Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Sam's Seventeen-Hour Long Birthday Party

Today is Sam's birthday. Today he is nine years old. Today he will go to school, come home, tag along with us to Jack's OT and do his homework. I will take him to the park with his brothers and then we will go home to eat dinner—Sam's choice. Alex will come home from work and Sam will open his presents. At this point, which will probably be five or ten minutes before bedtime, Sam will throw a tizzy fit because there will be no time to explore his gifts before he is forced into his room.

It's gonna be awesome.

But this post isn't about that. This post is about Sam's birthday party, which was last Saturday. And Sunday. Actually Saturday through Sunday. See, a while back Sam said he wanted to have a sleepover party. Alex jumped right on top of that assuming that it would be easier and cheaper than a shorter party with more kids. I was dumb enough to agree.

I was also dumb enough to invite five children (plus my own three, mind you) for this little shindig.

Sam had a list of snacks he wanted at his party: Doritos, Cheetos, chips, and two kinds of Oreos. Clearly the kid has been paying attention, because that, plus juice boxes and pizza, is my standard party fare.

 There's a reason it's standard fare. It's a people pleaser!

I always buy one balloon and tie it on my porch so that when people arrive they don't have that moment of, "Crap. Is this the right day and the right place?" One year a kid arrived to our party a full week early. It was traumatic for both me and the dad.

Anyway, I forgot to get a balloon, so I asked Alex to pick one up. He did a stellar job.

Good Luck?! Are you kidding me, Alex?

Fortunately, I was able to fix it so you'd never even know it was wrong. Sam loved the balloon. It is now tied to his bedpost.

Guest arrival time quickly turned into gunplay in the back yard. I never thought I would be part of THAT family, but I am. We are swimming in dart guns, swords, and light sabers.

 Hmmm. I wonder which parent is happiest about that.

Sam's friend M then taught him how to climb a previously inaccessible tree. That M, always up to no good. I swear. His mom obviously lets him play outside too much. Doesn't she know what video games are for?

 Eh. What's the worst that could happen?*

* That's not really a question. Don't tell me.

Munchkins cannot live on Doritos and Cheetos alone. At least I think they can't. My nine-year-long experiment on this very thing is thus far inconclusive. Because I don't even like to cook for my own kids, I decided to make the party guests cook for themselves.

This was a messy process.

I gave each kid a crust and put out bowls of cheese and pepperoni. I also put out mushrooms and olives because I felt it was important to at least pretend to offer a vegetable. Not one child used a single one. The pizzas turned out well though and only one child dropped his cooked pizza on the floor.

I know you're wondering. No, I didn't let him eat it, o ye of little faith.

Now that I had them sitting, I didn't want to lose them while the pizzas were cooking. That's right: Craft Time!

Craft Time is a standard at a Stimey party, right up there with Doritos and Oreos. This time, while browsing at the craft store, I found these amazing little kits of paint and ceramic Halloween statues for TWO DOLLARS each. I spent $6, leaving me with 18 tiny statues. It was seriously the best six dollars I have ever spent in my life.

 All eight kids were engrossed.

And not bad artists to boot.

After dinner, I unleashed them back into the backyard, but with 45 glow sticks pinpointing their locations.

We're still finding them around my house and yard.
(The glow sticks, not the kids.)

Seriously. Buy these for your next party that takes place in the dark. They cost, like, a dollar for 15. For that amount, we could play with them every day.

 Plus, you can use them to tie up your kids without looking like a monster.

Next up was cake.

I had ordered a cake from the grocery store with a Star Wars theme. The theme kit included two action figures and some giant plastic shield thing. When I picked up the cake, however, it became obvious that the cake I had ordered was too small for the decorations. They clearly had had to make a choice between the action figures with the actually lighting up light sabers or the weird plastic shield thing.

I would have made a different choice.

 See how much better this is? It's not rocket science.

I do believe Sam agrees.

We planned to watch a movie after cake, but I made the rookie mistake of assuming that eight kids could participate in a vote with multiple options. (Sound like anything I might have done on my blog lately?) I think I might have too much faith in democracy.

There were some raised voices and at least one stomping off of a disgruntled child, but we finally settled on watching Monsters vs. Aliens. Well, Alex and I settled on watching Monsters vs. Aliens. The eight of them settled on talking through Monsters vs. Aliens.

Our post-movie time is a haze of attrition, when we lost more than half of our guests to planned departures, a set of brothers who decided to not sleep over, and one dramatic case of vomiting in the front yard.

We're darn lucky we didn't lose a fourth kid to a light saber stabbing like we almost did. I think it would have been terribly embarrassing and not a very good testament to my party-giving/supervising skills if only one child made it to the end of the party.

Sam's 9th Birthday Party, a.k.a. Thunderdome.

Everything else was smooth and easy. Everyone slept through the night. All the Both parents came to pick up their children on time the next day. There are no more reports of puking, so hopefully I didn't poison anyone.

All in all, the party wasn't terrible. In fact, it was pretty fun. I might even go so far as to say that I'm willing to do it again.


Happy Birthday, Sam, my love. You astound me every day. Thank you for being my first little dude—who is rapidly becoming a big dude. I would tell you to stop getting older and bigger now, thank you very much, but for the fact that you're turning into such a cool guy.

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