Last year it was a Star Wars party. There was an “Epic Battle” and then cake and presents. The “goody bags” were Darth Vader heads with m&m’s inside.
This year was going to be a basic repeat of last year, but the boy child had been talking about going to the Party Store since the girl child’s birthday in February. When we got there, he saw the Pokémon display and immediately changed his theme. Mostly. He got Pokémon invitations and party hats and goody bag supplies and Star Wars plates (“Mom, It’s not Star Wars. They’re Clone Wars.” “Sorry, Son. Clone Wars.”)
We gave invitations to the 3 older boys who do carpool and playdates, 1 slightly younger boy from church, and the boy’s 2 pre-school teacher friends. We allowed as how siblings could come, too.
We began to talk about games. Shyguy really wanted to play Pokémon during the party. I suggested he save it until the end for anyone who was interested. He agreed on an “Epic Battle” and the Wii game “Active Life Explorer” Party Mode. And Pokémon. Wordgirl wanted to make up games, and Shyguy really did not want her to. There may have been some tears.
The day before the party I ran into the grocery store to buy a Big Cookie–Shyguy’s choice for “cake.” There were no plain ones available, so I called Computerguy who decorates the cakes with the kids, and we decided the one with balloons around the edge would be okay. I also picked up strawberries and grapes and chocolate and yogurt covered pretzels.
The Pokémon goody bag stuffers contained 8 of each item (tops and rulers and whistles and so on). There were 4 official kid party guests + the birthday boy. There were 3 younger brothers and 3 sisters. We decided to make goody bags for the younger brothers (with the Pokémon stuff + goldfish and cereal bars instead of candy, also for his young church friend). We made “Helper” badges for the sisters–including Wordgirl–since they weren’t getting goody bags. My kids decided that the sisters could help by setting up a final “Treasure Hunt” for Goody Bags at the end of the party. It worked out pretty well.
When we celebrated his birthday as a family, I got Shyguy a Pikachu mylar balloon. He was careful with him so he would last until his party a week and a half later.
On the morning of his birthday, we hung out for awhile and then kicked into high gear about 9:30. I worked on cleaning in the house while Computerguy took care of the yard.
About 11:45, as I was putting out as a simple lunch for the family, I was cursing myself for saying 1-3 instead of 2-4 on the invitations, but we kept pushing through. After finishing the floors (swept and vacuumed–no time to mop) I made a pitcher of lemonade and a pitcher of water and labeled them with masking tape: Pikachu Lemonade (it’s yellow) and Squirtle Water (it shoots water). Since it was a rare cold and sprinkly day, I also made coffee for the grown-ups. I labeled it Charmander Coffee (a lizard that shoots fire). We put the “Prize Candy” in a Yoda basket from last year’s party.
As the first guests came, I was putting out the fruit and pretzels. Not bad.
As the kids arrived, we made Wii Miis (individual characters) for the kids who did not already have them on our system. As more kids came, they grabbed weapons and ran outside. They fought with weapons and played on swings and ran up the hill and did all the stuff they do in our yard. It was raining a little, but the tree cover kept them mostly dry, and they didn’t care.
Eventually (after about 45 minutes), they started wandering back inside, so I suggested we start the Wii game. It was a huge hit. The party mode allows 8 kids to play at once, matching them up randomly and giving them specific directions. We started 8 kids playing, and then 2 more wanted to play, so my kids subbed out. One family gave the boy child a deck of Pokémon cards early, so they were as interested in those as they were in the game.
It was loud, but organized and fun. The toughest moment was the boy who came in last in the game. The game shows every place from 1st to 8th. I should have stopped it at 3rd place. It was kind of random who won. We had never played through part mode so I didn’t know it did that. He ran out of the room frustrated. A few minutes later, I took the Yoda prize head in to him and asked if he would like to offer prize candies. He was amenable and seemed to mostly come out of his funk.
By this point, time had gotten short (2 hour parties: leave them wanting more), so we went to Big Cookie (big hit) and then gifts. Then people started heading out, and by 3:30 everyone was gone.
It was a good party and the boy seemed awfully satisfied and I started putting it together for real yesterday. Yep. that’s the way we roll.