Phragments From Phyllis: Chaos is a birthday party

  • Thursday, July 18, 2013

I had one of those experiences on Sunday that should be relegated to parents, not grandparents. Cade and Payton were invited to a birthday party at an Augusta establishment that features chaos, pizza and the possibility of prizes. Cat’s husband, Scott, was working all day, so in a weak moment I agreed to go with them to the party.

I had not been inside this establishment since my own children were the age my grandchildren now are. Things had changed a little – but not much.

There’s still the “characters,” as Payton kept referring to them. These are a band of four larger-than-life critters playing instruments on stage as a real “live” mouse (with a person inside, I presume) runs around greeting the birthday boys and girls. The bad news is the characters haven’t changed since the last time I was there. Their fur is now a bit, well, creepy, if you get too close – dusty, dingy and faded.

The pizza is still marginal, but the games and activities have changed significantly.

Where once there were 20 lanes of Skee-Ball, there are now maybe three or four such lanes (with a new name that I can’t remember). And there are typical arcade games, riding apparatuses, a play gym, games for which you can win lots and lots of tickets which you can then redeem for “prizes” of questionable quality and value.

And through it all, I was once again struck by the way personalities show through.

Cade loves to play video games at home. He and his dad spend hours battling zombies or reliving “Star Wars” in the form of a kid-friendly Lego game. So, I guess it should be no surprise that he was enamored of similar games at the birthday party. He wanted to shoot things – he’s pretty good at that – or fire hose flames before they get out of control, or battle aliens or play air hockey. Only when one of those games happened to have the option of winning tickets did he do anything that would garner the prizes. He enjoyed game after game for the sake of playing, and that’s all.

Payton, on the other hand, has that supercompetitive spirit. She only played games that gave a reward. And as soon as she realized that Mommy could win more tickets than she could, she would say, “No, Mommy, you do it.” She went from “Feed the Froggie” to “Whack the Shark” to games that gave you tickets just for spending one of your tokens. She had her eye on the prize and never wavered.

As a result, Payton ended the day with at least twice as many tickets as Cade. But amazingly, Cade was quite content to walk away with a package of Laffy Taffy and three rolls of Smarties, while Payton took home a handful of trinkets that included a bracelet, a ring and other items that I can’t remember.

I still remember taking my son there many, many years ago. He was about Payton’s age, I think. He became so overwhelmed with the prize options that he couldn’t make up his mind. As a result, I finally said he’d have to decide on a prize or we’d just hang onto the tickets until next time. Needless to say, Mac came home crying and virtually empty-handed – I believe I still have the remaining tickets somewhere in my dresser.

All in all, the experience was not awful – even for YaYa.

Question for moms

A question for moms out there: My other daughter, Liz, has been having a concern with baby Pearce. She periodically won’t take a bottle for an entire day. This seems to happen only at day care. At home, Pearce seems to eat fine. I’ve questioned whether it might have to do with her little tummy getting its fill during the day with more solid food, since she’s now eating “meals” three times a day – squash, carrots, sweet potatoes, cereal, etc., and not just taking milk.

But back to the problem at hand, I’ve wondered if Pearce is ready to wean. She is allergic to dairy products, so I thought maybe at some point even the body of a little baby rejects things that may not sit well – though her mom has taken all dairy from her own diet to accommodate the baby. If anyone has experience with this type of rejection of milk, please let me know. I can be reached at ppbritt29803@yahoo.com. Thanks, in advance.

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