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Friday, March 04, 2005

Partying with Minors

Strike a Pose!

I should have known, when every last parent who dropped off a kid asked, “How many are you having?” and when I answered , “Nine,” and when they said, eyes wide, “Wow, you’re brave.” I should have known then that it would be a bad scene. It was LG’s birthday, her very first sleepover party. I knew there would be giggling and staying up late. I didn’t know that by 4 a.m. I would cross over to the dark side of motherhood.

A bit of background. At the risk of sounding totally lacking in humility, I throw the best kid parties ever. Every late February, children cry when they must leave our home; children go home and whine, “Why can’t I have a party like LG’s?!” I go overboard; I admit that. Maybe it’s because of years of infertility and many miscarriages, maybe it’s because I don’t remember many birthday parties when I was little, I don’t know. But we surely do celebrate the heck out of the anniversary of the day LG arrived.

First part of the party went great, for the most part. Dinner was pizza, chicken nuggets, veggies. I had carefully taken all nuts in the house (except the human ones) and tucked them way back in the pantry, because I knew one of the guests had a major nut allergy. Thought I was on top of that, but then the little girl asks, just before biting into her nuggets, “Were these fried in peanut oil?” Duh . . .

“They’re from Chik-fil-A; do you know whether you can have them?”

“I don’t know.” Frantic calls to her mom, unreachable, then Jif goes on the website and learns that YES, CHIK-FIL-A FRIES THEIR NUGGETS IN PEANUT OIL!!!! Crisis averted.

Next, games (email me if you need elementary-age girly party games), a fashion show complete with sparkly stage, and self-written silly bio read into the microphone as each supermodel strutted down the runway. Makeup was applied, and glamour photos were taken, printed out and inserted in the 5X7 frames each kid decorated during the mandatory crafts portion of the par-tay.

Getting Ready for the Show

At one point, the lovely and talented Aunt Jen showed up to help Jif and me. She cruise-directed the games while I got the craft/makeup/dining room table ready for cake and ice cream. Aunt Jen is young enough to remember her college days, so she decided to teach the 3rd graders a college-age (read: “drinking”) game. She called it “signs,” I think it’s also called, “thumper.” Anyhow, the girls loved it, but before long Jen calls out to me, “I’ve never seen anyone so good at this game; I have to make it more difficult, they’re not making a single mistake . . .” And I’m all proud mama, thinking to myself, these girls really are very intelligent . . . well, we are a National Blue Ribbon Elementary School . . . Then it hits me. “Hey, Jen! They’re sober!” Aaaah, that explains their brilliance at the drinking game.

After games and a movie, it’s about 1 a.m., and Jif and I are ready for bed. The girls are jammied, teeth brushed, getting into their sleeping bags in the family room. I walk through the obstacle course of little girls handing out pre-moistened makeup removing towelettes. “This tastes AWFUL!” “No baby, you don’t eat it, you wipe your face with it.”

Upstairs, we hear them. No worries. We knew that was coming. And we hear them, and hear them. It’s 2 a.m. Then I hear a sound I can’t identify. We have a lot of fun things for kids to do in our house. I know what they all sound like. What we don’t have in our house is a BOWLING ALLEY. And that’s what I hear. Ohdearlord, they’re BOWLING! I run down the steps, turn the corner just in time to see my angelic LG turn the corner heading the other way, and hear her sweet baby voice yell, “PARENT ALERT!!!!” By the time I get to the family room, they’re in their bags, quietly giggling. “Um, girls, were you … it sounded like you were … bowling …” Giggles turn to guffaws. Silly mom. “OK, then. I don’t mind how late you stay up; I just want you to be quieter. No screaming, and no more doing whatever it was that sounded like bowling. Goodnight, ladies.”

We can get LIFTOFF here if we tie enough balloons to 'im!

As I leave the room, I hear commentary on how cool I am, telling them they can stay up later as long as I can’t hear them. I’m cool. I rock. Back to bed.

3 a.m. I hear them. I have not yet been to sleep. Lying there exhausted in bed beside sleeping Jif, I hear, “Get the nail polish!” Aw, hell no. I go to the top of the steps again. Then I hear motors. They’re small, but I swear they’re MOTORS. Nail polish and whirring motors. This can’t be good. Back downstairs, I learn that LG has nixed the nail polish idea, but sure enough, there are motors running. Little disco ball / strobe light things, battery operated ($9.99 at Target). OK, no harm done. “I just don’t want to HEAR you anymore. I’m ready to go to sleep now.”

3:30 a.m. I nudge Jif awake, give him a recap. “You go down this time,” I say. He goes. I should have known better. He came back a defeated man.

“What did you say?”

“I told them if they don’t go to sleep I’m going to start cooking them breakfast.”

“You threatened them with WAFFLES?!! What did they say?”

“They cheered and said they’re hungry.” Doh! Lightweight.

