Kindergarten Birthday S.W.A.G.


Did you know that there are buttons that cost $7.95 apiece even after the 25% discount?

“Children have expensive taste in buttons,” the crazy sewing lady behind the counter nodded to me, knowingly.

Here’s the thing: we went to a birthday party last week and all the kids got goodies bags of homemade play dough with aromatherapy oil and metallic dust (only losers use glitter) presented in hand painted spaghetti sauce jars with tags made out of hand pressed Venetian paper and at that moment Evie became the envy of all the mothers even though we all know she dumped the load on her mother’s helper who worked like a dog to get lavender play dough out of red and blue food coloring (the trick is to add the red first).

And next week is Madelyn’s 5th birthday and I’ve got to come up with something better than that snooty bitch Evie.  I thought I’d make jewelry boxes for all the kids.  They have little balsa wood boxes at the arts and crafts store for $8.99 apiece and I figured I could paint them and put some hair decorations in the box.

I bought the boxes (12) and some more metallic dust (seafoam, magenta, burnt orange, pixie gold, and oyster pink at $3.99 a jar) plus some iridescent acrylic paint ($6.99) and some glow-in-the-dark shellac ($11.99).  Then I needed some brushes—I caught one of the twins chewing on the ones from that crappy Melissa & Doug watercolor kit from Santa so the brushes are missing most of their bristles.  A little pricey at $24.99 for half a dozen, but what could I do?  Then I needed some special paintbrush cleaning soap, which, luckily, was on sale for $12.99 for a big bottle of it.

But barrettes and hair bands seem like a chinsy gift, so I thought that maybe I could get some buttons to put in the jewelry box so we went to the last button store on the West Coast where they have buttons the size of your fist and Madelyn picked out $87 dollars’ worth of buttons, but I talked her down to the plastic box of discount buttons and got that down to $61 and change.  God, these are going to be the best fucking birthday goody bags EVER.

But then if you look at buttons in a balsa wood box, they don’t look like kick-ass presents, they look like buttons—or, if you’re thinking about the twins, choking hazards—even if you’ve spent $61 on them.

So I thought, what if I made costume jewelry out of them?  So I went back to the arts and crafts store and got a new ultra deluxe glue gun ($7.99) and they have glitter glue sticks ($3.99 a piece or $15.99 for four) and that’s when I saw the feathers, which, I’m not sure how I’ll fit them into the jewelry, but they were practically GIVING them away for just $10.99 for the lot of them: pink, purple and turquoise feathers.  God, all the mothers will envy me now!  I’ll make feather boas for all the kids!  Even Derek, who, let’s face it, the writing’s on the wall.  The boy doesn’t play with firetrucks or water guns, he’s always in the play kitchen making scones.  The sooner that kid gets a feather boa and gets on track where he should be, the better.

OK – so now I have the feathers and the buttons, and the glue gun and the metallic dust and the glow-in-the-dark paint, I’ll I need is some Papier-mâché mix to make the tiaras.  And then I’ll glue the buttons to the tiaras.  Shit, maybe I should just forget the jewelry boxes and stick with the feather boas, I mean, I’ve got to do something with these feathers.  Who knew sixteen pounds of feathers would take up so much space?


Janine Kovac enjoys champagne, folded laundry, and moonlit walks on the beach thinking about champagne and folded laundry.  She writes because God tells her to.


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