Monday, June 20, 2011

Party Hearty Weekend

I am not feeling very well today. Must be all of the partying I did this weekend. No, not partying in the rowdy, hedonistic sense of the word. Well, it did get rowdy at times. But certainly not hedonistic. Rather than getting my pathetic white girl groove on after ingesting copious amounts of beer (do moms really ever get to do that?), my partying involved a couple of rooms full of small children and cake of every ilk and variety. Some friends of ours have a little girl, Maya, who is exactly two days older than Sophie and Nicholas. We went to her fifth birthday party on Saturday and hosted our own on Sunday. I learned an invaluable parenting lesson after attending these two parties. Sometimes, spending a extra buck or two is well worth the peace and tranquility it provides. Who knew?

Maya's party was held at The Little Gym in Burnsville. It was THE most freaking amazing child's birthday party I have ever been to in my life. First and foremost, the parents in attendance had to do absolutely nothing. Even Jessy, Maya's mom, did not have to lift a finger the entire time. The staff at the gym—two perky teenaged girls—handled everything. The kids got to run and flip and tumble and swing on parallel bars. It was basically a huge gym filled full of all sorts of gymnastics equipment, which my children absolutely loved. The balance beam was a particular favorite. The staff helped the kids do flips and jumps and all sorts of “super cool” stuff while the parents—get this—sat on the other side of a glass wall watching and socializing. A sound proof glass wall. How freaking amazing is that?! Occasionally, my kids would run up to the glass and mouth the words, “Watch me, momma!” I would obligingly watch from the comfort of my own chair without so much as lifting a finger or hearing their squeaky little voices. If I had only had a margarita in my hand, I would have called it heaven on Earth.

When the play part of the party was over, the staff lined the kids up, squirted a dab of hand sanitizer into each child's hand and marched them into the next room where a table was set up with a juice pouch waiting for each kid. The staff then cut the cake and served it to the kids. When the cake had all been gobbled up by the pink-cheeked little kids, the staff sat with the birthday girl and opened all of the presents while her mom took pictures. The staff even took notes on who had bought which gift. When the party was over, each child got a goodie bag and a balloon to take home with them. The staff then cleaned up the mess. It was amazing. The kids were all well-behaved and took turns and there was not a single argument or meltdown of any sort. The party was organized and neat and tidy and—most importantly—a lot of fun for the kids. As a matter of fact, Sophie and Nicholas quickly declared it “the most awesome” party they had ever been to in their young lives. The five-year-old social event of the year, apparently.

Yesterday was a different story altogether. The day began with the dog peeing on Sophie's bedroom floor, totally pissing Ruanita off. I forgot until about an hour before the party that I had never wrapped Sophie's and Nicholas' birthday presents...their numerous birthday presents. As a matter of fact, I never even removed them from the trunk of the car. We decided to have Sophie's and Nicky's birthday party in our basement playroom because there was enough room down there to set up a table to seat all of the kids. That meant that we had to spend a good chunk of the morning cleaning the mess and mayhem that typically covers every square inch of our basement. We ended up with, counting my own, ten kids. Unlike Maya's party, which had only small children in attendance, we had three 7- and 8-year-old boys (Lucas and the cousins) and seven younger children aged five and under. It as a loud and rowdy mix. The small children were perfectly well-behaved. The older kids...umm...not so much. We had a pinata that refused to bust open. Despite having the kids beat the hell out of the thing, it refused to budge. It did eventually fall to the ground, but even when attacking it from that vantage point, it remained intact. Finally, I had channel my inner She-Ra, Princess of Power to rip the damn thing open with my bare hands and pour the contents onto the ground. We then sang Happy Birthday and passed out cupcakes and ice cream. When we were finished eating, we opened presents. It took quite a while since there are twice as many presents to open with twins. Again, the younger kids did amazingly well. The big kids...umm....not so much. After opening presents, we dressed the kids in their bathing suits and turned the sprinkler on in the back yard. Despite my scolding to the contrary, the big kids monopolized the sprinkler. Sophie, of course, would take no crap from the big boys and joined right in. Some of the other kids may have been driven away from the sprinkler by the older boys' idiotic antics. Though I believe the kids had a good time, the party felt chaotic and disorganized.

Next year is going to be a different story. Here are some lessons I learned from this weekend.

1. Other parents are immensely more intelligent than Ruanita and me.

2. Always buy a bakery cake. Do not bake. It isn't worth the hassle.

3. Get some staff. Seriously. I need staff.

4. Find a nice, off-site location for the party. In a land far, far away from my house. Like Burnsville.

5. Pinatas suck. Skip them altogether.

6. Find something to entertain the older boys so they do not act moronic and monopolize the party.

7. Spend the money. It is one hundred percent, absolutely, without-a-doubt, categorically worth it.

Maya and Sophie, the birthday girls.


Jessy Schrandt said...

You are hilarious. I agree the major error was not providing adult beverages on our side of the big glass wall. But we survived-birthday weekend over! Thanks for the fun yesterday!

Madgew said...

Shannon, an outdoor party is better than an indoor party at home (add to the list) and yes go somewhere even if it is a park. Also, buy two hoses one for the big kids (slip and slide) and one other one for the little ones.
And yes save for the party with a planner or a site. Kids love it and parents drop off after age 5 so you are on your way. Backyard parties necessitate food for the adults, venues not needed. Encourage drop offs next year.
Oh it brings back so many memories. And here in LA we never open presents at the party.

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