Ryland’s Birthday Party
That’s what Ryland said when I asked him if he liked his new Grade 2 teacher, who just came back from Australia through the Teacher Exchange Program. I met Miss S before. She was Ryan’s Grade 2 teacher as well, and she didn’t seem bossy to me. I have also met Ryland’s classmates. He invited some of the boys last year at his 7th birthday party. And I’ve seen their behaviour – typical six- and seven-year old boys. I can understand why Ryland would see Miss S as bossy.
I wondered if that was how I came across Ryland’s friends as I watched the videotape of his 8th birthday party, which we celebrated last week. I noticed that my voice overpowered those of 11 seven- and eight-year olds. I had to speak my loudest in order to be heard by our little guests who were constantly talking.
After our experience last year, you’d think that I would have known better. But hey, it’s been a year. I have a very short long-term memory. I forgot.
He invited eight classmates last year. I should have cut down that number, but no. I couldn’t say no when he said that he wanted to invite 11 this time.
The parents started bringing the kids at around 1:00 p.m.
One dad said, “Is it really three hours long?”
“Yeah, it ends at 4:00 p.m.”
He must be thinking, Goodluck. Three hours with 11 rambunctious kids.
Another dad said, “Have fun!”
Oh yeah. I’m gonna have fun. If your definition of fun is trying to entertain and control 11 seven- and eight-year olds, nine boys and 2 girls.
After they ate, they wanted to go upstairs. “No, we won’t go in the bedrooms.” Ryland didn’t want them there because last year, they made a big mess and he wasn’t too happy about it.
They went downstairs in the basement but my husband sent them back upstairs after a few minutes. He said they were pushing and shoving and he was scared of what would happen to his stereo and speakers.
So that meant no Playstation games. I entertained them with board games. But they got bored too soon. Just before 2:00 p.m., I asked them if they wanted to watch Pokemon. Yes was the unanimous answer.
“We will watch downstairs but I want everybody to behave. Rule number 1, feet off the couch. Rule number 2, no pushing. Rule number 3, no running or jumping.”
So, for about half an hour, there was peace and quiet in the house.
Then it was time for cake. One boy kept dipping his finger in the cake.
Ancie said, “Mitchell, quit it.”
“Okay, everybody, look at the camera. Brody, Brody, look here. Okay guys, evvvvrybooody look heeeeere.” That last sentence was said in a very demanding voice.
“Guys, one more. Look at the camera.”
They loved the ice cream cake.
And then, it was piñata time.
“Guys, move back. Staaaay back.”
When the piñata broke, they scattered around to pick up the candies on the floor. I quickly picked up Mitchell before he got crushed by the bigger kids.
Last year, we had a petty theft during the piñata. So, I got smarter this time. I asked them to put all the candies in a bowl and we sorted it after wards. Everybody would get a fair share.
“Get one of each kind. Put them before you.”
“Guys, be nice.”
“Guys, one of each kind.”
“No, this is the same kind. You’re supposed to get only five candies. If you have more than five, that’s not right.”
Then I gave each one of them a goody bag with some more treats in it.
“Can we go upstairs now?”
My voice was a lot calmer when Ryland opened his presents. He let his friends play with some of his newly acquired toys while waiting for their parents.
Each one of the kids thanked Ryland before they left. One mom asked her son if he had a good time. He said yes. I think they really did have a good time. And I don’t really think that they found me bossy.
I always ask myself why go through with this every year, every kid’s birthday. I think always knew the answer all along. It’s the smile on my child’s face after every party. If they’re happy, then I’m also happy.