Monday, November 04, 2013

Party Planning, 101

It's time for a little math.

My eldest child is 14, my middle is 11 and my youngest just turned 8.

Every year, they get a family party and have each gotten a yearly friend party since they were about 4 (give or take).

Broken down in easy terms, I have thrown AT LEAST 55 parties for children in the past 14 years.

Is it any wonder I am slightly lacking at "new and inventive" party games? Is it a great mystery why my daughter's birthday party had games like "wrap your friend in toilet paper to make a mummy" and "pin the body part on the zombie"(completely Corinne's idea) and a last minute GENIUS idea of playing Twister and then "musical Twister"*?

Throw in a pizza from Aldi, a poorly constructed "spooky-outer-space-alien" cake with lots of sprinkles, and an impromptu cup stacking game and you would think that our party would have been exciting enough, yes?

Apparently not.

Midway through the party, as I was cleaning frosting from the kitchen table and the girls were gathering for a game in the living room, I heard screams and squeals which I instantly understood. You see, my cat had been staring under the refrigerator that morning with the kind of of concentration that only a bowl of fresh fish or a petrified, live mouse could elicit. Sure enough, little Mickey had tried to evade Claire's hunting skills by hiding underneath the living room couch. He hadn't counted on a roomful of giggling girls and an attack cat that cannot be foiled.

I want you to really picture this scene.

No husband.

No boys. (Not that they're required, but they definitely come in handy for situations like this.)

10 screaming girls.


And Me. The "adult" in charge who has a serious aversion to rodents in her house (as in, I'm usually found standing on "the COUNTER if it is suspected that a mouse is in the house).

My newly turned 8 year old daughter dutifully climbed behind the couch to place a bucket over the critter. The hysterical screaming and giggling continued amidst the jumping and hand flapping. I acted like a REAL grown up and delivered instructions on how to slide a piece of cardboard under the bucket without allowing it to escape.

Believe it or not, we saved the nasty beast. And 10 little girls ran in various states of weather-appropriate dress to the field down the road to release him into "the wild" while I waited in the driveway. And waited. And waited. AND WAITED.

About 5 girls came back.

"Its leg is broken!" "They won't leave it there!"


I gimped my way (remember, I still have a broken toe that I keep bashing into walls) down the road to the wind-blown field where the remaining party-goers/animal rescuers huddled around a tiny tail that was poking out of the field grass.

"Can you call the doctor? His leg is broken!" Their faces turned towards mine, eyes wide and expectant.

"Girls, this is a little something called 'The Circle of Life.' If his leg is just sprained, he may survive and be fine. Or, he may become a meal for a very hungry fox or hawk. It's why mice have so many babies, so quickly, and so often. Let's go eat some cake and ice cream, ok?"

Picture a half dozen devastated little faces.

(This party is going down in history, for sure.)

I reassured them that he would be way better off in the field, hidden beneath the grasses, than back at my house with the cats and a woman who is NOT forking over cash for a field mouse's back leg. We finished the party off with the latest songs** playing in the back ground as I spun blindfolded little girls around to pin the body part on the zombie. The doorbell soon began to ring and, one by one and two by two, they headed home with their party favors of fancy pencils and leftover Halloween candy. Moments after the door shut behind the final friend, I flopped on the (mouse-free) couch and heaved a great sigh of relief. Corinne climbed up beside me for a post-party cuddle.

"Did you have a good party, baby?"

"Oh yes, Mommy! Know what the best part was?"

"The presents? Playing Twister?"

"No! When we saved the mouse! That was so exciting!"


*Musical Twister: when you realize you do not have enough chairs or space for musical chairs for 10 girls, so you suggest they march around the Twister mat to the sounds of "Thriller" and **"What Does the Fox Say?" Perhaps I underestimated myself because this sounds like FREAKING GENIUS PARENTING skills, personally.

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