Monday, April 07, 2008

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.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Man. Birthday parties. I've been thinking a lot about kids lately [don't have any, just want some someday] and birthday parties is something I overlooked. What a joy and a crazy-time. Thanks for writing this.

5:16 PM  
Anonymous Marianne said...

Man that sounds familiar! My son's fourth birthday and party were yesterday as well. Even with the petting zoo/pony rides/mask making, I had kids in my house within 30 minutes "looking for something to do." I had that party running like clockwork though, the party was from 11-1 and those people were in their cars promptly at ONE! Then it was naptime for the moms.

6:27 PM  
Blogger Christy said...

Wow. That made me tired just reading the recap!

Happy Birthday, Jake!

6:27 PM  
Blogger Sue J said...

That was wonderful -- you had me alternately wishing for children and thanking god I don't have them!

8:23 PM  
Blogger phil_in_ny said...

The joys of children. I can't wait, and then sometimes I can wait.

8:26 PM  
Anonymous Laura said...

Ugh...we used to do a lot of sleep overs....I dont miss those days!

I used to fantasize about spiking their drinks with Xanax!

8:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting this. You've inspired me again.

12:48 AM  
Blogger Bob said...

What well behaved kids!

I think one of my younger son's friends stole my class ring at his 8th birthday party.

And pawned it.

But it was all learning life skills. Later on he became a burglar.

Time for a new tradition: now the birthday boy gets to rub Mommy's back.

Happy birthday, Jake.

2:28 AM  
Blogger Bob said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

2:38 AM  
Blogger Suzy said...

Happy Birthday Jake. What is he now like 2 lol. Enjoy the little boy partys while you can. They grow up so fast and start wearing tuxedos to Senior Ball.
tell him happy bday from us.

6:46 AM  
Blogger Bob said...

Hi, Laura, Re: sleepovers, where did we get all that bed linen? But after wading through the piles on the floor after they left, I know we had it.

Did I take yours?

Sorry, the deleted post was mine. Finger trouble. It looks like somebody said something really dirty and repented.

Happy birthday again, Jake.

12:39 PM  

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