It gets a little quieter. I start to drift off . . . BANGBANGBANG gigglegigglegiggle. They’re knocking on my door. They run away, I get up, and THIS TIME IT’S PERSONAL. It’s 4 a.m.

“Who knocked on my door?”

“I did,” says the allergic one, now emboldened by sugar and sleep deprivation.

“What did you need?”

“We’re scared.” Then a chorus of “Yea, SCARED TO DEATH!”

“All right,” my voice would freeze Pop-Ice instantly. “Since you are scared, I will stay down here with you.”

The chorus again: no, we’re not scared anymore, we don’t need that, we’ll be OK, you need your sleep . . .

I curl up in a chair and begin to fantasize about duct tape. Lots and lots of duct tape. Most of the evil-doers are silenced (well, almost) by my eery calm, but a couple continue to be loud and giggly. The NERVE. Then my own sleep deprivation, exhaustion, righteous indignation kicks in.

I begin to channel Dirty Harry (Dirty Harriet?): Do you feel lucky, Punks? Go ahead. Make my day.

And then I morph into the drill sergeant character played by Lou Gossett, Jr., in An Officer and a Gentleman: Some of you LOSERS have never been to my house before. Some of you will never be invited back here again! Are you eyeballing me?! Don’t you eyeball me, girl!!

OK, I didn’t actually say any of that, but I DID confiscate a flashlight. And I did give each and every one of them their own, individual, personalized DIRTY LOOK before I very dramatically rose and strode (yes, rose and strode; I told you it was dramatic) from the room in my floor-length, black velvet robe with faux leopard print shawl collar (think Joan Crawford). And even though they couldn’t actually SEE the dirty looks, because it was pitch dark in the family room, I think they felt them. And I really did confiscate a flashlight.

got duct tape?

22 heads are better than one . . .

Blogger LadyBug said...

That is hilarious. And I could totally use some girly party-game ideas.

My oldest just turned 8 in January. She had a karaoke party. Her (awesome) daddy built a little stage, complete with lights and cheetah-print curtains and trim. (Does LG like The Cheetah Girls? My girls sing those songs ALL THE DAMN TIME.)

Anyway. You are such a cool mom. The Drama Queen (the 8-yr-old) has already been to a couple of big sleepovers like the one you described, and returned with stories of pranks (messy, messy pranks) and staying up all night. IF she has a sleepover for her next birthday, she MIGHT get to invite 2 or 3 friends. If we tried 9, SOMEONE would surely perish.

Blogger LadyBug said...

Oh, I almost forgot. I can't see the pictures! I can still see the one of LG and Biscuit, but I can't see any from this post. But maybe it's just me?

Blogger Tania said...

This was one of the best posts I have ever read, it is so the way it was having sleepovers although in my house all it took was a father simply stating my name in a deep undertone of a voice and I myself would tell everyone to be quiet...I loved the Joan Crawford reference whenever my mother felt under appreciated I was told to read "mommy dearest" always did the trick..

Anonymous Anonymous said...

You don't think Leta is going to be one dismal little girl on your couch some day—saying, "gawd my mother just couldn't shut up-blogged about every darn thing. She snapped tons of pictures, any time my mother just couldn't be alone with me inside her head—had to share it all-- and told the world about it. I couldn't grow up without an audience--not cool."

I see you don't really expose your daughter all that much to those on the net but yet you actually come up with that dim-witted comment about scrapbooks to PC? Extremely duplicitous don't you think?

You might want to suggest John Bradshaw's book to Heather now, because Leta's going to need them. Dr. Lerner's books will be of some aid as well, because it's palpable Heathers own estranged relationship with her father plays a large role in whom she is. That and the fact that she dwells on the fact over and over again that Jon chose to marry someone before her and that she is the second wife--her acrimony is as clear as day. Don't you think, it would be wonderful if you could stop pain that she's come from for once from beinging transfered to her offspring? Use that education for something above and beyond leaving snarky comments.

Blogger Susie said...

Hi, Ladybug! Sounds like you're no slouch in the over-the-top kid party yourself! That stage sounds WAY cool. Yea, there are pix here, and techno-dunce that I am, I can't begin to guess why you can't see them, or whether it's to be fixed from my end or yours. I'll ask others if they can see, and try to get that worked out. I'll email you with some games later.

Tania, thank you so much. As you can see, I'm a brand new blogger and so appreciate the encouragement. So nice to wake up to such a kind comment this morning.

Anon, you seem to have genuine concern for Heather's family. I know from lots of experience that it can be frustrating to care so much about someone, and to feel so strongly that they're making big mistakes, yet not have the power to do anything at all about it. When I feel that way about someone, the best thing (the only thing) I've found to do is to make sure I pray for them.

Blogger Dang Cold.. said...

Susie that was hilarious! You are a cool mom indeed. I didn't do sleep overs as a kid and wasn't allowed to go to them. Sounds like you showed them an awesome time just like you knew you would. As for the girl with a peanut allergy? Man that was a close one. I'm told that allergic reactions like that one can be VERY bad. Also, we can't see your pics. DOH!!


