Sunday, December 05, 2004

I Am the Kids' Cruise Director

We do not own a boat of any kind, yet I am the kids' Cruise Director. I concluded this over the weekend when we had two separate birthday parties to attend. The 5-year-old even turned down a half-day Music Camp experience in order to go to one of these parties. They officially have better social lives than we do. On Saturday we attended the party of one of the 5-year-old's classmates. Fortunately these Kindergarten extravaganzas are designed to accommodate younger siblings, so the 3-year-old's social life is also better than mine and Hubby's. Although this party was located at a suburban house, the parents were outnumbered by huge quantities of Rented Wildlife. Wait, that isn't quite right. These were tame animals. They were Rented Farm Creatures. The Farm Creatures came complete with personal bodyguards and trainers (a.k.a. ranch hands, or more likely it was the farmer, his wife and his kids in the dell. The Cheese Stood Alone.) The Farm Personnel wisely brought along farm animal restraints such as portable wire pens and horse accessories. The 5-year-old was thrilled at the possibility of riding the two ponies, while the 3-year-old told me he was shy around animals. That didn't last terribly long. Eventually he broke the ice and chased a few panic-stricken rabbits around the portable pen, trying to shove hay up their nostrils. If rabbits do ingest hay, I believe it is not taken nasally. Hubby had to work, or he would've been at my side shooting amazing video footage of Perturbed Chickens, Goats and Sheep. In addition to the animals there were other kid-friendly activities such as a purple plastic horseshoe game, face painting, a funky craft (I try not to get too close to crafts for fear of being contaminated with glue and sparkles), and sack races. Interestingly, many of the children were racing between bales of hay (also provided by the farmer) while the sacks lay unused on the ground. Later the 5-year-old explained to Hubby that "Sack Races" is just what they called the racing, but there was no such thing as Sacks. According to him sacks are an imaginary object. Just as well! I'm sure there were fewer injuries that way. Later there were catered McNuggets. This was after the 3-year-old prematurely discovered the party's Animal Cracker Supply and consumed most of it. He also managed to touch most of the chunks of cantaloupe before consuming half a platter of those. He didn't schedule his meltdown until the Cake Stage of the party (precipitating event: desire to scale the hosts' fence to an off-limits playground). Today's party was thrilling to the kids in a completely different way. It was held at the YMCA, which does not allow animals on the premises. Instead it offers an elaborate play area that is almost completely padded, so the kids can literally run into the walls and you don't have to yell at them until they bounce off and land on other children. And this was really unnecessary because there was a large pit of foam squares a bit bigger than bread loaves that the kids could jump in. So they all jumped onto each other in this pit. Understandably, the 3-year-old told me he was shy around foam, at least for the first 10 minutes or so. Then he ran up to the pit and jumped on his brother. The 5-year-old actually preferred this party, mainly because there were many games involving running, crawling and shrieking. He acquired two brush burns and several bruises. I should note that as soon as we arrived at this party the 3-year-old said loudly, "I'm HUNGRY." After all the parents turned to look at me, he bellowed, "I'm STARVING." You would not know I had just fed these children lunch. The pizza was not scheduled until a full hour of interaction with the foam pieces had been completed. When it was time for pizza the rest of the children were contentedly munching on their slices. The 3-year-old was already finished and saying, "Where's the CAKE? I want CAKE." After the singing was done the 3-year-old ate both his piece of cake and his brother's. Fortunately there were a lot of wipes. I am fairly certain that even the Rented Farm Animals have better social lives than Hubby and I. In fact they were on a strict schedule to get to their next engagement. Hubby and I just like to sprawl on the couch in exhaustion and admire the holiday decorations that take up our entire living room and dining room. I will describe this eventually. Because we're sure the kids will be having their friends over to look at it.

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