Last year I got out of the birthday party ordeal altogether because we were brand new to town and the kids hadn't had time to make many friends. We instead went on a weekend trip to Disneyland (we're a half day's drive away) as a joint celebration (both of their birthdays are in March). It was glorious.
I was hoping to get away with the same arrangement this year, but I was met with serious opposition from my newly-turned-12-year-old. I tried to reach back into the ol' memory bank and recall how important birthday celebrations with friends are at that age...and I caved.
Charming and I had already decided that "we are going back to Disneyland, dammit", and it may or may not be more for us than them but that is neither here nor there. So my compromise with Tink was a low-maintenance (stop laughing), less costly birthday party option. A sleepover.
Lord have mercy on my soul.
Her original list was 4 girls, but I absolutely refuse to leave well-enough alone (and I also remember what it was like to feel left out), so I encouraged her to invite 2 other girls that had recently invited her to their parties. She delivered invitations for 6 friends to join us for a Saturday night of food and fun and lots and LOTS of squealing, and whaddaya know - they all showed up. Yippee.
Friday afternoon I realized I had signed up to do this on daylight savings weekend. Are you friggin' kidding me?
The girls started to arrive around 5:30 as requested. One girl's father said to me as he turned to leave from dropping her off, "I'll be here at 7 tomorrow morning." Are you friggin' kidding me?
Tink and I decided that make-your-own mini pizzas would go over well for dinner. After about an hour of playing in the backyard, I called the girls in to assemble their pizzas. I set out crusts, sauce, pepperoni, ground beef, and cheese. Everyone seemed excited about this prospect and built their pizzas with gusto. They talked and joked and laughed and...didn't eat. After the girls left the table, I went in to clean up and saw that four of the girls had left at least half of their MINIATURE pizzas on their plates. One of them didn't take a single bite. Not one. Are you friggin' kidding me?
After dinner, one of the girls somehow got a tiny cut under her fingernail. This is one of the girls that was originally not going to be invited because as Tink warned me, "I don't want to be mean, but sometimes she's a little weird." Duly noted, Tink. Maybe next time I'll listen. The girl sat at the kitchen counter looking at me and exclaiming, "Is that a cut under my fingernail? I got a cut under my fingernail! Is it bleeding? It tastes like blood! It's bleeding! What do I do?! LOOK AT THE BLOOD!" Are you friggin' kidding me?
Around 11 p.m. I suggested they get in their pj's and set out their sleeping bags. I told them they didn't have to go to sleep yet, but not to forget about the time change and that some of their parents were going to pick them up early for church. I went upstairs to attempt to get some sleep, and was awoken by Charming at 1:30 a.m. to tell me that he could still hear them downstairs (apparently they never stop waking up Mom to take care of shit). I went downstairs to politely remind them that it is now time to shut it down and go to sleep. "REMEMBER THE TIME CHANGE," I said. I went back upstairs and laid there for 20 or so minutes, noting that the noise did not seem to subside at all. I went back downstairs to find that although I thought I said "It's time to go to sleep", I obviously must have said, "Turn on all the downstairs lights and start playing a board game and don't forget to be really loud about it." Are you friggin' kidding me?
At this point I got a teeny bit angry and said, "Hey, you guys remember 20 minutes ago when I told you it was 1:30? Well, guess what. The time just changed and now it's 3 a.m. and y'all are going to have to shut. it. down. or I'm gonna get mean. And I reeealllly don't want to get mean." Then the lights magically went out and that was that.
The next morning, because I had other people's children under my charge, I dusted off my "super responsible parent" hat and was up at dawn so I could wake the child whose father was going to be picking her up at 7 a.m. Which felt like 6 a.m. You know, because of the time change. She got up and ready, and I sat in the front room waiting so I could open the door before he knocked and woke up everyone else in the house because I'm considerate like that. 7:10. 7:15. 7:18. Since this seemed like a guy that was on time ALL the time, I asked the girl if she wanted to call and see if he still planned on picking her up around 7. She replies, "Oh, yeah. He texted me and said they changed church because of the time change and he'll be here at 8." Are you friggin' kidding me? I'm sure he's a very nice man, but I still have the urge to kick him in the teeth over that one.
After downing 3 cups of coffee like it was water, I made the girls cinnamon rolls and bacon for breakfast, took a shower, and waited for the rest of the parents to come claim their children. After they were all gone, Tink came over to hug me. I asked her if she enjoyed her party and she said, "Mom, that sleepover was fun. But, after a few hours, I kind of just wanted to spend time with my family." And then she asked Dimples if he wanted to hang out. Are you friggin' kidding me?
We might actually be doing something right.
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