The Party Was Healthy & Safe, Until I Got There


Little Skippy’s birthday party took place last Saturday, giving him the false impression that he is now 3 years old. In actuality, he will not be 3 until next Tuesday, but Tuesday is such a non-day that they have given it over to those seeking public office. (“Is there a day when so little is happening that people might actually go to the polls?” “I’ve heard Tuesday is a boring day, sir.”)

At any rate, on Saturday, about 15 preschoolers descended upon my daughter Jen’s property. The party theme was “farming,” apropos as she lives on a microgreens farm. Jen had prepared all sorts of finger foods for these tots — a veggie platter, corn cobettes and steamed soybeans in pods (called “enemy,” at least to my untrained ear and doubting tastebuds). There was even a specially prepared cake from Whole Foods which contained no sugar and was greenish-blue in color. Parents, especially those of gluten-rejecting, egg-fearing, peanut-allergic and lactose-intolerant children, were impressed. I was impressed. The buffet was a colorful offering of healthy snacks.

Of course, the kids avoided it like the plague. Here’s what they liked: my contribution to the farm theme… Worms in Dirt.

For the uninitiated, Worms in Dirt is a make-it-yourself edible craft project in which each child is given a tiny plastic bucket filled with chocolate pudding and a diminutive shovel with which to ladle crushed Oreos on top. The best part is when gummy worms are poked down into the “soil” as a grand finale. Oh, and everyone is a mess when it’s over. It’s fun to make, fun to eat and fun to watch — especially with a bunch of toddlers and preschoolers. I was having a great time.

To avoid a family feud, I had asked permission from my daughter first, never dreaming she’d give it. But it turned out that she, too, wanted the party to be kind of fun for the kids. So we watched and laughed as Skippy (who is ordinarily not allowed to eat any sugar at all) dove into the plate of rainbow-colored worms with both hands, cramming them into his mouth as if he were starving. Other overly cautious, modern parents looked on in horror as their well-bred and healthy children used the little plastic shovels to scoop giant helpings of pudding and worms into their mouths at an alarming rate, virtually guaranteeing a caffeine high and a sugar low later in the day. Parents were able to take solace in the fact that the crushed Oreos were completely ignored… looking, as they did, a bit too much like real dirt.

Jen had also supplied a number of small pools in which the children could wade and play with bubbles. I, however, had gone out and purchased a Slip’N Slide so children could careen wildly down a slope, crashing into each other at the bottom in a non-lethal preschool version of bumper cars. Oh, it was a glorious day! I love being a grandma.