Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Birthday zoo

Here’s a recipe for a madhouse:

1 tiny 1,750-square-foot home
1 afternoon birthday party
1 steamy-hot, mosquito-infested backyard that forces all activities inside
3 infants, 10 weeks old and younger
2 barely 1 year-olds and a 9-month old too
8 running, yelping toddlers, ages 2 to 4
And their parents, mostly moms and a heroic dad or two

I tried to keep Will’s birthday party small but by the time I’d invited all his dear friends (and told him no he couldn’t invite his entire preschool class; we’d just do a cupcake party at school) we still had the makings for insanity. We did a few of our owl-themed activities – pin the feather on the owl, an owl song with the oldest most willing participants, owl birthday cake consumption and some take-home bags with the ingredients for owl puppet-making. But most of the time was spent in general joyful kids’ chaos – toys everywhere, kids running and hitting balloons and lining up toy after toy in very tight quarters.
And by the end of it all I thought, well this was good messy fun, but I also could feel a slight headache creeping on. And I wondered how many of my saner parental invitees walked to their cars thinking: “At least we don’t have to visit that crazy Addington birthday jungle for another year.”

Here are some photos:


And a classic embarrassing moment: With the party barely started, I discover Will and one of his good buddies sitting on our bed (where we were stowing birthday gifts away) opening up gift bags. Mom goes quizzing parents, trying to match gifts with gift bags. Luckily Will and his co-conspirator were stopped at two…

And an owl song we never got to (too complex to teach a gang of toddlers at a party but you might have fun with it one-on-one at home):
Wide Eye Owl
There's a wide eye owl (make fingers in large circles and cup over eyes)
With a pointed nose (use fingers to make a triangle & point out for nose)
2 pointed ears (use fingers for ears)
and claws for toes (wiggle fingers like toes)
he lives way up in the tree (point up to tree top)
and when he looks at you (point at kids)
he flaps his wings (use arms for wings, and flap)
and says whooo whooo (continue flapping wings)

And a question: How do you manage an in-house birthday party these days? Or is it outdoors or out-of-house or forget-the-party for you?

1 comment:

Ginny said...

The mother of the co-conspirator/instigator (because I'm sure he is to blame) apologizes. It was a wonderful party and we had a great time. Summer birthday parties in the south are always a challenge. Often people turn to My Gym or someplace such as that to escape the heat and although that is much easier, the little ones seem to have just as much, if not more fun at the "at home" parties.