Welcome to the KingZoo and Funny Farm, where we learn to live, laugh, and love together. Here you'll find snippets of life in our zoo, parenting tips we've learned along the way, reflections on shining God's light in this world, passions in the realm of orphan care, and our journey as parents of a visually impaired child with sensory processing disorder. Have fun!

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

The extinction of the birthday treat

When I was little, my mother made whoopie pies every October so that I would have an awesome treat to take into school to share with my peers for my birthday.  Truth be told, it was the only day of the year that most of the kids even payed attention to me.  And a mom who made whoopie pies for a birthday treat?  I'm pretty certain it didn't get any better than that.  There were a few unfortunate years when my brother chose Jell-O jigglers to take into school but then again, he didn't need a whoopie pie making mother to give him popularity points, he had plenty all the other 179 days of the year.

Imagine my thrill when I became a mother, knowing that I was going to be able to carry on the fabulous birthday treat tradition.  But then my children were born with minds of their own and not only did they, like my brother, not need whoopie pies to boost their self-esteem, they also didn't share my taste for exceptional home made goodies.  One year Jesse chose ice cream sandwiches.  Ice cream sandwiches.  You can't make ice cream sandwiches.  Well, I take that back.  Pinterest says that you can make ice cream sandwiches but since they don't have their roots in Amish cooking and can't be found in any authentic Mennonite cookbooks, I would be genetically unable to make home made ice cream sandwiches.  That was the worst trip to the grocery store I ever took.  To buy ice cream sandwiches for my son's school birthday treat.  And since it was in the same school that I had taught, a Mennonite school with Mennonite teachers who all knew that ice cream sandwiches cannot be homemade, I couldn't show my face for a week!

But then we started to homeschool and the annual birthday treat became a thing of the past.  Making dessert for the family is not the same thing as making a masterpiece to take into the classroom to impress the teacher and to thrill the students.  To make matters worse, even if our children had been in school, most schools have banned the best of these treats, somehow trying to brainwash parents into believing that carrot and celery sticks are treats and the new best way to celebrate your child's entrance into this world.  I'm not going to get into allergies and preferences and politically correct birthday treats, but I'm sorry, there is no way that you are going to convince me that a box of raisins is the best way to celebrate my child's birthday.  I'm so glad you were born, Son.  Here, take these grapes to school and tell your teacher how much I love you.  Whoopie pies, yes.  Ice cream sandwiches, maybe.  Crackers and hummus?  No.

So my daughter made me giddy with excitement today when she told us how at her school, they find all kinds of reasons to celebrate, and each celebration comes with treats from home.  Broke up with your boyfriend?  Don't worry, someone will lift your spirits the next day with cupcakes.  Want to do something enjoyable to mark the occasion of Fat Food Friday (not its real name but I was afraid if I used their real name for this day, I'd get too much hate mail)?  Take Puppy Chow or Pregnant Cookies. Want to celebrate a birthday?  You guessed it - take Whoopie Pies!  Her birthday isn't until May but I have already gotten her to sign a contract stating that I can make whoopie pies for her school birthday treat.  Welcome to arts school, the school where the rules are made up and the grades don't matter.  And where a mother can make whatever she wants to celebrate her child's life.

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