Delivering Birthday Party Invitations: An Unexpected Workout

Filed under: Activities: Babies

At Cabin Fever we aim to make room for everyone in the family to participate, however small or tall the activity. In our last post, our almost-seven-year-old made her own birthday invitations. Thus, our Saturday afternoon plan: to deliver freshly-made invitations to friends in the neighbourhood. Sounds ideal, no? The great outdoors, exercise, everyone focused on a simple mission.

Well, file this experience under The Best of Intentions... (sigh).

I've got invitations stowed in a Ziploc bag (check!), a mental map of invitees within walking distance (check!), and good weather (phew!). But I've also got a major snag: only parent on duty. Zero back-up. Rousing four idle children into action is a feat of cat-herding at the best of times.

"Let's ride scooters!" I suggest, in a fit of inspiration (or insanity).

The unexpected trump card works, and after a wrestling match in the front hall and a search for helmets, we're off. Well, sort of. First, there's blood. The birthday girl herself, injured before we've left the driveway, in a tumble off her scooter. The bad news: she's knocked a tooth. The good news: it isn't out, and it's one she's due to lose soon anyway.

"I think I can make it, Mama," she assures. And we're off. Again...
By the sidewalk, it's clear the eldest's scooter needs serious repair.

"Let's turn around and get your bike instead."

"But if I just go like this," frantic rolling of front tire across pavement, "it works again."

Okay, then. Shall we?

Four-year-old on training wheels shrieks. We're falling behind! It's uphill. Who planned this route anyway? Toddler in stroller loathes his mittens, loathes them. A broken animal cracker stuffed in the mouth soothes, but only for a moment.

"I think I can, I think I can, I think I can," the four-year-old and I chant together. A line from our favourite inspirational book: The Little Engine That Could.

The older children wait for us at the first intersection. I hand over the bag of invitations. "Go on ahead. We'll catch up."

No one appears home, at any of the houses we visit. The birthday girl points out we've only gone to two. I could swear it's more. And it's all downhill from here.

The eldest drags his recalcitrant scooter, scraping up sparks. The four-year-old howls, "Too fast! Too fast!" as I clutch her handlebars, guide the stroller, and with my magical third hand stuff the last animal cracker crumb into a toddler in active revolt. My fourth hand is speed-dialing my husband for some long-distance commiseration.

The birthday girl is devastated to discover we are turning for home. "But we still have five more houses to go!"

"Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow," I mutter, and speak slowly and clearly into the cellphone: "And tomorrow, honey, it's your turn."

Tips for a happier journey: Always wear a helmet on scooters, bicycles, and skateboards. Check tire pressure and lubricate gears and wheels before heading out. And always, always, always bring a snack.

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.