologize, I probably didn't comprehend what I was reading very well. I have seen (in the USA) kids parties become a huge keep up with the Jones type thing. You can make a pin the tail on the donkey type game, just get any type of animal poster (or draw one) and make tails.
A fishing game can be fun for that age too. If you can find one, the winner gets to keep the game.
We used to do an annual Halloween party and the key is to keep them busy. Plan more games than you think you will need. Also making things is fun, where they colour the goody bags themselves or put stickers on them.
Once again, I apologize.

Nicole said...

Sounds like lots of fun! Can't wait for pics.

Brice said...

Yeesh, good luck with that party!

CancunCanuck said...

Melissa- What did you do to get uninvited, I can't recall!!! I know you both got invited (heck, the grocery baggers get invited, teehee)! Max is a little softie with wanting to help people. I am really happy that he's not into "stuff" as you say, just experiences and I hope to offer him as many new ones as I can.

Theresa- It's alright, I know sometimes the internet can lead to misunderstandings on all sides. I think you know (or I hope I have made it clear, maybe not!) that Max is not a spoiled little guy at all, only in that we try to show him a lot of the world and nature, not give him a lot of material things. Thanks for the party tips, much appreciated. Love to Merida!

cul-ture queen- I bet we all have fun, not just the kids. Max went to a party on Saturday afternoon for a classmate and he was a dancing machine, entertained all the adults too.

Brice- THX. We'll need it, haha.

Islagringo said...

Apologies here too. I know personally what a sweetie Max can be. You must admit though, if you reread your post, you made him out to be a spoiled little devil. But, then, what kid (or adult?) isn't once in awhile!

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