R's big party was finally on Saturday. (I decorated the cake myself, well the space stuff anyway not the writing - what do you think? Hee hee.) R had a lot of fun, except for the games at the gym that involved him being the center of attention with all of his friends watching him or wishing him happy birthday. At one point, the young women running the party took R aside while everyone else (i.e., 16 four-year-olds) had to sit in a circle and wait. When they brought R out, he was being pulled around in a wagon. He was also supposed to be wearing a special hat and holding a sign or something, but he refused (can you blame him?). He really just wanted to play with his friends instead of having them all circle around him like he was royalty. I didn't realize that that was part of the party package. If I had, I would have asked them to drop that part. Other than that, the kids had tons of fun. The gym was great; there was so much for them to do and climb and jump on. And, it was perfect because it was a cold and rainy day outside, so everyone used up a lot of energy.
The best part was at the end with an activity they called "space flight." It's basically a zip line across the entire gym with a little swing seat attached. Each child got to take a turn zipping across the room. R got two turns as the birthday boy. I wish they could have given all the kids multiple turns. I think they all would have loved to just do that part the entire time!
We decided to have a book swap instead of presents, partly because we have nowhere to put 16 presents/toys and partly because I don't want R to focus on the getting part of his birthday. So, every kid brought a wrapped book, and then we put them all in a big bin and everyone got to take a new book home with them at the end. That worked out GREAT! The parents were raving about it, so that made me happy.
Afterwards, a few of the kids and their parents joined us at the pizza place next door for dinner. (The party was from 3-4:30 so it was too late for lunch, and there wasn't much time to have anything but cake.) I wish we hadn't done the pizza thing because some of the kids were INSANE. R was cranky and sad from being overtired (he woke up extra early that morning), and a few of his friends were in hyper mode, yelling and screaming and pretending to shoot each other. Fun! R asked A to take him away from the table for awhile because he couldn't stand the noise. It also didn't help having to wait for the pizza for half an hour. The kids had all that energy and nothing to do about it.
But, all in all, it was a good day. In retrospect, A and I both felt like it was too much. A said that all the preparations and expense felt like we were celebrating a sweet 16 birthday instead of a four-year-old birthday. R doesn't really care if everyone he knows is at his party - he just wants to have fun. I don't know why I talked myself into doing this big shebang this year. I guess it was because it seemed like all his friends were doing the same thing. So, although I don't regret it because R did have a nice time, we probably won't do another big party like that for a long time.
We spent our rainy Sunday today sleeping late, having pancakes and ham for breakfast, browsing at the bookstore and having scones at the cafe, watching a movie at home, and riding the subway (R's request) to go have dinner in Harvard Square. It was a nice way to relax after the craziness of the party on Saturday.
Question for all of you: Do you think we should send out thank-you notes to R's friends for attending? Because there weren't any presents (and we did give out goody bags), I wasn't sure if it was necessary. I mean, I know it would be nice to do, but do you think it's expected?
Finally, quote of the week:
Me: "R, why are you punching me in the arm?"
R: "Because I love you!"