Skylar has been talking about her sixth birthday party since the second her fifth birthday party ended. Over the past year she has invited several hundred classmates, team mates, relatives of friends, vague acquaintances and random strangers to this party and every time she has told them it was going to be a "Cowgirl" party. Her non-stop party gibber-jabber drove me to the edge of insanity until the day that I finally snapped and forbade her to mention The Party again for the next nine months. This didn't actually work, but at least it took the round-the-clock badgering down to a more manageable tendency to mention it only when attending someone else's birthday party, seeing a party in a book or on TV, viewing a toy commercial or meeting a new friend (which happens to my child any time she is allowed out of the house)
So you can see how I could totally have forgotten to plan her a birthday party. 'Cause I suck.
OK, maybe I didn't forget. Maybe I just procrastinated due to my total lack of social skills and my inability to organize and my horror at the thought of having to communicate with other parents and my even greater horror at the thought of exposing my tiny, dingy home to those other parents and the depredations of their sugar-crazed offspring.
In the end I punked out. I just couldn't stand the thought of playing hostess and planning asinine games and decorating with a suitable "Cowgirl" theme. No way, we had to take this show on the road.
Me- So Goober, do you still want a Cowgirl Birthday Party?
Me- Do you think we should go ride some real horses?
Skylar- Holyfuckingcrap, YES! (not exactly, but that's definitely what she meant to say)
So I embarked on a quest to find a horse.
-Hell no, I don't want you to bring horses to my house!
-Not available until November?
And eventually we found a place where we could rent a couple of horses (and a matching set of handlers) for an hour and then eat some cake in a barn. Whoo Hoo! The only down-side was that it was a 45 minute drive away.
We sent out invitations. I forced Skylar to pare down her guest list ruthlessly. I told her that since she was turning 6 she could invite 6 kids (That's it, just six. 1 2 3 4 5 6, and nooooo kindergarten!) Every single one RSVP'd in the affirmative, saying that such and such a child would be thrilled to attend, but no, the parents had no desire to come along, thanks. So with Skylar and Eden and a couple of cousins we had 10 little girls to transport. Skylar picked out an ice cream cake. We got loot bags and Hannah Montana plates and paper hats. Then Skylar told me she'd changed her mind. She thought maybe she didn't want horseback rides after all. What the hell, child? There are starving children in Africa who would give their left nut for a cowgirl birthday party and you are getting fucking pony rides and you will bloody well like it! But it turned out she had just remembered that she wanted a pinata, which had to hang from a certain tree in the yard, which would mean we would have to stay home. So we got a pinata (do you have any idea how much pinatas cost? Too much to smash with a freaking bat, that's how much) and promised to do that once we got back to the house but before the parents came to collect their kids. The spoiled, spoiled little princess was appeased and the plans went forward.
On the day of the party (a week after the real birthday, because again, I'm a slacker) the kids began to trickle in and we collected gifts and booster seats and loaded up the two vans we had commandeered for the occasion while the screaming little psychopaths ran wild after the cats. Did you know that three booster seats will not fit on the rear bench of a mini van? We didn't. We do now. Shit. We would need a third vehicle, dammit. Then at the last minute we were saved by our good friend alcohol. It turns out one mom had spent the previous night at a much more grown-up party and had completely forgotten to bring her daughters over thanks to her mind-numbing hangover. We would be two kids short, which is sad for boozy mom's kids but hella convenient for us because we could now dispense with the third vehicle.
If you can possibly avoid it you should never let yourself be trapped in a car full of six year old girls. The shrieking. The squealing. The endless bathroom humour. That road has never been so long.
We collected helmets and signed waivers on behalf of other people's children and herded them into a barn. The first two kids were mounted onto bored looking ponies and the rest were subdued with cheese and crackers. Then the handlers led those two kids outside to walk around the yard. Except as they were leaving the barn the ginormous sliding door took a homicidal plunge downward and attempted to decapitate one of the Emilys. Funny, this scenario never occurred to me while I was signing those waivers. Luckily, the kid shook it off and declined to get off of the horse, so I hopefully won't be hearing from her parent's lawyers.
We rotated all the girls through their pony rides, but the highlight of the day was the big ass pile of hay. They seriously enjoyed that hay. If you're planning a birthday party you should probably just get a big pile of hay. They'll be talking about it for years. They'll probably also be picking hay out of their ears and ass cracks for years.
We had ice cream cake, because Skylar will not eat non-ice-cream cake. Some kid decided the time had come to tell us that she was allergic to dairy and was not allowed to have milk, ice cream or cheese. Surely if this was serious her mother would have SAID SOMETHING? Meh, the child was still alive and showing no signs of distress when I handed her over and it became officially not my problem.
We got everyone home and survived the pinata and present unwrapping ceremonies without injury or loss of life and the parents arrived to whisk their sugar filled, hay covered, horsey-smelling daughters home for dinner. Good luck with that.
Basically, it was a great day. Lots of fun, lots of laughs. Almost no tears (except for that poor kid who almost got her head cut off and that's a reasonable excuse) and no mess at all in my house. Nice.
Did I mention Skylar is six? SIX. Not a baby or a toddler or a preschooler or a kindergartner or anything but a full fledged six year old, full time schooling, gymnastics taking, eye-rolling, smart-talking, joke-telling, big-sistering, breakfast-making, book reading, brilliant, awesome kid. Wow.
*sigh* well I almost made it through this post without getting sentimental. Happy Birthday, Goober.