Sunday, September 25, 2005

I Am the Pot...

...calling the kettle black (although I prefer "ebony" or maybe "onyx.")

In retrospect, I had some nerve being disturbed by Mr. Tweezers (as chronicled in my earlier blog post.) Because I am currently in the process of extracting myself from an orgy of obsessiveness, the likes of which have rarely been seen outside of a padded cell.

You see, my daughter just had this thing called a birthday. Which evidently gives me a free pass to preoccupy myself with minutia to the point of inspiring insomnia, anxiety and general crankiness.

In our suburban environment, there is a certain expectation that one will throw a party for one's young child that includes all of said child's classmates. And on paper, it's a good idea -- you get to meet the kids your kid is talking about and also their parents, theoretically fostering friendship and other warm fuzzy stuff.

It just doesn't work that way for me.

First problem is deciding on the venue. I had just three criteria:

1) Not Chuck E. Cheese
2) Not too expensive
3) Not Chuck E. Cheese

After much research on alternate venues, we decided on a gymnastics party. A month before the desired date, I called to reserve the space. The lovely gentleman who answered the phone said "Oh, we're booking for December now..."

Next choice: a roller skating party. Only problem -- the birthday girl had never roller-skated. So two Saturday afternoons were devoted to practice runs -- lovely Saturday afternoons spent indoors in a fluorescent rink.

But I digress...because my biggest problems were the ones I created myself -- little ideas of stuff that I could make for the party -- stuff that ended up taking about 500% more time to execute than I expected.

It used to be kinda fun to be obsessive. Like when I was single, childless and had no one to answer to but myself. I could work on some painting or project all night long if I wanted to; and not only feel O.K. about doing so, but almost revel in my single-mindedness.

Nowadays this sort of behavior appears to my significant others as preoccupation and neglect. Because when I'm in the middle of a project, it would take a fire or someone tap dancing on top of the computer (or maybe both) to get my full attention.

Meanwhile, I am righteous, because after all, I'm just trying to do something nice for my kid...and so I allow visions of creative projects to dance freely in my head.

First graders love seeing their own name in print. At least that's what some parenting site I perused in search of ideas told me. So I decided to design some personalized labels for the guests. Forgetting that our computer is from the crustaceous period. And it crashed approximately 237 times during the process.

Since evidently that wasn't frustrating enough, next was a banner making project. I began with a mental promise to do something simple and non-time-consuming. But...wouldn't it be cute to put photographs of my daughter's legion of teddy bears on her banner?

It was a fine idea at the time...but trying to import the photos and edit them in my publishing program REALLY made the computer freak out. I may have lost one morning sitting in front of the computer with the bears' headshots, but I did gain a nice cramped neck muscle.

And then there are the delusions of grandeur that somehow make me forget that I am not a master baker. Thus a subsequent morning is spent trying to depict a roller skate in two dimensions using icing and colored sugar.

All the while, the clock ticks, ticks, ticks closer and closer to B-Day.

Yikes! I believe I have officially exceeded the blog allowance for whining.

Anyway, if my husband ever speaks to me again after feeling invisible for the good part of the last week, I guess I can declare the party itself was a success, at least from a kids' point of view. All the 1st graders looked happy and there were no injuries that I know of.

And I skated too...on the pretense of helping the kids, but more accurately to avoid having to do that small talk thing that I generally fail miserably at.

However, I was accosted by one mom when she entered, who proceeded to tell me how she was hiring limos for her daughter's birthday next month to ferry the children to a mall in another county where they would make body lotion (because we all know that 6 & 7-year-old skin really needs moisturizing.)

If I put on my objective cap (and it's a lovely tweed newsboy cap), she was being as super nice as one can be while working in a mention of one's nanny to a member of the underclass.

And, to be fair, her planned extravaganza sounds like something girls that age would thoroughly enjoy.

But the whole thing sorta makes me feel like crap.

Because, at that moment, she makes the event we are hosting for my daughter seem rather pedestrian in comparison.

Because it shoves our relative poverty in our faces.

Because I don't want my just-turned- six-year-old kid to be ferried anywhere out of the area without me, and now I'm going to have to invent an alternate "previous engagement" for that date (because my daughter will want to go.)

Because no matter how much creativity (seasoned with a nice dash of angst) I throw into my little birthday projects, I can't compete with the cash that others seem to have to throw away.

Even after the skates are off, my imagined shortcomings continue to haunt me, and jolt me wide-awake at 5 AM this morning.

But it's time to move on. I've got a "Back to School Night" on Wednesday to obsess about...


At September 26, 2005 8:13 AM, Blogger Azhar Hussein said...

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Check it out if you get some time, and I'll be sure to check back here regularly!


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