Let’s Not Have a Party—Let’s Have a Melee!

Imagine you got really lazy about planning your oldest son’s 11th birthday party and two weeks before the date, you realized that you had to GET ON THAT, STAT?! I imagine that being the smart person that you are, you would probably decide to invite a class of 26 students into your home in mid-October—a day that could be gorgeous or could be rainy—and you would plan activities like dodgeball, because WHAT COULD GO WRONG WITH THAT?

Well, YOU might not do that, but clearly *I* would.

I bought a bunch of small rubber balls and Alex picked the dog up and put her away so she wouldn’t steal all the Oreos and that’s what we did.

Cassidy was mightily put out.

The dog was all, “But I WANT Oreos!”

I would like to report that only one head injury was sustained.

That didn’t happen during dodgeball though. The head injury happened during the full-fledged melee that occurred when said class (about 15, plus my three, came) discovered our cache of Nerf weapons and assorted short swords. It was honestly like nothing I’d ever seen before. It was kind of like that scene at the very beginning of Fellowship of the Rings that explains about the Rings of Power and how that one ring ruled them all, except instead of Sauron and that king who didn’t want to throw the ring away, you had Sam and a bunch of his little cohorts fighting over nothing.


Warrior Sam

I actually took this photo much later in the day, shortly after the kids found the costume chest.

After the head injury (he’s okay), I wanted to calm the party guests down, so I put down a little line of cones, divided them into two teams and started up a few rounds of dodgeball. As you do.

No one got hurt or terribly upset during that whole thing, so I decided to move them on to Red Rover. Remember Red Rover? It wasn’t until kids started wringing their hands, loudly ranking their peers in order of weakness, and a couple of them got clotheslined that I remembered that I totally hated that game when I was a kid.

Regardless, it’s been passed on to a new generation that wasn’t aware of it before. Yay, me!

Fortunately, before I was able to introduce something else brilliant, like throwing knives, the pizza arrived and everyone chilled out and ate some food. Yet, as Red Rover follows dodgeball, cake follows pizza and the chill diminished. It has never happened to me before that I wasn’t able to clear a path to the table for the birthday kid to blow out his candles, but this time I was swarmed, so we had an impromptu standing ceremony.


Sure, we can do it here.

I think that the cake bottleneck happened partly because several kids were watching Mr. Free-fall From Space on the computer between our kitchen and dining room. Don’t forget that this was a party made up of Sam’s overachieving buddies from school. (It seems rude to call children that aren’t mine “nerdlingers.”)

Jack watches a free-fall from space

Don’t get any Xtreme Stuntz ideas, nerdlinger Jack.

I’m not kidding when I say the chill diminished. One girl was actually walking around saying, “Buzz, buzz! I’m buzzing! Buzz, buzz!” It looked a little bit like a spontaneous water fight was going to break out, so I quickly organized the troublemakers into teams for kickball. Not all the kids wanted to play, so Alex had to fill in at second base at one point. Dude. That guy can NOT catch a kickball.

It was embarrassing, really.

(I’m just trying to get you your loveable oaf credibility back, sweetie.)

Things were going pretty well. Sam was super happy, Quinn had run away to sneak time with his DSi…



…and Jack had departed to his sensory happy place…

Happy, happy, sand, sand, hammer, hammer, rock...

Happy, happy, sand, sand, hammer, hammer, rock…

…when Alex interrupted the kickball game practically mid-pitch to shriek, “HE’S GETTING READY TO JUMP! HE’S GETTING READY TO JUMP!” and 15 scientists-in-training went thundering into the house to watch a guy sit in a capsule for the next 15 minutes. Parents started arriving and I was all, “I swear we haven’t been making them watch this for the full two hours,” but I don’t know how convincing I was considering some of the kids really didn’t want to leave before the dude exited his capsule.

Alex is the HEAD nerdlinger.

Alex is the HEAD nerdlinger.

Oh, and I sent each kid home with his or her very own megaphone. Because I like to SHARE.


I’m the head jerk.

No matter how hastily tossed together, this party was a blast. Sam has such a good group of kids in his class. And the party was perfectly him. We all had such a great time. Happy birthday, Sam! Thanks for making life so fun!

birthday cat

Glitter cat makes everything awesome.

But Sam makes it awesomer.

15 thoughts on “Let’s Not Have a Party—Let’s Have a Melee!

  1. That sounds just fabulous. I got to experience red rover as a camp counselor, I swear it was not that violent when we were kids. We’re attempting a baseball game, kick-ball will be our backup option. never thought of dodge ball…it would most likely that my own kids would immediately sustain injuries.

  2. Megaphones? Seriously Stimey? Are you trying to make the other parents in Sam’s class hate you?

  3. Megaphones, WOW! I usually try the “do unto others” rule with party favors. But, to be honest it’s also because my kids always end up with the party favors too. My oldest came home with a bona fide metal whistle once. Although it is now one of his most treasured possessions, it is most definitely one of my least favorite.

    • I’ve given out whistles. *hangs head in shame*

      Honestly, I’m just trying to suck up to the kids here, not their parents. :)

    • Yeah. Good luck to you. It sounds like a great idea right until you commit to it and the reality sets in, doesn’t it?

  4. Happy birthday!!! That sounds like a great party!! Glad everyone had fun! Also, costume chest = pure awesome!! I love that you gave all the kids a megaphone too!! We also have an outlier in our family since all birthdays are in the summer (June – August) except for my son’s which is in November!

    • It was a ton of fun! I’m glad we don’t have a November kid though, because the weather is too cold to send everyone outside!

  5. I like how the megaphones say “SHOUT” right on them. I’m assuming the balls also say “LAUNCH AT HEADS” for maximum fun.

  6. Happy Birthday to your oldest! 11 seems so far away but I know its a blink of an eye. I used to love dodge ball but I think its been banded from school. Seems like everyone had fun.

Comments are closed.