Lemon County: How To Win At Children's Games...
Over the past few years many strange things have come and gone in Lemon County, but few have burned so bright, and so short, as the "make a thing" Birthday parties.
When they first arrive they are cute and clever, I mean who wouldn't want to build their own stuffed animal? Why should some underpaid factory worker in China have all the fun?
The best part is not only the actual making of your oh-so-loved bedtime companion, but, accessorizing the little darling to death (at a small additional charge.) You pay for all the pieces (heavily I might add, but how do you put a cost on a small child's smile?) then go to the various child friendly machines and actually give birth to your very own bear, or tiger, or what ever takes your fancy.
The first victims (or customers if we are being charitable) were weekend daddies. Desperate men looking for something to do in those precious, court-ordered hours, before their offspring had to be returned, to their regularly scheduled life, and the angry ex wife.
At the equivalent cost of a couple of pairs of decent shoes, your little darling gets to make something with daddy. Fun right up to the inevitable, "Oh, we can buy a bear, but paying alimony on time is too hard" comment due at drop off time.
Then the real money got made. Birthdays. How cute would it be if twelve of Lemon Counties most precious nine year olds, could, you know, go in a limo, get their nails done, and then each make a bear to take home with them. The birthday girl gets to make the biggest bear, but everybody gets something, which is cool right? All you have to do is provide a cake, and check that the store has a place for them all to sit, and scrape off the frosting, and not get it on any of the other things in the store.
Nothing to clean up at the house either, how great is that. Expensive, sure, but do you have any idea how much a quality theme party can cost? (For fathers of daughters think of these as dry runs for the real assault on your wallet, known as their wedding)
Well this is splendid if you are the first in your social circle to think of it, and raises the bar significantly for all the others, (called an, I-win-bitch, in Lemon County). The second birthday child in the group does the pottery thing, the third makes a doll, and the fourth is totally screwed.
You could always be the weird parents, you know, the ones who decide that a touch tank of sea creatures might be a good idea, (nails need to be done after the touching, thank you) or that hands-on science is going to float their little boats, but, the LC's finest generally don't equate field trip with birthday, and you will be indelibly marked as a teacher, or just plain weird, if you try it.
A girls’ day of shopping has briefly become vogue, you know after the nails and hair, but frankly, walking around the mall on your birthday is so, well, regular summer stuff, even if you are dolled up like a princess.
Ditto, theme parks, theme restaurants, theme anything. Great if you are first, lousy if not. Now it is not my intent to encourage untoward carnal thinking, but the seasonal birthday things tend to kick off after school starts in September, so logic would suggest that to be first, you need a baby born in the first weeks of September. That means getting busy around the New Year is highly recommended.
Brings new meaning to Make-A-Thing, right?
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