It was a dark and stormy afternoon…
for Andy’s last and 3rd and last 7th birthday party. The first had been on the day with mom & dad, the second on a weekend with the neighbors. This one was with seven of his friends from school.
The invitations were designed (by me with a line drawn castle on the front) & redesigned by Andy with a scary ghost on the front, signed sealed and delivered. Delivered by hand, by me, by bike on a very pretty day.
I quizzed some other mom’s about the castle tour Andy wanted for his party. Allan did some digging and found out the details.
One of the other moms’ took up a collection so they could buy a group gift. Toys are expensive here so that way he could get one nice big toy instead of lots of little not-so-nice toys.
Allan wanted me to buy a cake so that there wouldn’t be any last minute hassle.
True to my nature I procrastinated until the last minute. Somehow I managed to find the most expensive bakery around. There was no time to comparison shop so I just bit my lip and paid the bill. The cake would sport an obscene amount of marzipan, a castle and a ghost.
Thank god for hidden pictures at Highlights.com. I printed off ten for the boys to work on as they arrived.
Allan led the boys in a game of dodge ball while I got the cake and candles (actually sparklers) ready. Let’s back up here. Earlier that same morning Allan had taken Andy out to buy A dodge ball. I had struck out earlier at the local toy store. When I asked for a special dodge ball I got ‘that look’. The look I get a lot. The look I should be used to getting after being an expat for so many years. Someone described it as being looked at like live lizards are crawling out of your mouth. Or like you have two heads. So the boys set out to buy a (1, one) ball. A few hours later they returned with two balls, a swimming pool, ladder & cover for the pool and some candy to add to the goodie bags. (You don’t want to know how much this party cost!).
The timing was perfect. The first of the seven sparklers on the cake spluttered out as we finished singing. The boys downed their cake, went to the bathroom and then loaded up in the cars. After liberating one boy who had locked himself in the upstairs bathroom, Allan almost sped off without one boy who had lingered a little too long in the toilet.
Two boys asked to ride shotgun. Which is illegal by the way until you’re twelve, or 135 centimeters tall or weigh at least 35 kilos.
It was a short drive but I still got, “are we there yet?” I believe the finer points of football were debated in the back seat during the trip.
I made a wrong turn trying to find a parking spot. Which made us late. A half hour late for the tour. Which was one hour not a half hour. Which made us an hour late to the restaurant. Allan took the little boys on the tour while I went to warn the restaurant that we would be late.
I noticed the same blisters on one little boy’s legs that Andy had. They had played together on Monday. Hmm.
Note: the previous Friday I was in line behind a man at the local amusement park waiting to buy ice cream. The man had bought the large group of children their chosen frozen treat when a lady came up and reamed him a new one. It turns out (unbeknownst to the poor man) that the group was an official birthday party which includes (read: cheapest) ice cream. The lady would not let up. The children stood around expressionless eating their already opened popsicles. I don’t know about you but I just don’t think it’s worth going ballistic over €5.
Pancakes for 8, make that 10.
Only one boy spilled his drink.
For about five minutes it was very pleasant to sit there with 8 seven year olds. My son has nice friends. While we waited I doled out the not yet completes Hidden Pictures to finish. Left to their own devises little boys will pour a substantial amount of powdered sugar on a pancake.
One fell on the way out and scraped his knee. He collapsed on the cobblestones working the slight injury for all it was worth. Allan actually PICKED HIM UP and carried the fifty pound fakir to the ice cream shop. Great lesson there. Goldbricking will get you your chocolate ice cream first! Must remember that.
Allan had a look like a deer caught in the headlights when I told him that he would have to take half of the little boys home. My car was very quiet as the boys still worked on their Hidden Pictures.
Once home Andy set up his Hot Wheels V drop. Which I will admit is quite cool. Allan invited The Best Neighbors In The World over to finish the cake. Which was an agreeable way to end the day. With a little help from Google we decided that Andy’s blisters were very much poison ivy like. So I treated him with a baking soda bath and some anti-histamine cream.
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