Saturday, December 15, 2012
So I have decided that I want to be THAT house. The one where the teenagers hang out, because if the other teenagers are here, then my own teenager is likely to be on-premises as well. Oh, by the by, I have a teenager now. Still coming to terms with that - and, also, actively seeking out opportunities to be THAT house.
Hence, the Xbox party that we threw for the Big Kid last Saturday, as a belated birthday celebration, which was immediately followed by our hosting of the appetizer portion of the church youth group's progressive Christmas dinner. (Added bonus: after the function on Sunday, the house was still reasonably clean and neat, and we had food left over, so we invited my family over for a midweek dinner to take advantage of said cleanliness and surplusage. Am now contemplating hosting some sort of event every third day, indefinitely, to ensure that the house stays neat and the fridge gets cleaned out on a regular basis. Which plan, actually, fits neatly into my larger plans to be THAT house.)
The Xbox party was a source of more stress than it should have been, given that it consisted of: picking up a cookie cake and some soft drinks; locating teenager-acceptable plates, napkins and cups in the cupboard; opening the door for the Xbox Man, who in ten minutes' time set up three utility tables, six monitors, six gaming systems and twelve controllers; and reminding Spouse (who kinda got caught up in the Halo-ing) that he needed to order pizza. Said stress stemmed from Big Kid's insistence to handle his own invites, which resulted in half of the guest list never being invited at all, and a quarter of the guest list being invited in the sketchiest manner imaginable ("Oh, by the way, I'm having a party on Saturday, and you should come" - I have to say that I was pleased that none of the kids in that column of the guest list showed up, because I would have had to take their parents to task). My angst proved to be for naught, because the number of kids that did show up was exactly right, and the party basically went off without a hitch. (Glossing over that moment towards the end when A's younger brother, who came as Little Kid's guest, slammed into a shadow box of the Big Kid's childhood art that hangs - apparently too low - in the hallway, knocking it off of the wall and shattering the glass. Laser tag weapons were involved. We had the glass vacuumed up in a nanosecond, and I hung the shadow box back up without the glass, and life went on. And, also, I got to chuckle at a nine year-old's version of a party-foul apology: "I did NOT mean to do that.")
By the way, if you have boys, and you are looking for a party concept that ensures almost total silence, I highly recommend an Xbox party. Until the Xbox Man called time and started packing up his equipment, I don't think that any of them spoke directly to each other. Each one walked in, immediately grabbed a controller and selected a character, and MAYBE every five minutes, someone would say something like "P, is that you?" "No, I'm on your right." And then more silence would ensue.
It was eighteen different kinds of awesome, and more than made up for a little broken glass in the hallway. To sum up, little kid birthdays: hostess-as-Julie-the-cruise-director. Bigger kid birthdays: hostess-as-referee. Big kid birthdays: hostess gets to sit in a comfy chair in front of her Christmas tree and drink wine with her neighbor while looking over photos of past child-centric events and reminiscing about how horrific they were.
I did suffer two distinct moments of existential distress at the end: moment one, when I realized that I didn't get any pictures of the festivities other than this Instagram shot:
Wow. I have a kid who takes his own photos now. That's okay, because not only did he allow me to put "Not a Turkey" on his cookie cake (an allusion to the fact that I am under strict orders not to put the image of a turkey on a cake for my Thanksgiving-born baby EVER AGAIN), but he actually chuckled and said, "YES. THAT IS PERFECT. MAKE SURE THAT IT SAYS THAT."