Saturday, September 19, 2009

Nomination: Mother Of The Year

Two giveaways going on here and here.


I think this one finally puts me over the top. Not only do I win Mother Of The Year with this one (and seriously, no nasty comments please, it's been a really hard day), but I'm pretty sure that we've been to our first and only birthday party for Mister Man's kindergarten class.

Yep, we're already "that family" and it's only the fourth week of school.

Today, Mister Man had a birthday party for one of the kids in his class. The invitation didn't specify drop off or stay, and when I RSVPed, no one said anything, so I assumed that it would be a drop off party like most of the other parties we've been at for the last year. Besides, if I had to stay, I could.

Then my mom decided that the wee ones had to attend her neighborhood picnic today, so she'd just drop him off after it. I should never have agreed to that.

When I showed up at 4:45 to gather him up (the party ended at 5), I saw a ton of cars parked in the street. It was obviously not a drop off party. Thank you, MOM for neither a) staying at the party nor b) calling me so I could show up.

I could hear noise in the back yard, so I headed back that way. The birthday boy was in the midst of opening all his presents. I casually scanned the group for Mister Man, trying to remember what he was wearing. I then scanned it less casually. I moved to a different vantage point and looked again. No Mister Man.

I snuck over to a mom I recognized (remember, fourth week of school here) and asked if by chance anyone was in the bathroom. Then I found a grandparent who told me there were a few children inside. Fortunately, Mister Man was one of them. He came out when I told him presents were being opened.

Then he saw the cake and asked if he could have cake because apparently he (along with a couple other children) couldn't be bothered to sing happy birthday and have cake. Nice parents got him cake and ice cream, and I tried to sink into the floor.

Shortly thereafter, I noticed he was outside only in his socks. I asked where his shoes were, and he decided they must be in the front yard by the bouncy house. He went into the front yard to put on his shoes. I started talking to a mom.

After a period of conversation, I noticed that Mister Man hadn't yet come back. I sighed and headed to the front yard to round him up. He wasn't in the front yard. Neither were his shoes. My heart started to sink.

I went through the house thinking I must have missed him. I walked back around to the front where other children were now climbing on the uninflated bouncy house. One tried to climb in it, and a parent decided it was a bad idea because "you could suffocate in there."

I stared at the lumpy bouncy house and imagined Mister Man's suffocated body inside it. I closed my eyes trying to dispel the image. A parent turned the bouncy house on, and I waited impatiently for it to blow up so I could ensure Mister Man was not inside. He wasn't.

I walked around to the back one more time before I started asking parents if they'd seen Mister Man. None had. He wasn't in the bathroom. He wasn't in the playroom. He wasn't upstairs or in the basement.

I was in full-on panic mode. I even checked my car to see if he'd decided to head that way and was waiting for me.

No Mister Man. I can feel the panic rising in my throat as I start to think about what I do next.

At that point, I hear someone say, "Is that him there?" and I look to see him coming into the yard. Oh, thank GOD.

He is not one to wander, as he had a bad experience when he was three and knows better, so I hadn't worried about telling a child who will be six in three weeks to walk to the front of a house to put on shoes by himself. I obviously need to rethink this, while still ensuring I don't turn into a helicopter parent.

I finally got the story from him, at which point I alerted the host to ensure Mister Man was the only child who had been unaccounted for. While he was looking for his shoes (which were inside the house and put on after he was found), two children asked him if he wanted to walk one of them home. He agreed. Three children left the party without telling anyone and crossed at least one street by themselves.

Mister Man told me that after they dropped the girl off at her house, he came back to the party, but the other boy in the red shirt did not. He didn't know who the other person was or where he lived, but he knew that he did not come back to the party.

After talking to the birthday mom, I discovered that both children lived in the neighborhood. The one in the red shirt was a preteen and had also most likely gone to his house. And probably should have known better than to take a strange kid with him. But this is still on Mister Man. Apparently Safety Town did not have the appropriate impact on him that it should have.

He is now very clear that he is never to leave somewhere without a) informing an adult and b) ensuring that it is appropriate for him to do so. And he also knows that he is never to cross a street in a strange neighborhood without an adult, which means the recent street crossing privileges when he's within my sight in our neighborhood have at the moment been revoked.

I think he's learned his lesson on this one, but it's one I never wanted him to have to learn. On the plus side, I think this cements my Mother Of The Year Award, and I'm pretty sure we won't be invited to any more birthday parties.

We may have to switch schools next year for this reason alone. For Mister Man's birthday, we have one classmate able to come, three unable to make it and fifteen haven't yet RSVPed. I'm hoping all fifteen don't take this opportunity to avoid us.

I'll take that in a heartbeat, however, over what could have been the alternative outcome.


Anonymous September 19, 2009 at 8:48 PM  

Ohmygoodness. I know how your heart must have stopped. I'm glad you had a postive outcome. You're right, we could totally be friends! I'd send my kid to your house for a party any day.

septembermom September 19, 2009 at 8:54 PM  

Oh, Michelle, I'm so glad that everything turned out o.k. I would've been a wreck too. I'm sure you'll get a bunch of kids for Mister Man's birthday party. The prospect of cake will bring those 6 year olds running to your party. Remember it's not like he set the bouncy house on fire! That would be against kindergarten party etiquette!!

