How Do You Survive a Kid’s Birthday Party?

Toys R Us. Oh the horror, the horror.

Toys R Us. Oh the horror, the horror.

Ok, truth time. I have no clue how to survive one. But I can totally understand why parents pay for bouncy time on trampolines or send the whole lot off to blast each other with fake lasers, or, back when I worked at Toys R Us, leave a large mob of screaming children in the Lego section and just run – it’s terrifying to host a gang? Herd? A murder? of children.

Here’s why. Such a thing exceeds my capacity to control things. Little hands getting on little breakable things. Little minds figuring out ways to tie each other up for target-practice. Little feet jumping on antique furniture handed down from my great-great-great grandma who fought off the Vikings with that rocking chair.

But that’s what we’d taken on last weekend. It was the Youngest’s 9th birthday. Invitations were created that destroyed a printer. I saw this as a harbinger of things to come. 10 invitations were given out.  4 kids confirmed.

That eased my mind a bit. 10 would be a challenge to manage. Like Rome trying to manage the Hunnic horde. Wait, sorry. Too nerdy a reference. But 4. Yeah, that was doable.

So The Youngest, very much to my surprise, began to organize what they would do. He took this task very seriously. He was dead thorough about it.

A nerf gun with about a billion bullets. Is it wrong I want one?

A nerf gun with about a billion bullets. Is it wrong I want one?

Pizza was chosen for food because everyone coming liked pizza, and “cupcakes for dessert cuz they’re easier to eat”, (‘than what?’ I asked, but whatever), “and we’ll play nerf gun wars, and everyone can bring over their favourite guns,” (wait, they have favourite guns? Oh I weep for the world), “and then we’ll watch a movie, but we’ll all vote on the next one,” (look at our little fan of democrazy), “then we will stay up to 4am,” (wait, what, ah no, you’re not), “and then, in the morning, we’ll watch another movie and have another epic nerf war battle and probably eat more pizza,” (err, ok, but how long do you think your friends are staying?)

In all honesty, I was very impressed at how much thought he’d put into this part. He had even organized the nerf bullets and found a good selection of kid’s movies to choose from (after I took out things like the Exorcist, Nazi Zombie Brides, and Braveheart). He’d EVEN helped clean up the space they’d play in – he was so concerned that everyone would have a good time.

How freaking cool is that? It was HIS birthday. He could have been totally like me and made it all about him. Like on my birthday. I get the cake I want. I get to eat tubs of the food I love. Everyone has to listen to me talk about ancient Greek generals. Or tanks. And I get to rant about politics with no one saying, for the love of God, let it go.

Honestly, though, I was still a bit nervous when it became time for the other children to arrive. The Youngest was as hyped up as if we’d given him a steady diet of chocolate coffee beans and meth. Apparently, all the kids who’d been invited were super excited as well.

No worries, though. I had 911 on speed dial. I’d reread the book on first aid and practiced the Heimlich maneuver on the dog, and gargled with salt water in case some serious yelling would be in order.

Nothing bad was going to happen. Not on my watch. But would everyone have a good time?


About Joe Cummings

Aquarius. Traveler. Gamer. Writer. A New Parent. 4 of these things are easy. One is not. But the journey is that much better for the new people in my life. A life I want to share with others, to help them, maybe, to make them feel less alone, sure, to connect with the greater world, absolutely.
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