Last year when my son turned 11, he wanted a kid party. Since he hadn’t had one for a while, I told him to invite whoever he wanted…and he did.
Now usually only about 75% of guests attend, so when he invited 12 boys, I figured we’d have 9 max…and hoped for even less.
To my chagrin, 13 boys showed up (one extra asked to come the day of the party).
I’d planned meticulously. We had pizza and snacks. There were Minute to Win It games and doughnuts on strings for the boys to eat with only their mouths. We had hot dogs and marshmallows to roast over the fire.
Now taken alone, boys are very cute specimens with their dimples, scrawny 11-year-old muscles they think are like Arnold Schwarzenegger’s, and their boundless grins and energy. But taken together like a carton of eggs, they transform into monsters from the blue lagoon.
In the past with parties, my husband hides. Other people’s kids scare him…especially in PACKS. I didn’t allow him to hide this time. For survival…we needed both of us (and we could have used a few truant officers as well).
This is how it went. You know the book—Where the Wild Things Are?—well, all the Wild Things were at my house, and they roared their terrible roars…and they gnashed their terrible teeth…and they said, “I’m going to eat you”…and my husband and I were scared…VERY SCARED!!!!!!!!
The games I had planned to take an hour, took 5 minutes. It looked like a tornado had hit. Toilet paper was shredded everywhere; skittles were sliding down my walls in purple, red and yellow streaks. It was louder than a rock concert. In one corner a kid was crying because he got knocked him off his chair.
They roared, gnashed and threatened with their terrible claws and my husband and I trembled and assured each other that we could get through this. We only had 2 hours and 55 minutes left.
Pizza and snacks were wolfed down without even chewing. I was shocked! I looked longingly at my bedroom door and wished to give myself a timeout until this nightmare was over.
We played the doughnut game and I forced the birthday boy not to play (I only had 12 doughnuts and there were 14 boys. Luckily, one boy had eaten at McDonalds, and was full and didn’t want a doughnut). I seriously contemplated sending my husband to McDonalds to buy 13 more happy meals and give them enough MSG to make them lethargic the rest of the night…but with my house and backyard now a war zone, I didn’t dare let my husband go AWOL. If anyone was going on a McDonald’s run…it would be me!
Trash was everywhere—paper goods, pizza rinds, half-empty cups of pop (I was a half-empty kind of person that night). I flicked my watch…because it didn’t seem like it was working. Surely five hours had gone by, yet it said only 20 minutes had passed. Urgh!
I found my husband and frantically told him to start a fire so the Wild Things could roast marshmallows and stay out of the house. Boys like fire, right? My husband looked at me with haunted eyes and said, “There’s no way I’m lighting a fire with these Wild Things.”
“What do you mean?” I asked. “That’s supposed to take up at least an hour!”
He shook his head. “We’ll have serious injuries if we let these Wild Things around a fire!”
Panic! Gulp! “What am I going to do? I still have 2 hours and 39 minutes, and only 15 minutes worth of games.”
We had no answers. So we opened presents. Wild Things don’t savor presents. They tear into them. My son had all 13 presents open in record time…three minutes 35 seconds. We sang a terrible rendition of Happy Birthday that ruptured my eardrums. They gobbled down cake and ice cream and asked if there was more pizza!
In desperation, we took them to the park. There’s a pond and lots of big trees and my harried husband hoped we could get them playing a game of Capture the Flag. I silently prayed that Capture the Flag would take more than 5 minutes.
Miracle of miracles. The Wild Things loved it, although they cheated…but I didn’t dare tell them. They were having too much fun roaring, gnashing and chasing each other.
As it got dark, we took the Wild Things home. They finished off the rest of the cake and ice cream and asked again if there was more pizza. Are you kidding?
I told them no, but if they were still hungry, they could have at the skittles that they’d spit all over the walls earlier. Yum! A couple of them were hungry enough to take me up on my offer.
Have you heard of selective amnesia? I think I have it. Somehow we survived, but it’s a blur. I remember that my heart pounded, my house was destroyed, there was one asthma attack as they played Ghost in the Graveyard, two more boys got hurt in ‘fun’ play as arms were twisted or heads were shoved into walls with much laughter.
I raided cupboards and found a half-eaten bag of marshmallows and a box of Cocoa Crunch, and gave it to the boys who kept asking about more pizza.
The last game was a balloon game. They raced across the room, grabbed a balloon, blew it up and then raced back to their chairs and popped it. As stupid as it sounds, it was a hit (probably because it was noisy—even louder than a dull roar).
My husband and I, meanwhile, held each other and prayed for deliverance. So help me, I’d kill any mother who was late!
A few arrived early, and I blessed those moms and hugged their knees, drawing weird looks. I’m sure they thought I was a little unbalanced. That was fine. I was ready to become a monk and seal myself into my house in peaceful solitude for the rest of my life.
PS. I don’t look down on mom’s who do their parties at Chuck E. Cheese anymore. I call them SMART.