My Photo
Location: Northern California

Read all about the adventures of the Tsao Family during the summer of 2012

Sunday, October 14, 2007


What a feeling(s)

I'm having a rather intense internal (and now, external!) debate about whether or not I want to continue to take four-year-old Emily to activity-based birthday parties.

Here's the deal. Emily is great at house parties. She loves to run around and play with kids she either knows or has just met. She loves unstructured environments where there's no focus on her and no planned activities she is required to partake in.

But a lot of the parties we've been going to lately are activity-based. What I mean is that they're at a gym or a pool or a tae kwon do studio. The expectation is that the kids will all participate in structured play or the equivalent of a class, e.g., a gym class or a tae kwon do class. Emily does not do this kind of stuff.

When we go to activity-based parties, she's great at the beginning, refuses to participate in the class (preferring to sit on the sidelines looking horrified or to hug my knee while I talk with the mommies), then lights up again when the class is over and the pizza and cake are served.

My dilemma is that I'm not sure if I want to go to a party just to watch my child be miserable. I am going to start refusing these types of party invitations, at least for the time being. Frankly, I just don't see the benefit. I'll miss the company of my mom friends, but oh well. Emily's shyness and hesitancy in unfamiliar, physical learning environments means that what should be a fun event usually ends up being a torturous one, for both her and me.

Hmm. This is more of a declaration rather than a debate.

I don't suppose it will surprise anybody to know that I dreaded birthday parties as a child. Just like Emily, I disliked the activities that called on me to demonstrate my prowess, although in my day the activities were mainly party games like pin the tail on the donkey and musical chairs. Blech.


In preparation for my mom's visit at the end of the month, I ruthlessly cleaned out my office/spare bedroom, including the closets. AND! I even loaded up the car and dropped everything off at Goodwill. Goodbye extra throw blankets that we never used. Goodbye giant nylon leaf from IKEA. Goodbye motocross boots that I haven't worn in over five years. (Man, those things were bad ass.) Goodbye assorted items from craft projects gone by. Goodbye unopened picnic backpack thingy that I kept meaning to re-gift but never did. Goodbye wicker chair that a well-meaning neighbor gave us for Emily but that just ended up floating from room to room being ignored no matter where we put it. (I hope he wasn't looking out the window when I shoved it in the car.) Goodbye one dozen square mirrors from IKEA that made it from the store to the car to the closet, never to be seen again...

And cue Irene Cara:

What a feeling, bein's believin'
I can't have it all, now I'm dancin' for my life
Take your passion, and make it happen
Pictures come alive, you can dance right through your life

Yes, that's how good I feel. I can't have it all is right! I highly recommend a closet purge to anybody who is looking to feel good about themselves.

Perhaps if the birthday parties I went to as a kid had featured games involving organizing and cleaning, I might have enjoyed them.

Happy Monday.