Saturday, September 22, 2007

Ghetto Pinata

Pin It Carter turned three last Monday. Now, I love a birthday party as much as the next mom, (which is to say, not all that much) and we've thrown a few super extravaganzas in our day, including a cowgirl party with an actual pony, and two princess parties complete with yards of tulle. But let's be honest. He's THREE. In five days he won't remember any of it. I could snip some pictures out of a pottery barn kids catalog, paste them in his baby book, tell him it was the bash of the century and he'd never know the difference. So I wasn't all that worried about throwing him a party. We planned to just have cake and ice cream as a family and maybe give him a few nerf balls to chase around.

Of course, on Sunday night when I broke the news to him, that there would be no friends, but it would be me and Daddy and his sisters, and didn't that sound fun, and he could have a train cake and WHOOOOOPEEEEE - he made this face:



His dreams - shattered. The big, huge tears of bitter sadness and disappointment started to roll down his face. "Why, Mama, why? Why no frienz for Carter?" I caved. (I can't take the bitter tears of disappointment.) On Monday morning I started calling around to see if any of the moms in the neighborhood had any interest in getting rid of their 2-3 year old sons for an hour or so, and the response we got mostly was along the lines of "You want my three year old? To come over on short notice? And I will then possibly be alone in my house for an hour? Hmmmm, let me think about it, why - YES! OF COURSE! DO YOU WANT HIM TO COME OVER RIGHT NOW? AND STAY ALL DAY?" And so we had a guest list.

An hour before the party I realized, well, we should probably have something for them to do, because there was a limit to how long they would be entertained by Wicket the wonder puppy and the aforementioned nerf balls. We didn't want to run back to the store, so my husband and I came up with a few artfully handcrafted diversions. For example, this pinata:

Party planning tip:

How to make a pinata, if you are extremely lazy:

  • Get a paper bag
  • Cut out a picture of something
  • Glue it on the front
  • Get a piece of yarn
  • Tell your kid it's a pinata

Entertainment for the party under control, we strung up some crepe paper and called it good. When the kids all arrived, we had them play go fish over the stairwell, using a metal rod with a piece of yarn attached, and a paperclip dangling from the end. I attached tootsie rolls to the paper clip each time. Each time when they pulled it up, they were amazed because, HEY LOOK, A TOOTSIE ROLL, as though it had not just happened 10 previous times. When they tired of this, we moved on to the next candy oriented event, the pinata.

It was windy outside and we had nothing to hang the pinata from, so my husband offered to stand there and hold it while the kids took whacks at it with a metal stick. I thought that was fairly brave, considering what crappy aim these kids all had. (He's a stud, what can I say?) It took them three tries each to break open the paper bag. My daughter was openly mocking them for lack of upper body strength, and we had to make her stand in the corner. The pinata was also full of tootsie rolls and once again they were AMAZED and SURPRISED and DELIGHTED by the appearance of the candy. Two year olds really aren't that bright, quite frankly.


Next we had cake and ice cream. These kids were on a sugar HIGH. Between the steady flow of tootsie rolls, the frosting and the ice cream, they were all positively whacked out on sugar. This was RIGHT before dinner. Their parents, I'm sure, thought fondly of me that night as their kids all crashed back down to earth.


On the phone I must have said 14 times, PLEASE don't worry about a present, I know this is short notice, you're doing me a favor just by letting them come, it's just ice cream and cake, not a real party, please, please, please don't bring a present. Every single kid brought a present. Of course, you know if it had been the other way around, I would have been the loser who took the mom at her word and sent my kid with no gift.


Carter opened the presents and they all played for a bit, then it was over. Carter said it was "AWESOME." That's all that matters. I would post a bunch of sentimental stuff here about what an amazing, lovable kid he is, but I will just sum it up like this in a way that all mothers can appreciate: HE IS NOW FULLY POTTY TRAINED. (Sniff.)

Happy Birthday, Carter - we love you, little guy...

39 comments:

  1. Fully potty trained? Now THAT brings a tear of joy to my eye.

    And why did I NEVER think to do a pinata like that? Pure genius.

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  2. You can plan my birthday party any time. I doff my wig that you pulled off such an entertainment and sugar-packed high in less than 24 hours.

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  3. You probably could have gotten away with a "family only" party for a 3 year old if he hadn't witnessed his sister's big bash about a month ago. Good save, Mom! Love the pinata.

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  4. That is the saddest face in the world. I hate when kids pull those out because it is so so so hard not to give them what they want.

    I'm impressed by your last minute party planning. Go Fish? A homemade pinata? Yeah, I would have been like, "Go have races in the backyard." The steady stream of candy was brilliance.

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  5. I love the ghetto pinata. such smart thinking. I was cracking up at the directions on how to make one-tape a picture of something on it. hahahaha Mark has a question, "if one did not have a picture of something, would drawing a picture on the paper bag be sufficient?"

    Potty trained?! what finally worked?

    Happy Birthday Jakey!!

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  6. Happy Birthday Jake! You are such a good mom and so creative. I am impressed with the last minute party planning. I could not have pulled it off.

    Way to go on the potty training. That is a big feat!!!

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  7. We featured this post over at Good Mommy/Bad Mommy. Thanks for the laughs.

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  8. I love you. The stalking will commence.....NOW.

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  9. I love the "tell your kid it's a pinata" step. Seriously.

