Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Infestation of Second Graders

My sweet boy Riley just turned eight and we gave in to the common custom to spend the day celebrating him, although I secretly (or not so secretly) think the mom should get the adoration and songs on their child's birthday with a few obligatory "Happy Birthdays" thrown in for the kid.

Me and My Birthday Boy

Birthday Boy Riley with Brother Connor

Birthday Boy Riley with Brother Sawyer

But, we celebrated his actual birthday and then had a party for him this past weekend.  My son is still at the stage where he hasn't really designated his "best" friends yet so we threw him a birthday party inviting all the second graders in his school.  Thankfully he has a small class of only 14 children counting my boy.  Ten (8 of them were boys) of them showed up on my doorstep in a noisy, sugar-hyped horde for an afternoon of tacos, games, cake, prizes and mayhem.

I am sharing this post to encourage the faint-of-heart that you can, in fact, survive this.  Here was is the party plan, should you choose to take on this adventure yourself.

1.  I suggest fortifying yourself with a mixture of copious amounts of Diet Dr. Pepper and a handful of ibuprofen before the event.  Okay, I am in no way suggesting you OD on over the counter pain reliever.  That was a hyperbole.  But you may want to reach really deep in the back of your medicine cabinet for that spare Percocet you have been saving from your last C-section or wisdom teeth surgery to prepare.  No, I didn't mean that, either.  Not totally anyway.

2.  Fortunately, preparatory cleaning is at a minimum.  You will end up with spilled food, drinks and mud everywhere.  Parents practically bolt before their kids reach the front door, so they won't know if your home was clean before the party and will assume the destruction took place during the festivities.

3.  Start with food.  We served make-your-own tacos.  You don't want kids whining on an empty stomach.  Feed those kids, preferably with some junk food so they will like you, think you are a cool parent and hopefully listen to what you have to say.  No.  I didn't mean that either.  I am never going to be the cool parent.  I was hoping at least to be the "not too lame" parent.

Eating Tacos With Guests

4.  Games come next.  You better have everything prepared ahead of time because at the mention of competition for prizes, those kids are like hyenas on a water buffalo carcass.  They practically foam at the mouth in anticipation.  We had a balloon game, a relay race involving Life Saver candies, a mummy game where they frantically wrap their friends up in discount toilet paper and a penny toss ("Yes, you can keep ALL the pennies you get into your cup.  Here are your 25 pennies.  Good luck!  Wow!  You got five pennies in, and you get to keep ALL of them!) and a music/dancing game where everyone got a prize.

My Hero Husband Entertaining Kids With Balloon Games

Making Mummies in the Living Room

5.  While they are on a high from winning prizes conveniently purchased at 75% off the already cheap clearance prices, usher them back to the kitchen table for cake, ice cream and singing "Happy Birthday"  Your ears will probably be ringing at this point from the supersonic decibels of game time so you won't hear about how one kid doesn't like cake and the other only likes chocolate ice cream.

6.  Next, birthday boy gets to open gifts.  We take a picture of him individually with each child and the gift they gave.  This makes our son's task of writing out thank you notes much easier and a copy of the picture is tucked into each thank you note for the guest.  Thank you notes are non-negotiable.

7.  Give out final prizes to the guest for points accumulated in all the previous games.  It's handy to have one extra prize so that the last child still gets to pick something and isn't just stuck with whatever is left.  I worry that parents will mind the whoopie cushion that their little sweetheart just won.

8.  Finally, its outside time.  Send hubby outside with the kids whose veins are practically gelled with sugar and let them frolic.  Mentally double check that home owner's insurance is paid up when one child decides to sled down the terraced steps in the backyard.  While near saint husband is monitoring children to avoid any potential emergency room worthy injuries, do a quick clean up of abandoned juice boxes and cupcakes with just one finger swipe of icing off of them.

9.  Parents come to get their little darlings.  Profusely assure them that their special child was a delight and that an extra ten kids was really no big deal.  Listen to them laugh and say that we could continue to adopt more children and have this many at our house all the time.

10.  Once all the children all gone, revel in the sweet, sweet near silence of only five children.  Grab a glass of wine from a box - or for you fancy pants parents, uncork a real bottle - and smile at my dear son who was the cause of the preceding hours of mayhem.  See his joyful smile and listen to him tell you how much fun he had.  And realize that the party was so worth it.  Honestly, you won't realize it at that exact moment, but after a few more hours and potentially another glass of wine, you might.


Dawn S. said...
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Dawn S. said...
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Dawn S. said...

Let me try that again...Love it. Please send your hero husband over to our house on March 10 to administer games and yes. We LOVED the whoopie cushion. Really. No. REALLY. LOVED it.

just me said...

Laughed all the while I read this. Can picture everything you wrote--as always. Glad the party was such a success. Just one question. Cupcakes instead of a fancy cake?