Today I went to my friend's house for her son's fourth birthday party. It was an experience. My son had a great time, and I had to bite my tongue about dirt and boyish rough behavior. This is not an easy thing for me to do. I usually am the one ensuring my children stay clean and safe, while my husband lets them run and get dirty. I usually have to leave the area. I didn't have that luxury today as I was the only one home to take my son to the birthday party.
James had a great time climbing the backyard fort with a slide that runs right into the path of a tire swing. Twice he slid down only to be knocked in the head by swinging party goers. Unfazed by the possible concussion he may have just received, James proceeded to climb a tree that later he couldn't get out of.
By the time the hot dogs were ready for the kids to eat (and superb steaks for us grown folk,) you couldn't tell where James began and the dirt ended. Nonetheless, he reached for a hot dog and devoured it (sans bun) and quickly ran off for more fun in the sun. (Did I tell you that the 90-something degree weather felt like a hundred with the humidity?)
Shortly after the dinner had been cleaned up, My friend brought out cake, cones and ice cream. (ICE CREAM!) I know that ice cream is par for the course when it comes to birthday parties, but remember it is 90-something degrees outside. Now James is quite the mess, but he wants his cake and ice cream cone just like the rest of the children, and who am I to deny him what everyone else is having? My friend is kind enough to cut him a very small piece to help me out, and her sister-in-law graciously gave James a small scoop of ice cream on his cone.
It is at this time that I realized that I have been up since 4:30 a.m. (another story for another time,) and I am the one who is very cranky. I am envisioning making a quick exit when James is done. I have come to the conclusion, however, that my son is the world's slowest ice cream eater. I watched him as he is enjoying his dessert, not caring that it is slowly becoming mixed with the dirt on his hands and face or that his mommy is a little crazy. Instead he carefully licks the ice cream from the cone while I quickly spoon cake into him - secretly plotting how his cone could "accidentally" end up in the dirt.
Fortunately, he announced, "I'm done." The relief that came over my face couldn't be more apparent, but I am not ashamed to admit when I am at the end of my rope. I told my friend I had to leave, and she removed James from the fort and carried him to the gate so I could make my escape before the pièce de résistance, the traditional whacking of the piñata. Who can resist watching 4 and 5 year olds swinging an old broomstick at a crepe paper covered model of Thomas the Tank Engine?
Poor Thomas - he never saw it coming. And neither did James because at the exact moment of the piñata's demise, he was safely buckled in his booster seat, and we were winding our way home for a much needed bath for James and well deserved rest for Mommy.
PS - Thanks RJA for being an understanding hostess and knowing that I am completely neurotic and loving me anyway.