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  10. oh holy moly, this is great! THE BEST is the mocking big sister being put in the corner- HA!!!!! Or the pinata directions- those are pretty sweet!

    After you write a book I think you should become a last minute party planner- these are INGENIOUS Ideas!!!
    So glad it was "awesome"! HAPPY BIRTHDAY JAKE!!!

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  11. oh and I would TOTALLY be the lame mom that didn't send a gift- Im so cheap! thanks for the insight into proper birthday party etiquette.

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  13. Hooray for Jake and the party! Even at 3 he knows what birthdays are about. I'm glad you decided to go "all out" and include his friends. He is such a sweet little whirlwind.

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  14. Laughing mah CAN off at this post... I would SO be the other mom who sent her kid with no gift, I have this problem with taking people at their word!

    Is that my blog on your linky list?!! Holy SMOKES woman, I am thrilled to be in such company!!

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  15. This was so funny! I have six kids from 19 down to 3 and I have to say that I am pretty burned out of birthday parties. This post gave me hope. Now all I have to do is make a "ghetto pinata" and all will be well. Hillarious!

    You're a good mom to do this for your adorable little guy!

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  16. What a great party! Last minute, inexpensive, and the birthday boy said it was "awesome." You don't get it any better than that.

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  17. That could be the sweetest sad face that I have ever seen!
    How adorable!
    Loved the ghetto pinata! Quick thinking!

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  18. You're my new best friend. Nice to meet you.

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  19. .....and they brought gifts.
    Perfect!
    Great story!

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  20. Thanks for the laugh- and brilliant pinata ideas... After almost 8 years of parenthood and four children- I have finally figured out to simplify...you are so right- the kids don't care if the party costs $200 or 1 penny... They just wanted cake and a few presents...I love it!

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  21. Oh, my goodness, my Brian cries those big, huge tears also. I mean, if I'm holding him while he's crying, I get wet. I can't bear it. (And, really, with 6 kids, I'm no softie.) I love your idea of a b'day party. Around here, 7-year-olds get to invite 15 friends to Laser Tag (we're talking 300 dollars for a small child's b'day party, folks!) and my kids know that we can't compete.

    And stop your d..n gloating about the potty training thing. I am an abject failure at all of that. Come on over to my blog and see. No, really, drop in anytime - I'm always around. We love guests. Just let us know you stopped by.

    Oooh, I just thought that a Victorian-themed blog template would be so cool! You know, instead of "Comments," there would be "Calling Cards,"....and...and...well, I've got to go work on this idea.

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  22. Genius. I'll remember this for when my son is old enough to know what a birthday is.

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  23. Emily M.10:32 PM

    Hilarious. I'm glad you put this up on the side as a suggested read.

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  24. Fully potty trained?? Please tell me you have an ingenious idea on how to get mine that way too!!!! I am about to bash my head against something really hard over this! HA!

    I am totally with you on being obsessive about comments (so feel free to drop by and leave me one...I mean only if you want to...don't go just because I mentioned it...no really...HA!)

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  25. I am not sure I believe many boys are ever "fully potty trained".....great party though.

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  26. Okay, tears are rolling down my cheeks. So, so, funny! Tootsie rolls... amazed... again. Stop!

    I was just reading today how healthy it is to laugh. Thank you!

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  27. I'm forgiving you for the trapped-in-the snow thing.

    Because this not only made me laugh out loud, it made my husband laugh and he thinks blogs are stoopid.

    And I am totally nicking the pinata idea.

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  28. I know this comment is so long after the original post, but I just found you and I almost peed in my pants looking at your pinata. I love it. It rocks.

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  29. Oh my gosh. I can't remember the last time I laughed so hard. Thank you.

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  30. OMG, I think you will now be my daily dose of laughter and reality. I love this post and the ghetto piñata is classic! Very creative. And your husband is one brave man. I started to laugh just making shit up in my head about the casualties that could have happened. Sounds like a great party for the 3 year old! I still like the Pottery Barn scrapbook idea. I think you should still do it.

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  31. Pinata?! That is SO classic! I was lauging out loud. My sister had to ask me, from the other room, what was so funny. Thanks for having a great blog that I love to read!

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  32. My husbands Polish grandparents had a "pinata" every year at their family picnic. It was a plain paper bag stuffed with peanuts. This post had us both laughing. The fishing game is sheer genius!

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  33. I happened on your site and you are my new favorite. LOVE IT!

    Your pinata is a stroke of brilliance. It is something I can actually do with my depleting resources. The Thomas picture might be tricky, but I might be able to find a freaky looking Hindu god.

    I'm putting you on my reader, oh, if that is okay???

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  34. The photo of the piñata had me doubled over in laughter. Which woke my baby up. Thanks.

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  35. I came to your blog via Toddled Dredge and clicked on this from your sidebar. I know it's a horribly overdue comment, but I don't care. That is an AWESOME pinata.

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  36. My eyes are tearing over the sight of the pinata. It is so true that he'd likely forget all about it, but here it is for posterity! lol...

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  37. I think you're a genius and hilarious to boot. Maybe I'll spend the rest of the evening reading the rest of your posts...maybe I'll figure out how to close the book on this wretched potty training chapter of my life.

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  38. With the picture of your husband standing on the chair and the thought of a kid with a metal rod....... all I could picture was the unfortunate incident that involved a couple of ice skaters and a bodyguard. Why... Why.... Why-hi-hi!!

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