I had to do it. I had to shake the dust off my wallet and dig in for some dollars to spend.
I caved to the pressures of a blond, gaptoothed, red eyeglasses-wearing, Power Rangers-loving, now 4-year-old. That's right, my precious son, FDR, turned 4 yesterday.
Luckily, all he wanted for his birthday was a Power Rangers cake and, of course, "a toy, Mami, a toy!"
It didn't dawn on me that he'd even know it was his birthday but, alas, he's growing up. I have to face the fact that he's no longer a toddler. He's entered the world of temporary tattoos, goody bags and day care parties. There's no going back.
"The other day it was Seven's birthday, and we all got cupcakes and juice and candy," he said excitedly. "It was so much fun, Mami! I want all that stuff for my birthday. Can I, Mami, can I?" Who could say no?!
But I did do the next best thing to not spending — in my book, at least. Can you guess where I went for all my party needs?
Yup, the dollar store.
FDR's day care class has 18 kids. I got all that was needed for his fiesta — two bags of balloons, three packs of birthday hats, four bags of candy, a 20-pack of goody bags, a tablecloth for the cake table, popcorn, plates, candles, and even a few superhero puzzles to give to him as gifts — for a grand total of $23.81.
If you do the math, that's about $1.32 spent per guest. It's not free, but it's not breaking the bank, either.
Seeing such big grins on those little faces — especially on FDR's — was, for me, truly priceless. We all had so much fun jumping up and down and throwing balloons in the air inside the classroom. And they all loved the cake.
Now, the cake, which I ordered last minute at Uncle Giuseppe's, cost $38.75, but my sweet mother, who lives in Miami, sent me money to cover it. She also threw in another $50 (yes, $50!) for FDR's "one toy."
She said a puzzle is not a toy. What can I tell you? She spoils them.
"What are grandmothers for?" she asked. To spend when Mami can't spend? "That and so much more," she replied.
She's a wealth of wisdom, that woman.