The Perfect Idea
Birthday parties. They can be adorable, fun-filled opportunities for endless photos. But what people don’t always share are those crazy birthday parties that leave you shaking your head in disbelief and telling yourself “never again.”
The Calm Before the Storm
The real fun was yet to begin. I drove to the school to pick up a carload of what I imagined I’m my mind would be eight little boys that were well-behaved, angelic and excited to have fun. Boy was I so very very wrong. They emerged from the school like bulls who had been held back in the chutes for many days. Not only did they descend upon my car like hungry wolves, they were all blowing on kazoos! Yes, you heard correctly. Some wonderful genius had so conveniently handed out kazoos to all of the third graders that day. And of course the teachers had forbidden them to use them until after the bell. So I was trapped in my vehicle with eight third-grade boys playing kazoos. Moreover, as if that wasn’t bad enough, then they decided that a farting contest would be a great way to add to the ambiance of our journey. Longest drive home in my entire life. I have no idea how eight small human beings can create such a terrible odor. My eyes were watering and I was nearly suffocating from the noxious stench even with the windows wide open.
Once we finally reached the house, they bolted out of the car with the same exuberant energy that they displayed when they emerged from the school. My daughter was already at home (delivered so kindly by a neighbor) and the boys miraculously managed to locate the dart board on the hallway wall and proceeded to run after her across the backyard declaring that they were playing “human dartboard”. I was beyond shocked and I’m sure my face matched my abhorrence at them. I have never witnessed my children ever being so out of control as these little humans. But, lo and behold, my son was right in the midst of this terrible act. I think I was as much in shock as I was enraged. Peer pressure is a powerful thing.
In an effort to create a sense of organized control, I suggested they all get their camping gear out and put it in the backyard for later. My husband was supposed to be home shortly and I was depending on him do the grilling and I figured the boys would respond better to him. I was watching the clock counting down the minutes until he got home when I got a call. He had to work late. He was a lineman for the power company so his job meant that he was basically on call all the time. And funny thing about people is that they usually don’t want to wait for long to get their power restored. So there I was stuck with nine rowdy kids and a grill that I had no idea how to operate. So I stepped up and attempted to light it without letting them see that I had no clue. In the less than five minutes that I was lighting the grill, they managed to sneak back into the house. I was not prepared for what I encountered. Somehow they had managed to shake up and spray not one, but two entire two-liter bottles of root beer all over the kitchen. I wanted to cry. In fact, I think maybe I did. I honestly cannot recall because I was so mad and sad and frustrated all at the same time.
Fifteen minutes and several rolls of paper towels later, I finally had the kitchen somewhat un-sticky and the brats were on the grill. At some point Chuck finally made it home and took over grill duty. Between the time that the brats landed on the grill and the time they made it to the plates, the sky turned an angry shade of gray-green and before I knew it we were all scrambling for the garage to seek shelter. While the boys sat and devoured their dinner, I retreated to our room for maybe five minutes to reboot. Days later, I was still finding random brats and baked beans hidden inside our garage. And on a side note, third grade boys do terrible, terrible things with bratwursts. Just terrible.
Since all outdoor activities had come to a grinding halt, we decided that it would be a good time to head to the local bowling alley. I had planned to purchase a drink and maybe popcorn for each boy, but I was unaware that our little guests had brought along money of their own. Most of the boys were completely content with participating in a calm game of bowling, but the other two decided that bowling wasn’t their cup of tea so they proceeded to the snack bar. When I noticed where they were, I realized that both boys had cheekfuls of chocolate and were drooling chocolate out the corners of their mouths. I was completely horrified. It wasn’t too much longer before we packed everyone up and headed home again. More kazoos and farting ensued.
Mother Nature just wasn’t going to cooperate and let us have a pleasant campout in the backyard as I envisioned. So we cleared out the garage and put up two tents inside. That part went fairly well. The boys were content with playing in the tents and doing boy stuff for awhile. Bedtime was soon approaching and both Chuck and I were anticipating at least a few hours of sleep. Nope. Not even close. I am pretty sure none of them slept at all. Around 2 am, I found one of the boys up in Emmett’s bedroom trying to spear one of his aquarium fish with a fork and I encountered another one shortly after in the downstairs bathroom drawing a mustache and goatee on himself with a GREEN SHARPIE!!!
The End is Near
Around 8 am, I announced that it was time for everyone to pack up their belongings and that I would be more than happy to deliver each and every one of them right to their doorsteps. By 10 am all but one of the little demons (I mean little boys) had been safely delivered home. The last one happened to be the one with the green facial hair decorations on his face that just would not scrub off. When his mother showed up at our front door, I was mortified to discover she was a teacher at their school. I had no words to explain why her son had green marker all over himself. I just quietly nudged him toward the front door and sighed once he was finally gone. Needless to say, he has never come back to our house since then. And I have no complaints at all about that.
After the Storm
Chuck and I spent the rest of the day sleeping and then cleaning our home which looked like it had been hit by a hurricane. I was still finding little things that they had displaced for many weeks afterward.
That was my first and only experience with a boy’s birthday / slumber party / campout. Although it did not go exactly how I had envisioned it in my mind, it did give me many funny memories and stories to tell about it. And now Emmett just graduated high school and is off to college in a couple of months. It’s amazing how fast the time goes by. Though I look back on that adventure now and laugh, it really was an eye opening experience for all of us. I learned that no matter how much you plan and prepare, things will not always go exactly how you planned. You have to learn to be flexible and roll with the punches. Green sharpie and all. God bless you and yours today and take the time to enjoy all of those special celebrations in your life. Good, bad, and otherwise.
Love, Heather 🙂