A quiet birthday with the kids ­– not!

By Joanne Peterson | Apr 25, 2013

Last week my grandson Adam turned four.  My brother Warren and I were invited to a low-key birthday celebration at daycare, which we happily attended. (I cannot believe I just used the term “low-key” for an activity involving a herd of exuberant four-year-olds and three boxes of orange cream-sicles.)

Following Adam’s small celebration, I went upstairs to visit his wee sister Abby, leaving my brother comfortably seated in a big wing chair, with a suggestion that he’d probably enjoy watching the kids play until I came back for him. (I wasn’t sure that would prove to be the case, but I figured as long as he stayed in the chair, he’d be safe.)

I returned from a sing-along in Abby’s classroom a bit later than I had planned – she was sitting on my lap, and I couldn’t bear to leave her.

I ran back to Adam’s room, concerned about the brother I had abandoned there. Was Warren anxiously awaiting my return? Nope. Warren still sat in the wing chair, but four or five little kids sat on his lap and on the chair arms, enthralled, while he read to them. As he stood to leave, one girl lamented to her teacher, “I don’t want that man to go.”  Very sweet.

But here I’ve used half my space telling you about the “low-key birthday celebration at daycare”—when the “Main Event Birthday Bash” occurred Sunday. Three daycare families with four-year-old Birthday Boys planned a party at the West Seattle YMCA.  My daughter invited me to come “help” –  I think I was the only grandma present.

The party began with 45 staff-supervised minutes in a gym with the largest blow-up bouncy house/climbing structure I’d ever seen. Perhaps you’ve seen such a huge plaything, but I was dismayed. I think it was larger than my living space.

Bedlam. Pandemonium. Pure four-year-old delight--with a few young siblings thrown in for good measure. Well, not actually thrown, but Adam’s little sister needed no encouragement to thrust herself into the action.

Before long, she had pulled herself up to the top of the vertical net climbing wall. Oblivious to a watchful “Y” employee, Abby appeared to be planning her first trip down the long slide.

A woman standing nearby said to me, “She’s tough as nails, isn’t she?” At that moment, at the top of the net, Abby managed to haul her dress off over her head and fling it to earth, before plunging down the slide in her tights and undershirt, scattering the Birthday Boys.

Forty-five minutes later, a sweet-faced female “Y” employee, with a voice to rouse sleeping giants, organized 21 hyper-active children—CHILDREN! COME. HERE. NOW. STAND ON THAT BLACK LINE.  DO YOU HEAR ME? STAND ON THAT BLACK LINE. NOW!  They stood.  On to the Party Room.  Balloons! Treats! Cupcakes!

What a delightful riot of an afternoon.  I hope I’m invited next year.




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