1. Take out (and iron) 2 outfits that make your kids look like someone is actually taking care of them. When the 1st kid gets dressed you ooh and ahh about how cute he is and then you take his picture. When the other kid refuses to wear the outfit you so carefully picked out and instead puts on an old, crushed, long-sleeved, dinosaur shirt with old, dingy, brown sandals you let it go. You ask him if he will let you take his picture. When he says “not today”, again you let it go.
2. You stop at the supermarket on the way to the party and get items that you know for sure your kids will eat. Kelloggs cereal bars, popcorn, cheese doodles and cheesy Pringles. When you arrive at the party and one kid is covered in cheese crumbs, you dust him off the best you can with a dry wash rag and keep it moving.
3. Once at the party, you let the kids do their thing. One will immediately begin playing with the other boys there. They will swing and slide and whatever other nonsense little boys do. One will stay right by your side complaining that he left his hat at home and asking you to go get it. He may also take a walk to the front yard and ask to play with the neighbours garden hose. When you say no, he may lay down on the front lawn and pout. That’s ok. Just wait it out and he will eventually start playing with the other children.
4. When it’s time to cut the birthday cake, one boy will be the perfect combination of sweet and funny and cute and well behaved and patient. The other will start out the same way but then when the birthday boys blow out their candles he will get upset that he didn’t get to blow out the candles and he will cry and yell at everyone. You laugh it off with the other parents; pick up your screaming 5 year old and walk him to the front of the yard (away from everyone else). When the host Mom, comes over with a gentle smile and offers to re-light the candles so he can blow them out you will all but melt at her gesture but you say no thanks. (Afterall, you are trying to teach him that he can’t always have his own way)
5. Once the candle issue is put to rest, the rest of the evening will go swimmingly. There will be face painting (a first for one of your kids) and Lego building and cupcakes (and cupcake icing smeared on hands and faces) and the kid who was screaming earlier will even begin dancing to the music.
6. To close out the evening, there will be a rousing game of tag with about 10 boys between the ages of 4 and 8. *Cue the Jaws music*. Your clumsy, but oh so cute, almost 7 year old will fall on the concrete and bust open the knee that he had fallen and busted open last weekend. There will be blood and tears. He will also get scrapes on his hand and elbow. But you will be prepared and you will have Neosporin and Band-Aids because … yeah.
7. Before you leave, you will say your goodbyes and your thank yous and your son will make you promise to plan play dates because they had such a great time.
8. You will drive out but then you will need to go back for the half eaten tin of Pringles that you brought with you. It will be a bit embarrassing to walk in, pick up a tin of chips, and then walk out but you know your son will know there were some left and he will want them so you do what you have to.
And that my friends, is how you do a birthday party!