Initially my plan was to have a mid-week, mid-day "lunch party" and invite all of the kids from the boys' preschool class. That plan abruptly changed when I learned that there were 18 kids in the class. With the most logical and, in our case, only pool of party guests eliminated in one foul swoop, I was left with no other choice than to invite total strangers.
Fortunately, there were a satisfactory number of them at the bus stop. The lucky recipients of the invitations included a kindergartner who I suspect is on Speed and the three year-old younger brother of a boy who owns a very impressive collection of robots (or so I hear). If either of our 2 guests were no-shows, my plan was to fill the empty chairs with my neighbor's greyhound, or her cage of pet rats. Fortunately, the two strangers showed up.
The party got off to a good start when Cortlen answered the door and asked "Who are you?" to the boy standing in front of him.
"Who are YOU?" the boy asked back.
Lunch was filled with equally awkward moments.
"Hey, what's your name," asked Kellen, "Do you want another piece of pizza?"
Fortunately for all, the awkwardness was short lived. Nothing unites complete strangers like food and an older sister who can't stand not being the center of attention. I suspected that I might have a slight problem on my hands when I had to forcibly pry Camber out of one of the two dining room chairs adorned with a bouquet of balloons and a large placard that read "Birthday Boy."
"This is your first and last warning," I told her in the hallway.
When I brought in the drinks, she was standing on her chair. "Let's pretend that it's MY birthday," she told the party guests.
"You can pretend that it's your birthday in your bedroom," I said.
After lunch, Camber emerged from her room penitent and full of promises to clean up her act. Sadly, those promises proved to be empty. During game time, she pushed her way to the front of the limbo line, refused to hand over the plastic bat (used to hit the pinata) when her turn was over, and "took a nap" in front of the soccer net as the party guests were trying to shoot goals. As I dragged her away from the net, I broke both of her legs (or so she claimed) and she screamed, "This party is boring anyway! I'm having no fun!"
After depositing my daughter inside the garage and then closing the garage door, I apologized to the strangers (and the strangers' mothers) for the beast who was now peering at us through the dining room windows. I felt terrible about how things were turning out and was pretty much convinced by that point that the strangers standing on my driveway were going to do everything in their power to remain strangers to our family after the party was over.
Much to my shock and surprise, neither the birthday boys nor the party guests saw things the same way.
"This is the best birthday party ever," said the boy on Speed.
"That girl sure is angry," said the three year-old, clapping his hands.
"Can I lay in front of the soccer net and have people kick balls at me?" asked Kellen.
That's when I saw Camber's hidden career potential as a professional party pooper. I wonder what would be less tacky and more lucrative: renting her out by the hour, or the party?