Though I’ve barely recovered from Birthday Bowlingpalooza 2010, a whole year has passed since the day the professor and I thought it would be ‘fun’ to take six Kindergarten-aged boys…bowling.
How to top that experience, but to take 8 first graders….bowling.
Thus we gathered on Saturday. At the world’s hardest-to-find bowling alley. For the purpose of supervising little people handling pin-demolishing implements. Having now survived two Birthday Bowlingpaloozas, I feel somewhat qualified to share these handy tips; for those wishing to start their own fantastical bowling traditions.
1. Know where you’re going. This may seem like an obvious tip to 99.9% of the party-planning population. And yet…we Johnsons were three minutes late to our own party because we had trouble finding the bowling alley.
2. Break up the boy-testosterone. This year, the Gort invited four female classmates, and even though we had more kids than last year, the bowling itself was much smoother. The only people who pinched their fingers were these two:
Last year, every single party guest succumbed to some sort of bowling ball injury. Sure, the difference might be that the boys were a year older. And we had an entire mini-alley to ourselves, instead of a lane or two. But I’m attributing the no-injury phenomenon to the girls’ presence. In fact, as the lone female in a household of males, I know this to be true.
3. Have a party favor slash loot bag. Even if it means taking your three boy-children shopping on a Friday afternoon for the contents. (Quelle horreur, indeed.) Because children start thinking about the loot bag before they even get to the party. And once they get to the party, their little eyes are scanning the room repeatedly for signs of a loot bag. And if they don’t see one, they’re going to ask you (at point blank range) ‘are we getting loot bags.’ So, just have one. Even if you have to endure considerable personal harm from walking around Michael’s at 3.30pm. On a Friday. With your own flesh and blood. (Alternatively, prepare your favor bags in advance, if you’re that kind of a person.)
4. Charge your camera battery. Even if you think ‘oh, the battery should be fine’, charge it anyway. Because you might take 200 blurry pictures of people bowling, and then, when the cake comes out….the battery is thoroughly depleted. Hypothetically speaking, of course.
5. Don’t entrust the cake-making to an outside source. No matter how convenient. Sure, you might look at the professor at 11pm on Friday and say ‘good thing we ordered the cake, because otherwise we’d be making a cake right now’ and ‘I’m so glad we did that’ and he’d agree. And you’d swallow your objections to store-bought cake and scary colored fake frosting, and mother’s guilt over a non home-made cake….because it is awfully convenient.
And then, while the party guests are waiting for the ‘cake and candles’ portion of the event, you’ll take a look at the Safeway cake. Realize (1) it’s not the kind of cake you actually ordered. Unless one person’s ‘robot’ is another person’s ‘mysterious white tracks’; (2) the frosted sides of said cake are collapsing and (3) the message reads ‘Happy Birthday Toran’.
An unfortunate side-effect of having a party for first graders, is that they can read. Hence the guest of honor will look at the cake for ‘Toran’ and say, immediately, ‘that’s not even my name.’
And you might have visions of a child lying on the floor howling about a terrible cake. And the professor will do his best to turn a T into a G-ish. (With less than stellar results.) And in the end you’ll stand in the kitchen at 11pm on a Sunday.
Making homemade cupcakes for Toran’s actual birthday.