Party Anxiety Time

M’s birthday party is tomorrow. I’ve been alternating between stages 5 (Panic) and 6 (Efficiency) today (please refer to my Stages of a Kid’s Birthday Party post for a complete rundown). I am trying to talk myself into glorious Stage 7 (Calm Before the Storm), but instead I’m wrestling with low-level anxiety.

It’s M’s 10th birthday, and we’ve entered a new realm, birthday party-wise. She had no interest in an adorable cake (and I’m pretty decent with cakes). She walked the aisles of the party store, looking at roughly 3 kajillion different paper napkins and declared, “I don’t care. Whatever is fine.” This seems easygoing, but choosing a theme that matches cups and napkins and cakes has been part of the birthday preparation ritual since she was, I don’t know, 3 years old. Without it, I feel unmoored.

It’s also M’s first slumber party. We’ve never had more than one girl friend spend the night at a time, and even the single sleepovers have been few and far between. I fear middle-of-the-night Drama, old bedtime fears or new tween angst surfacing, judgement calls about rousing a parent. Plus, it’s so many hours to have people over. I said that sometime recently and M said, “Mom, you know we will sleep for at least a few hours, right?” But even if I luck out with eight hours of sleep-time, that still leaves eight hours of wakefulness to fill. I keep suggesting activities or games, but M rejects all of them. “Ten-year-old girls are really good at wasting time,” she insists. “We could just talk and eat snacks for hours.” I hope that she’s right.

And, of course, it’s a backyard campout slumber party. So I am fretting about putting up the tents (one for M and her six friends, the other for Cute W and me and J and her friend), and the weather forecast (chance of both showers and thunderstorms), and guests who could decide mid-party that they hate camping.

So here’s the plan. Kids are set to arrive at 6 pm. I’ll have healthy/boring snacks for kids who arrive hungry, and hopefully by 6:30 pm we’ll all walk to a nearby field for kickball. Then they’ll come back and have dinner (hot dogs and burgers on the grill, not over a campfire, and only lame lemonade to drink instead of soda because I am mean, mean, mean). Dessert is chocolate cake with chocolate frosting and ice cream. Which reminds me, crap, that I forgot to buy birthday candles. That’s the sort of thing that my child used to get so excited about that we’d have the candles two weeks ahead of time. Just now I scrounged in the cupboard and found only a motley assortment left over from birthdays past.

Hopefully soon after cake it will start getting dark enough for fireflies to come out, and they officially have permission to try to catch them in my neighbor Mary’s garden, since most of my yard will be populated by tents and other paraphernalia.  After that we’ll continue the food fest with marshmallow roasting/s’mores. Then pajamas and tents.

Morning scares me a little, because pick-up isn’t until 10 am (earlier seemed rude, somehow), and what with dawn crackin’ and birds chirping, I expect that kids will be up early. I figure that if it gets too rowdy we can always walk up to the school playground. And it’s pancakes and turkey bacon for breakfast.

We have no special theme to anything. M picked out punch-balloons to play with at the party and have kids take home. Man, I probably should have gotten spares of those in case of popping, right? Argh.  But hopefully playing with those will kill some time. M also picked out plastic plates and plastic wineglass cups that the kids will use and then take home. They’re green. I would have bet my life she’d choose turquoise. I can’t keep up with her these days. She’s evolving too fast for me.

Oh, please don’t let it rain. M is fine with rain. “But Mom,” she says, “We’ve camped in the rain before. It’s still fun.” I have no idea if her friends would agree.

Oh, please don’t let it rain.

 

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