On Saturday, Steve and I accomplished a feat that many of my peers described as brave: we hosted a birthday party for Jack at our house.
Honestly, it didn't seem that big of a deal to me. We planned exactly the kind of party that I remember from when I was a kid. Birthday parties were not outings to Chuck E. Cheese or the Family Museum. They were games, presents, and birthday cake at someone's house.
Steve and I planned the party carefully. We created a schedule, in ten minute increments, of all of the games and activities. Jack helped us clear all of his toys out of the family room and into the basement. Experience has shown me that otherwise, the other kids will descend upon our house and start dumping bins of action figures onto the floor, making both Jack - and me - cranky. And creating automatic fun, Jack decided it would be a costume party.
And the party was only scheduled for two hours; in running terms, that's just a half marathon. Not so much to endure!
The kids arrived and proceeded to run around the house like maniacs, which was exactly what was on the schedule. Then, we played games. First up was hot potato, in which we passed around a stuffed Spider-Man, with an emphasis on silliness - act like bunnies while passing Spidey, for example. Then, we had the kids toss balls into a laundry basket. After that, I switched to a quiet activity and the kids decorated masks with stick-on jewels. The kids loved the masks and worked on them for quite a while.
When all of them were finished, Jack led everyone in a costume parade. I gave away prizes for all of the costumes - also known as treat bags. Jack decided way back in November that his party would be a costume one, so we were able to pack the treat bags accordingly, with two different kinds of masks that I bought for a song in a post-Halloween clearance sale at Michaels, along with the standard noise maker, candy, and dinosaur pencil. They went over huge.
Then, it was time for birthday cake and presents. Hooray, party successful... except that we still had an entire hour to kill.
Steve and I brainstormed quickly for more games to keep the kids occupied. Luckily, the two of us had plenty of silliness left. We played Simon Says, then Musical Pillows. Musical Pillows was a huge hit last year; pillows instead of chairs because they're easier to manipulate. And again, the focus wasn't so much on being out or not as it was on having the kids circle the pillows pretending to be cats, or ducks, or ballerinas. And finally, did you know that kids still love to play Duck, Duck, Goose? Well, thank goodness, they do.
Once the kids took off, all three of us crashed. Jack was thrilled with how everything went.