One More Birthday Party
Yesterday was Jake’s birthday party- not his family party but his friends- and we had over a thousand 8 year old boys running amok through the house and yard.
Maybe not a thousand, maybe only eleven, twelve including Jake, but it felt like a thousand.
We rented a bouncy house, had a football game going on in the front yard and Jeanine had set up “stations” around the house- paddle ball, small airplanes on a rope to wing around madly and jump ropes.
The reality of a birthday party for a group of small but energetic boys is that you have exhausted all fun by the 1:10 minute mark. Doesn’t matter what you have planned, just after the first hour of the birthday party they all start wandering around your house looking for something to do.
Because clearly, football, jump ropes, small planes, paddleball, and a bouncy house are not enough.
You hold them off for another ten minutes by engaging in the activities yourself. I played football. One of the boys kept saying, Get the ball to him! Jake’s Mom! Him!
Clearly, he was struggling with my stellar ability to play football and my gender.
At one point, another boy said, How many moms can you have?
As many as needed, I said. Here, we need two.
The beauty of an eight-year-old mind is that they listen, shrug and take it as gospel. Then go out for a long bomb.
By the 1:20 mark of the party, you have to get food out. Pizza. I believe Tom’s Pizza, a local pizza shop about two blocks from my house, has supplied pizza for every birthday party we’ve ever held. I’m not sure what I’d do without Tom’s.
Some people would go straight for the cake but I like to make them leave for a little while- even if it only buys you five minutes, you have a chance to clean up the plates, pieces of pepperoni tossed aside and juice boxes spilled all over the table.
You are in the home stretch. It’s almost over but not quite. Call them back in for cake if they haven’t already started to chant at the table, CAKE CAKE CAKE. Bring in the store bought cake. Understand you will not want to eat any because not only does the birthday boy blow out the candles, so do all his friends and I’m talking a wee bit of spit flying around on that icing.
No thank you.
A few chaotic minutes of cake serving- I want the rose, I want the corner piece, ice cream, no ice cream, ice cream only, and you are at the 1:45 mark.
Fifteen minutes left. They are all high as kites on fun, laughing, yelling at each other as loud as they can at the table and about to set loose in your house again.
That’s when you find out which parents are keepers. The keepers show up at the 1:50 to 1:55 mark to help corral the children. Strengthen the ranks of parental voices.
Birthday parties are an art, a delicate dance and a lot of noise. After the last boy left yesterday, I went and crashed. I was all birthday-ed out.
Today, however, is Jake’s actual birthday and we gather as a family for dinner. The birthday person always gets to decide what the meal is. Tonight? Tacos.
And yet another birthday cake. This time minus the spit.
Happy Birthday, Jake.