Margaret aka: Fact Woman September 19, 2009 at 10:26 PM  

Oh my gosh! So scary! I would have freaked out. There are so many things that I always assumed they would know but unless you spell it out, they don't. I'm so glad that he's OK and back to you safely.

anymommy September 19, 2009 at 10:43 PM  

You are way too hard on yourself, it sounds like he just acted like a little boy. So glad he's okay and sorry you felt badly about the party. I know that 'everyone is looking at me' feeling.

WeaselMomma September 20, 2009 at 8:22 AM  

Motherhood ages us at 3x the rate that time does. Days like this are fortunately few and far between.

Jenn M September 20, 2009 at 9:15 AM  

Yikes! It all ended well, plus if you don't get invited to anymore birthday parties, think about the money you'll save ;)

H F W September 20, 2009 at 10:10 AM  

I hate those "stomach drop" moments in which you cannot immediately find your child. I'm so glad he is all right. It's so scary. Hugs, mama. I still think you're a great mom ... it happens to the best of us.

Tara R. September 20, 2009 at 12:00 PM  

I would have been beside myself. I'm glad everything turned out okay for Mister Man. I bet the other kids and parents won't remember any of this next week.

Jeff September 20, 2009 at 12:05 PM  

How did this whole "invite the entire Kindergarten class to the birthday party" thing ever get started in the first place? We did the same thing with our kids too. Fortunately, you don't ever have to do it again.

Let me rephrase that... you never WILL do it again.

Clueless_Mama September 20, 2009 at 2:23 PM  

Ok, don't be so hard on yourself. I am sure most of the moms there have experienced something like this with their own. If not then you will only be talked about for a little while before the next kid does something. LOL I am glad he was ok!

Anonymous September 20, 2009 at 2:23 PM  

OMG! What an awful experience all around. I am so sorry all of this happened, and am glad that everyone is okay . . . although I can only imagine the number of years this instantly aged you!

Mary~Momathon September 20, 2009 at 2:30 PM  

Ohhh, you poor mama! Those sneaky kids are so fast! Glad he's just fine. What an educational day!

Anonymous September 20, 2009 at 7:23 PM  

Wow, Mother of the Year it is. Relieved he was alright. Whew!

Cookie September 20, 2009 at 10:23 PM  

Yikes! That does sound like a tough lesson learned. No offense, but sure hope I don't top you for mom of the year! ;)

Melisa with one S September 21, 2009 at 6:19 PM  

Oops! Hey, it happens. The good thing is, he's fine. And you'll recover, I promise!

Michelle September 21, 2009 at 9:44 PM  

Shelly - It absolutely did. He was told to go put on his shoes and come back. How that turned into a jaunt into the neighborhood.... And thanks for the vote of confidence. Are you available Oct 17? ;)

Kelly - Oh so am I! And no, he knows to stay very far away from fire... that's been pounded into his head. Maybe there's hope for us yet!

Margaret - You mean like "keep your hands to yourself" so he kicked the kid bugging him instead? Yeah... that spelling things out is definitely a challenge.

Stacey - A little boy just wanders away? Yikes! And yes, it was totally the everyone's looking at me. Since I was the ONLY MOM who wasn't there for the party (I'm still bitter at my mom...).

WeaselMomma - Is that why I'm starting to go grey? We haven't had a day like this in over two years, but hopefully it's way more than two years before the next one.

Jenn - Sadly, I did think about that part of the benefit! Is that wrong?

Hyacynth - Thanks for the support. It's the good kids who generally do what you tell them that you have to be the most on top of apparently.

Tara - I can only hope! This isn't how I want to be remembered.... Here's hoping our next experience is ummm more positive.

Jeff - I'm not sure, but I've already told him this is the last year for a huge birthday party. Starting in first grade, we narrow it down to a few good friends.

Clueless Mama - I hope so. There was a little boy who almost fell backwards off the deck that I saw... and the two other boys standing on the plastic picnic table who broke it (yay, not my kid!)....

Nichole - Too many, I think. Fortunately he appears to have very clearly learned his lesson. VERY clearly.

Mary - It isn't so much fast as it is ... easily distracted? He went there for a job and then saw something more interesting. Thank God he didn't try to climb inside the bouncy house and suffocate!

Midday Escapades - I know. I know. I can only hope this is my last entry.

Cookie - No kidding. Trust and a six year old ... it's a short leash. And it just got shorter.

Melisa - Coming from a mom of two happy, well-adjusted teens! I'm still not fully over it but definitely doing better.

Pat September 22, 2009 at 5:21 PM  

Wow, scary!! Whatever happened to "the child's age plus one" for the number of kids to invite? Is that passe and uncool now?

I guess I'm 25 years behind the times as far as kids' birthday parties go.

I'm glad your son learned those safety issues from that experience.

Michelle March 28, 2010 at 10:52 PM  

Pat - Ummm it comes, but not until after kindergarten. And maybe first grade. Soon though for sure!

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