Excavate at Your Own Risk

Knowing my 6 year old’s Prehistoric Marine Reptile Dinosaur birthday was around the corner (his theme choice…as if that needs to be clarified), I needed some small party favors to take to his kindergarten class that were non-edible. (Non-edible, because when the youths today eat sugar, food dye, gluten, or non-grass-fed meat they spontaneously combust. It’s easier not to feed them at all.)

I ordered a few things from Amazon – some dinosaur stamps and stickers – but I needed just *one* more little something small to stick in the bag. This was, after all, his first ever birthday to be celebrated at school.

It was A Huge Deal.

Kroger came through for me.

In their party supply aisle, they had a sheet of Magic Grow Dinosaurs.

You know – the capsule containers you place in water that melt and turn into animal-shaped sponges that are completely useless except to blow small children’s minds with simple magic.

There were 18 in the pack, so I took one capsule out for each of his classmates.

The more I looked at the capsule, though, the more I wondered if the kids would try to eat it. (Especially since they’re all starving to death from their kale and tofurkey diets.)

So I tried to make it appear as inedible as possible.

I taped the capsule with washi tape to the bottom of a little card that gave instructions for growing the dinosaur:

And it felt good. It felt really good to me.

I was impressed with my own genius.

…until Beckett came downstairs the next morning, took one look at the card, and said,

“Who are these dinosaur vitamins for?”

Because – oh, that’s right – most kindergarteners do not read in-depth directions.

At this point you might be thinking I scratched the whole idea and stuck with a half empty favor bag.

Sadly, no.

I took the bags – capsules and all – to the school.

This was the second week of school, mind you, so I was still trying to figure out how to send a kid to school, how to interact with teachers, how and when visiting school is appropriate, etc.

And here I was, sending pills. To small children.

When I got to Beckett’s class to pass them out, I asked the teacher if I could make a small announcement.

“Hey, kids! We wanted to bring you a small treat to celebrate our favorite Beckett today, but I need you to know that there is NO food in this bag. Only stamps and fun, magical dinosaur capsules!”

I felt it went fine. It felt totally fine.

…until that night. At our first Parent/Teacher curriculum meeting.

“If your child has a birthday,” the teacher said to all the parents in the room, “feel free to bring a bag of non-edible favors. …..which, speaking of, Ms. Brooks sent home some favors today and we want to reiterate that the capsules are NOT edible……..”

It was an amazing introduction to all of his classmates’ parents. Because nothing says “We’re a nice, normal trustworthy family.” quite like being The Mom Who Sent Pills to Kindergarteners.


No one died (that I heard about) so WE GOOD.

Kroger, though, not so much.

I thought they’d come through for me with the magic grow dinos, but they hadn’t.

They didn’t then (choking hazards and all), and they certainly didn’t with the cake for his party.

With two of our kids having birthdays one day apart, I’m all about efficiency when it comes to party prep.

Which is why I let Kroger make the Prehistoric Marine Reptile Dinosaur party cake.

I had my doubts, but it was a) $20 and b) made by someone besides me.

“The cake will have a volcano with lava on it,” Kroger bakery employee said, “as well as some prehistoric vegetation.”

“Sounds good.” I replied.

………and then then we picked the cake up.

The only way I know how to describe the disconnect between her description and the product Taylor brought home into our kitchen is with this picture:

If a gasp was your immediate response, that’s appropriate.

Here’s a different angle for context:

She says “volcano with lava”, I say “violent colon emergency”.

We made an executive decision to let this cake hang out in the trash can at home.

We took its brother, Unadorned Cake, to the birthday party instead.

It was much less…offensive.

If you’re thinking, “that’s unfortunate. Boys love anything resembling poop; I bet they would have loved the diarrhea cake.”

Fear not.

The party favors made up for it.

They were a cute little excavation exercise – homemade fossil “rocks” with plastic dinosaur on the inside.

It seemed easy in theory.

But, much like Karen from Kroger Bakery now knows, theory is not always reality.

The reality was a lot less “rock” and a lot more “turd”.

Just like the dinosaur vitamin pills at school, one would think I’d scratch the idea and go with a different favor.

But, nah.

I’m finding that life is much more exciting with inappropriate giveaways.

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