I’m currently that very special kind of tired known only by interrogated prisoners of war and parents returning home from a child’s second birthday party. The noise level at one of these gatherings is akin to that of a boxcar traveling at great speed packed loosely with pie pans. The physical exertion far surpasses that of catching a greased pig. Why go though something like that you ask? Imagine if you had held that greased pig on the day it was born or seen that boxcar grow into an amazing child. This particular exhausting noisefest* was held in honor of The Boy, a young friend of the family whom we dearly love. We attended with gusto.
The main problem with birthday parties is the gifts. Children of a certain age (girls 0-7, boys 0-30) cannot grasp the concept that a present opened in their sight is not necessarily their property. Often you will see a birthday child merrily unpapering his/her gifts flanked by two adults tasked with the swift removal of these then unwrapped presents. This usually works well until the last present. With no stockpile of presents left to maneuver for, the children will go all Lord of the Flies on each other for the last one. Not only is there no stopping this, but there is no real need. Children require a little thunderdome-ing from time to time.
On this happy occasion, I personally removed one of those springy yard tunnels from the fray while The Boy was still working his way through a pile of presents. As I freed it from its packaging and took it outside, I told a horde of kids trailing me the following lie: “I’m just going to make sure it works first.”
Before you judge me ask yourself, “When was the last time I was in a yard tunnel?” Unless your answer is, “I’m currently in one,” then you are missing out. I suspect, given similar circumstances, that you would have snuck a quick go on that sweet sweet yard tunnel before the kids gunked it up with fruit leather and crumbs and chalk and snot.
Eventually I relinquished my claim on the tube and stepped my Dad-Meter down a notch from “whipping them into a frenzy” to merely “riling them up.” We caked, we sang, we gamed, we bestowed wishes – we birthdayed heartily.
Happy Birthday, The Boy, we love you.