Thursday, August 27, 2009

One Decade Down

We survived another year... and another birthday party - barely. My oldest turned 10 years old on Tuesday. We were going to take him and his friends to the corn maze and let them run wild for a few hours.... but the incessant rain this summer forced a change in our plans. I suppose we could have taken them - the puddles on the mud paths throughout the maze were only ankle deep.... but I just don't think my van could have handled 6 (my vehicle's share) suped-up-on-sugar, mud-covered 10 year old boys on the drive home.

So a last minute change in plans: I took Tuesday off and prepared for an at-home party.

Which turned out to be way too much work.

My three years as a camp counsellor has left me capable (even if not completely enthused by the idea) of entertaining a group this age... which can be really challenging because, well, they're TEN - so just getting to be a little jaded... and a little less willing to be silly for the sake of having fun (even though they secretly still want to). But I was a teenager when I spent my time coming up with fun activities.... and had so much more energy for keeping them going. It took me the entire day to set up activities and build props and organize games. I was a little more than half-way through running the kids through them when I really started questioning my sanity (which I would never have admitted to out-loud because my husband was calling me crazy enough... minor points to him for at least helping though) - I was just exhausted.

We did a "10th birthday challenge" with 10 games... 5 team and 5 individual... where they collected points - for the team and for themselves. At the end there were prizes. There were winners and there were losers... which is good for them at this age, right? Because kids don't lose enough these days... it's character-building. There was a prize for everyone... but WHICH prize they eventually walked home with depended on the final standings.

I didn't get a prize. And I worked harder than any of them.... just saying. (minor over-sight on my part).

I did spend less on the prizes than I would have on taking the group to the corn maze, which is good. But man this party was way more work than I envisioned it being when I came up with the idea.... I don't know what I was thinking. My husband, he just thinks I'm crazy and tells me I've gone overboard... which I suppose I did a little bit.... but really? The eye-rolling doesn't help. Just because he never had a birthday party as a child, doesn't mean our kids shouldn't have them - or that the kids shouldn't have the time of their lives on this one day of the year meant just for them. He'll have to get over it.

And the kids did have a blast. My son was thrilled with his birthday and his friends were well-entertained for a few hours. Unfortunately, I was so run off my feet that I didn't get a single picture of the event. No pictures of my son's only 10th birthday party (that would be zero mom-points to me)... it was an hour or so after the party ended... and I was already wishing I could be in bed, when I remembered that. Damn it. Not that I actually had time to take any pictures... just sucks that no one else in the house thought of it either. I should have assigned one of his aunts to camera duty...

It was a good day - and I'd say *almost* worth all my time & effort. I'm glad it went over well and I'm pleased that my boy is happy.... but next year? We're going to find a much easier way to put a smile on his face. I think this was his last "big" (or at least parental-labour-intensive) birthday party. Maybe next year we'll take them to a movie.

To make up for missing the pictures, I had the bakery re-create his cake from the party... to take to our smaller family-gathering the following night. I took some pictures there.

And I'm happy to report, that along with what he'd already saved, my boy collected enough birthday money to buy the Wii he's wanted for so long... we're going to get it tonight. I'm telling myself that THAT will be worth the 10 hours of my life (and conveniently ignoring the fact that he still would have collected that birthday money even if I had done something much simpler).

Anyway, that one decade down for offspring #1. And I don't feel old enough to have a 10 year old yet. This one keeps me on my toes... which, I suppose, is his job - being the oldest. Almost everything with him is something new... something I've never had to deal with as a parent before... something I'm never quite sure I'm handling right. But he's a good egg... and I think I'll be able to handle 10. Just starting to get a little nervous of those rapidly-approaching teen years now that we're counting in double-digits!

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