NWI Parent

In The Land of Birthday Parties

August 17th, 2010 - By Jamie Bissot

Birthday Parties.  I have fond and not-so-fond feelings on the subject. On the fond side – the delight in my child’s face as she blows out the candles or sees her friends arrive.  There are also the pictures of the girls screaming with excitement as they play with their friends.  The memories of the celebration days will last a lifetime.  The headaches of planning it will last mere moments – so why do I dread it so?

It’s because I’m obsessive about…well, most anything.  Why?  No matter how simple I keep it, I want the day to be perfect – head to toe perfect.  Which means I obsess and nit-pick over every little detail. What will they wear?  What time is best for everyone?  Should we have food and cake or just cake? And my favorite – “Yes, the tablecloth should match the paper products!” (As said to my husband about  a year ago).  All those minor details turn into a major headache for me.

Usually, I prefer to have the gathering in my home.  Sometimes with entertainment of some sort and sometimes without.  But that means I want my house to be spotless/perfect on top of a “perfect” party (whatever that is).  You see, here’s the thing, I’m not going to sit here and pretend that party day is all balloons and rainbows for me.  It’s stressful and I only enjoy it when I’m in the thick of it.  The week before and hours until, I’m a genuine mess.

This year, being our first away from “home”, we went the route of a destination birthday party here in Northwest Indiana.  We chose our favorite, Bellaboo’s.  They handled everything for me, so all I had to do was show up with the kids.  I still got the beaming faces, the thrilled laughs and I had none of the headache.

I was returning on the heels of being out of town for 3 weeks, so I took a much more carefree approach than normal.  I delegated (delegated!)  tiara and pinwheel assembly to my husband and father.  I asked my mom to help get the kids ready so I could (gasp!) get ready myself.  Plus, I patiently waited for my secret weapon to arrive on party day – the mommy helper.  She helped me corral the kids from one room to another at the party so I was actually able to socialize and enjoy the party.

Another birthday party down and many more to go.

Bellaboos, I Thank You.

May 24th, 2010 - By Jamie Bissot

There is a place in Lake Station called Bellaboo’s.  I’m sure you’ve heard of it and probably been there.  Once you go, you’re ready to go back.  My kids would live there if I let them – in fact, my oldest said she could make a nice bed in the ball pit and I could come back for her the next day, I declined.

So, summer’s here and you’ve got to fill the days with something, right?  My vote – head here.  Why?  Well, I’m a big believer in “Pretend Play” – and they’ve got that covered.  Sure, Bellaboo’s has a massive climbing structure complete with ball pit.  They have a rockin’ art room for your child to work on her latest masterpiece.  They have a water table that my youngest thinks is a baby pool (Dear Management: Sorry about that).  They have a nice, quiet reading room when the kids need a little less stimulation.  They have this awesome padded room for babies that I would LOVE to have here. They have cooking classes daily.  They’ve got a bit of everything.  But my favorite our favorite is the pretend play wing.

She can spend hours checking out groceries, making pizza and serving it.  Then, she moves over to the “house” and gets dressed for the day in her chosen occupation.  It’s all there for her imagination to feast on.  Best of all, she is navigating the social side of the world as she pretends with others and graciously shares (yeah, I brag!) Meanwhile, I get to sit off to the side and watch as she pretends to be this or pretends to do that and I love it.

Also, don’t miss their line-up of summer camps and classes. What’s your kiddo’s favorite thing to do at Bellaboo’s?

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