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Let's Panic: The Book!

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How to Endure and Possibly Triumph Over the Adorable Tyrant
who Will Ruin Your Body, Destroy Your Life, Liquefy Your Brain,
and Finally Turn You
into a Worthwhile
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Written by Alice Bradley and Eden Kennedy

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At LET'S PANIC ABOUT BABIES, Eden Kennedy and I share our hard-won wisdom and tell you exactly what to think and feel and do, whether you're about to have a baby or already did and don't know what to do with it. → 

« A brief account of the festivities. | Main | Watch out, she’s angry. »

Guess who's almost four?

Last weekend, in addition to braving the Swedish Hellscape, we went to Party City to buy birthday crap for Henry. I know! We’re officially suburban. Except we also went there the year before. When you need to buy party paraphernalia for the small and easily impressed, the City of Parties is the swift, efficient, terrible option.

And we bought a pinata. I was opposed—is it not a bad idea to arm the children? And then once they’ve dealt many swift and violent blows, to reward them with a mountain of candy? It seems like a poor message—but Husband insisted, and as in all things, I surrendered. So now we have an empty Darth Vader head waiting in our closet, aching to be filled with sugary delights. Soon we will satisfy the Head, only to watch it get split in twain by crazed preschoolers.

Other than the Head, our plans for “Four! The Party” involve watching chocolate-coated children run shrieking about the room as the adults take cover and worry about the future of our already troubled nation. Also there will be Pin the Tail on the Donkey. Pray for us.

Reader Comments (67)

If I were to follow the ideas as put forth on the Surrendered site, my family would soon be living under an overpass. Let my husband have financial control--ha!
October 6, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterNee S.
Oooh. We had a pinata-incident. 'Twas a donkey. My son believed it was a dog. My son loves dogs. 'Twas not a good scene when the other kids started beating the cr*p out of the sweet doggy. We've never been invited back to that family's abode.

(But beating the crap out of Darth Vader? That's all good, right? Just don't ban any kids who object because you fear they are protecting their Master; their sadness might be empathy.)
October 6, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterKari
And don't forget, they'll be *blindfolded* chocolate-coated children running and shrieking--extra fun! (Blindfolded for the donkey tail-pinning and the pinata-whacking, not just for your amusement...)
October 6, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterMandy
It's only too bad you can't have a pinata fashioned in the likeness of the woman from Ikea.
October 6, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterMom101
So I'll start out by saying that my son is the sensitive type. When he was 18 months old we took him to the party held for a neighborhood kid turning 2. When they brought out the zebra pinata my son saw it and joyfully said "Neigh neigh! Neigh neigh!" He loved going to see the carriage horses they house in a stable in our neighborhood - and had a real interest in horses. They hung up the pinata and children began beating it with a stick - my son stared bewildered. None of the kids could get it to open so the birthday Mom gave it a forceful beating and when the candy came pouring out my son started crying and screaming "Neigh neigh! Neigh neigh!" Like he'd seen an actual horse beaten to death. I took him over to the remains to show him it was just cardboard and that there was candy but he pulled away in horror. Needless to say - I don't think we'll ever be getting him a pinata for his birthday. Good Luck with yours. At least you'll be beating down the forces of evil.
October 6, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterNiki
Costa Rica is deep in piñata country and my girls have been to their share of parties.

Parents here tend to grab whatever stick they can find at the moment...I've seen kids slinging everything from baseball bats to splintery pieces of scrap wood to full-length broomsticks. And people here are surprisingly relaxed about the other kids' proximity to the weapon. And yet, to be honest, I've actually never seen a kid get beaned.

Anyway, things I've learned:

- No blindfolds. Kids that age probably wouldn't like them anyway.- Give some thought to the weapon. Go short. Very very short. You can even pad it by wrapping the stick with some foam rubber or a small towel or something, then wrapping the whole thing in electrical tape.- Pre-damage the piñata if you want but, here, once everyone's had a turn or when the piñata starts to lose it, a grownup calls a halt, takes the thing, and tears it open. Then they toss the candy out in various directions, covering the entire field of scrabbling greed.

