Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Oh, the things we do to make our kids happy


Some of my favorite childhood memories are of my birthday parties; I can picture a fancy black velvet dress I wore with pink tulle trim, my mom walking out of the kitchen with a cake filled with lit candles, the flash of my dad's camera as everyone sang Happy Birthday. So I make a big deal out of the kids' parties, too. For her last one, Sabrina had eight girls at the house for a sleepover, just them and me (Dave and Max escaped to my sister's house). I wasn't fazed.

Max's Lightning McQueen shebang happens on Sunday. (Perhaps you heard about it on Entertainment Tonight?) The stakes are high, cause he's been talking about it for close to a year now. So I am a little fazed.

Months ago, we picked up Cars 2 cups, napkins, plates (big and small), cone hats and tablecloths at Party City. Max has kept the bag of stuff next to his bed ever since, so in case someone breaks into our home in the middle of the night, they won't make off with the Cars 2 paper goods.

* We are going back to Party City for more this weekend, just in case.


* There's a full list of party goods hanging up in Max's room, which his music therapist compiled at his request, JUST in case anyone forgets. And evidently, there's a Cars 2 Party song to go along with the list, which she is taping for me sometime soon. There are also similar lists posted throughout the house. JUST in case.


I ordered a Cars 2 piƱata online and hid it in the basement, along with some race-car flag wall decorations.

Cold Stone Creamery is tragically no longer making the Cars 2 design Max had on his last two birthday cakes, so I talked him into this edible cake topper I found on ebay:


Then I had the following phone conversation with the Cold Stone Creamery guy, per Max's instructions:

Me: "We want the cake to read 'Max is getting a talking Lightning McQueen.'"
Cold Stone guy: "Huh?!"
Me: "I know, it's a little unusual, but we want the cake to read 'Max is getting a talking Lightning McQueen.'"
Cold Stone guy: "OK." [sounds dubious]
Me: "That's all it should say! Please don't put Happy Birthday."
Cold Stone guy "OK." [sounds dubious]
Me: "Oh, and 'Max' should be all in capitals."
Cold Stone Guy: "OK." [sounds dubious]
Me: "And please use red icing, last year there was green icing and my son got upset."
Cold Stone guy: "Oh, that's because for some reason sometimes the red icing freezes up in the tube, so the person who made the last cake had to use another color."
Me: "PLEASE, make sure it has red icing."
Cold Stone guy: "OK." [sounds like he really wants to get off the phone]

There will be pizza served at the bowling alley. Max wants red juice; I'm not sure what kind he has in mind so we'll head to the supermarket this weekend to pick out some.

Meanwhile, Max got a Cars 2 balloon on Friday, and he keeps telling me it needs to be at the party. It's parked in the kitchen, by his chair, and I have been sending fervent wishes to the birthday gods to miraculously let the helium last until Sunday.

The buildup is so major, I am worried whether the party will live up to his expectations. Send good birthday karma my way.

If he starts talking about next year's party anytime afterward, I might run away to Tahiti.

And if you need a Cars 2 birthday party planner, Max is available for hire; you just have to pay him in Cars 2 merchandise.


24 comments:

  1. I really am looking forward to Sunday! Happy Birthday Max.

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  2. Do you know about little toy cars with sensors on them so that they follow any line that a kid can draw? Of course the cars aren't Lightning McQueens, but if they come in red, maybe the requisite features could be convincingly added. Wouldn't that be a blast, not to mention a way to sneak in some fine motor/eye-hand-coordination therapy? Check out http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pa2xHjv0v5E and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0t-eF11HLlE

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    1. YES! We just got that for Max, it was one of the toys on the gift list I put together this year here: http://www.lovethatmax.com/2013/11/holiday-gifts-for-kids-with-special.html. We got the blue one and he loves it!

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  3. I love that whole Cars 2 birthday thing and your posts about them!! I so cannot wait for the birthday party post and I keep my fingers crossed that you willl be able to fulfil his expectations! Enjoy the party!

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  4. Happy Birthday to Max. All the talk of the red icing and the red juice made me wonder if Max is over his purple obsession? I'll be a little sad if he is! :)

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    1. Rest assured, if you ask him what his favorite color is, it's purple. We just painted part of his bedroom royal purple! But he's a little more open to toys of different colors. The Cars 2 obsession is far stronger than the purple one. He wants red icing because that's how the last Cars 2 cake looked. The red juice request, though, is a total mystery. Unless he's developed some secret addiction to Hi-C.

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  5. Happy 'Max is getting a talking Lightening McQueen' day, Max! (and Ellen b/c the kiddo's joy really is our joy) Hope it is tons of fun! I just love the conversation with the Cold Stone guy...can so relate!

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  6. Ha ha, that is awesome about the icing! I told you the color matters!! Happy Birthday Max!!! Can't wait to read all about it!!!! xxooxxoo

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  7. That convo with the Cold Stone Creamery guy was hysterical. I want to hear how the cake turns out!! Happy Birthday Max and Happy Birthday Mama!!!

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  8. Happy Birthday Max! We'll be thinking about you! (Incidentally, JP's birthday party is this Sunday, at a bowling alley too... what a funny coincidence! Have fun!)

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  9. But there is no mention of where the Talking Lightning McQueen - please tell me that is safely purchased and waiting, b/c you don't need me to tell you if there's no Talking Lighting McQueen it ain't gonna be pretty.

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    1. We got it over the summer and it's also been hidden in our basement, ever since. We were SO not taking any chances.

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    2. PHEW. And Happy Birthday, Max!

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  10. I'm sure that if the balloon flakes out you can get a helium boost from your nearest dollar store? Have a great weekend.

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  11. Ellen,

    Have you thought of explaining to Coldstone Creamery, "Look, my child has special needs, and since it's his birthday, I don't want to put the onus on HIM to make psychological accommodations that are difficult for him. 99% of the time he's the one who has to struggle to adapt to a world not set up for him, and I want his birthday to be a respite from all that. If the red icing freezes, can you just run it under some warm water to thaw it? It matters a great deal to one little boy who's already got a lot on his plate."

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    1. That is one finely crafted response! I ultimately did tell the guy he had special needs.

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  12. Happy 11th Birthday Max! And to Ellen you only have 2 more years until you are a mom to a teenager! I actually laughed outloud reading this post, it was so funny and sweet.

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  13. The good news? Party City will refill helium balloons. You could bring it with you for a refill on Saturday. Have fun. I know the party will be awesome.

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    1. The bad news is that this is the one thing that didn't come from Party City!!! But it is STILL filled with air. Maybe it will be a birthday miracle.

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  14. Hopefully the Cold Stone employees follow the instructions. By the way, will Max settle for purple icing?

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  15. Happy Birthday Max :) Oh what a mother won't do for her kids.

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  16. Happy Birthday Max! Planning any child's birthday party can be difficult, but it sounds like you handled it like a pro, Ellen. I hope you found everything you needed, and that the balloon stayed full of helium!

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Thanks for sharing!