Jamaican Mommies by Shanoy Coombs: From Jamaica; for the world
|Dancing away before dance class.. Somebody is happy for sure!!|
This past weekend, the unbelievable occurred. My “literally just born” child became all of 6 years old and I kinda panicked because it all seemed to happen wayy too fast . In the midst of my mini panic, I also remembered that it was with her birth that I started Jamaican Mommies (Happy 6th JMommies :-)- You need a post of your own) and more importantly with what I’d like to call a whirlwind birth day weekend, She had a blast and I had a few lessons.
You see, apart from the lessons learnt on never making your child’s birthday be more about you than them in the middle of planning, executing, mediating, pick ups and drop-offs, several things stood out.
1. Pace yourself You will find this will be a rule that you will do well to remember along your parental journey, but it took on new meaning as my 6 year old had a major birthday fiesta spanning Thursday (the actual birthday), taking over Valentines’ Day and ending on Sunday. Truth is, she had one major request, A Sleepover party and well she has been asking since forever to have her nails done at the salon and I decided her birthday may be a good time to do so.
But throw in the fact that her Dad and I also thought it appropriate to do something on her actual birthday and so we went gungho on a too huge cake, ice cream, birthday backdrop and other trappings for a ‘school party’. With activities running Thursday, Friday, Saturday into Sunday we were also drop dead tired at the end and compelled to remember the Pace yourself rule. If this year’s rewarding but exhaustive experience is anything to go by, I am already committing to a single activity for Birthday number 7.
|First Stop: Mini Birthday Party|
2. Never be afraid to say No– Now this is where it really gets tough! Your child has been a good kid and deserves to be rewarded right? but where do you draw the line? This past weekend, I found myself reflecting on this as I wondered why in heavens I’d agree to not 1, not 2, but all of 3 different activities packed into an extended weekend. Sure the first mani-pedi was a big deal but maybe I could have delayed same for another day.
In any event, this will become a useful life lesson as we grow in the 6 and beyond phase. Sure its easy to say Yes, but in the end, a few Nos may help your kids (and you) to learn valuable life lessons about moderation if nothing else. N.B. Since that pedicure, I have been bombarded with “Mommy when are we going to the nails salon again?” questions and since her monthly visits would cost a pretty penny, I’m thinking it may be worth it to invest in a Day at the Spa Deluxe kids set. This may come in pretty handy if we ever venture into sleepover territory again.
|Spa Pedicure fit for a princess|
3. YOLO (You Only Live Once)– Oh lordie, this is a fun but somewhat scary one. For her birthday sleepover we slept IN A TENT! OUTDOORS AT NIGHT! in our yard all 3 adults and 8 kids packed in with our 2 side windows zipped open with just the meshed area for ventilation. It was an exciting prospect certainly but even with our electronic gate and floodlights in tact, I didn’t sleep through the night, I kept jumping awake every few minutes as I felt like someone was peeking through our side ‘windows’. Looking back, I still think we were a bit crazy, but having the kids rush in for breakfast the next day declaring that it was their first time sleeping in a tent, it made me think, just look at that, you only live once eh (but all things in moderation right)
|Daddy checking in on the final finishes before tent time|
4. Family is Everything- For the sleepover we kept it small (well as small as 8 kids gets) but they were primarily family members- 4 cousins, 2 kids from school who she does dancing with and are like family, her forever best friend. Our team included my sister and hubby and mother to 2 of the kids from school. But what stood out was how much fun can be had as a family. Really it was team work that got us adults through the weekend- Daddy on Entertainment, Yours truly on meal prep, my sister on serving meals and the other mommy on bath time. Team work does make the dream work!
|Movie time in the tent|
5. Keep it Simple- This is actually a note to self. With the kids packed and homeward bound, I looked back at the additional supplies we had stacked up for our weekend adventure and the long list of activities I had jotted down including letting the girls help with dinosaur shaped cakes (We have this cool dinosaur shaped baking tin. It really was a bit much.
I mean I always want to err on the side of being over prepared than under prepared, but if the weekend taught me anything, it is that keeping it simple works very well for kids. In the end lots of the fancier activities that had been planned (such as dress up run way show and Tie and die tee shirts) were replaced by dancing macarena with daddy, kite flying, decorating balloons that doubled as chandeliers, ring games and movie time.
|Feeding the Multitude|
In the end, Birthday Number 6 was no doubt a winner with one mum declaring “Hotel Coombs was off da heezy. Creating Beautiful memories” and naturally the birthday girl announced “This was the best birthday ever” (She says that every year)
So let us know, have you hosted a kids birthday party/ birthday activity? What was some of the things you learnt in the process?