And my own contribution: when you fill the Vaderhead, save a few handfulls of stuff for that kid that's left crying at the end.
October 6, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterJennifer
My niece just had her four-year old party, and instead of "Pin the Tail on the Donkey", the huge hit was playing "Put the Food in the Kid":

My sister traced the birthday girl on a huge piece of paper and cut it out. Then they decorated it together and made sure that "she" had a big open mouth. Then they made purple "grapes" out of play-dough (easy to roll the little balls), and then each kid had to take turns being blindfolded and jamming the grapes in the mouth of the paper kid.

Four year olds love when food ends up where it shouldn't (such sophisticated, transgressive humour!), and they were all delighted and hysterical at the mess they made. Whoo hoo!

Have fun!!
October 6, 2006 | Unregistered Commenterbanjeroo
Banjeroo, that may be the best idea I've ever heard.
October 6, 2006 | Unregistered Commenteralice
I am totally going to have a "Sin~ata" for my next birthday, LetterB.

I also vote for a candy-less pinata (even though it does remind me of my ex-boyfriend who used to hand out bullion cubes to trick-or-treaters). You could put small plastic toys in it. It wouldn't have to be full of shredded mini wheats or anything boring like that.
October 6, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterBitterSugarPixie
Available Now: If you send in a photo to the Surrendered Wife, you can have a pinata made in your own likeness for everyone to bash! Par-Tay! SW Pinata Heads come empty and they recommend keeping them that way for authenticity. How easy is that?! As we say around here, "An empty head, is a satisfied head!"

Coming Soon: For the advanced SW practicioner, looking to transcend to a new level of marital joy, they will soon be releasing the all new Stepford Surrendered Wife Pinata-Bots. Made to order, they are full size pinatas in your likeness and come mounted on a Roomba base. If you'd like to participate in the current SSW Pinata-Bot Beta testing, please have your husband send in his email address and a photo of you he likes.

October 6, 2006 | Unregistered Commenterlaugh
BSP: I'm definitely putting Shredded Wheat in the pinata. And little anti-bacterial wipe packets. And maybe some minestrone soup mix. Or just tiny, tiny bibles. Fun!
October 6, 2006 | Unregistered Commenteralice
May I suggest that you show the kids the pinata and then run it over with a car or a truck???and then maybe just maybe it will be soft enough for themto break with a bat..???I had my husband and all my cousins bashing that thing for what seemed like hours with all he parents just waiting for the blasted thing to break so that they may take their kids home...
October 7, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterPendullum

You haven't lived until you see the gleeful faces of 10 little 4-yr-old GIRLS bashing the livng daylights out of My Little Pony.

The birthday girl? Not so amused.

Next party, pull the string on the pinata. And when I was a kid, everyone pulled at once. So, when it dropped we were all there to scavenge the spoils.

October 7, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterAni
You could fill the Vader head with broccoli. It will teach the kids one of two things:

(1) Hitting is bad, and you will be pummeled with vegetables if you hit someone in the head with a stick, even if they are wearing a helmet and/or deserve it for being so evil.

(2) Darth Vader's head is filled with broccoli. That explains why he's so damn evil. And the bad acting. Noooooooooooooo!
October 7, 2006 | Unregistered Commenterkrystyn
I love Party City. I love pinatas.But...Those pinatas are a lot harder to crack open than you'd expect. Typically, every child gets a few good swings/whacks at the pinata before an adult male has to give it all he has to break the pinata.
October 8, 2006 | Unregistered Commenterweremonkey
I made a Death Star pinata and a really horrible-looking Darth Vader cake for my son's last birthday party. I'm too depressed to send you photos. But the kids had a good time. In the words of Ivana Trump (yes, I know what she's like and what she says, you think I don't? Well, I do), "ENjoy!"
October 8, 2006 | Unregistered Commentercapacious
Let's hope the chocolate-covered children, in their sugar buzzed glory, don't pin the tail on the Mommy instead.

"Heavenly father, bless this Mommy..."
October 9, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterPaige

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