Blogger Susie said...

Thanks, dc. I was so proud o' my techno-dunce self for figuring out how to insert the html codes to import my pix, and I promise, they're great, but apparently I'm the only one seeing them. Doh!, indeed!!!! Back to the drawing board. Actually, back to staring at Bloggerhelp and whimpering, with finger hovering near the "delete blog" button in frustration!

Anonymous kalki said...

Susie, HILARIOUS entry! And once again, I'm very impressed with how you return criticism with kindness. Personally, I think you not only use your education in your thoughtful responses, but you also are just a genuinely super person. And everyone knows sometimes humor is the best way to alleviate tension - I thought your scrapbook comment was strategic, not dim-witted. For what it's worth.

Oh, and I can see your pics just fine...

Blogger Dang Cold.. said...

Susie I can see your pics wonderfully now. They look mah-velous!!

I actually didn't read 'anon's' comment until just now. Gee whiz I'm so sorry that you got trolled THIS soon. Consider it a right of passage :P. Keep blogging you write beautifully.


Blogger Susie said...

It's worth a lot. My faith tells me to return kindness for unkindness, but that's not always easy (like, uh, never!). It means a great deal to have my attempts at doing so acknowledged. Thank you for the kind things you've said to me, here and at dooce.com. I must say, I think you "get" me, because I really was going for "strategic" as opposed to "dim-witted!" Laughter is indeed good medicine.

Blogger Susie said...

dang cold, welcome back! You can't imagine how much I appreciate your encouragement. Big hug to you. I'm glad my photos are showing up. If someone who actually knows how to do such things saw the machinations I went thru to get them in the text, they'd freak! It wasn't pretty.

Blogger LadyBug said...

Oooh, I see the pics now! Fabulous, dahling!

Susie, you were very kind to anon (whom I suspect probably is "PC" from the dooce comments). And God bless you for that. I probably would've just deleted the comment, without even a reply.

Yes, the karaoke party was such fun for the girls, and the stage was hubby's idea....just some wooden pallets with plywood nailed on top, all painted and trimmed in cheetah-print fabric, then topped with a cheetah-print curtain and edged in white (large-bulb) Christmas lights. It looked great.

Blogger panthergirl said...

Hi Susie! Thanks for stopping by my blog! This post was hilarious...but Jif made one major error. You see, when he went downstairs he needed to say "If you don't go to sleep I'm going to cook YOU for breakfast..."


Blogger Susie said...

See, panthergirl, we live and learn; that's the kind of thing that we'll know for NEXT time -- not that there will be a next time . . .

Blogger Bucky Four-Eyes said...

Aw, Susie, trolled already? You got it even faster than I did!
Welcome to the Been-Blog-Trolled club!

Also, love the post. You really need to explore your inner Joan Crawford more often (and write all about it, of course).

Blogger Susie said...

Bucky! Glad you stopped in. Did you notice, in the first photo in the post, the "cartoon" one, to the right is a little dollhouse on a table? THAT is the very bed and breakfast where Gumby and Pokey went for their recent getaway! Small world, ain't it?

Blogger Circus Kelli said...


Ha! That has got to be the most fantastic kid's party ever! You *are* that cool mom that all of us other moms claim to not like, but secretly wish we could be more like... except me. I'm wishing out loud I could be more like you. I would have broken out the Dirty Harriet WAAAAYYY earlier...

Heh, even *I* want to have a slumber party at your house. (and I mean that in a strictly platonic kinda way, you understand...) :)

Blogger Susie said...

CK, thanks! The party was only funny to me after I'd had some sleep, I really would've used the duct tape if I'd had it! I'll invite you to the next one! (Except I've already said, "never again . . . "):)

Anonymous giggles said...

I've noticed how nice you have been in your commenting on dooce.com and already thought that you were a very cool person. I followed a link to your blog because someone in Heather's comments mentioned your dog and I was very impressed with your writing style and details. After reading your response to Anonymous's comment, you have my respect and admiration for what I have seen in how you deal with negative aspects in life - and positive. Kudos to you. I wish there were more people like you in this world. May God bless me in my attempts to be better.

Have a wonderful day and I hope to read more excellent comments on dooce.com and posts on your site!


Blogger Susie said...

giggles, how sweet you are to take time to come over and say nice things to a stranger. I wish there were more people like you who would do things like that! Come back and visit again.

Blogger Mamaramma said...

what a wonderful post. I'm sort of going backwards in time as I read your blog. I would have loved to have gone to one of your daughter's slumber parties when I was little. Now I've got some great ideas for my daughter's when she's old enough. Love your blog!

Blogger butterstar said...

I know this comment is way late, but this is the first time I've gotten over here. Your blog is very entertaining and your daughter is definitely YOUR daughter, hee! Please keep writing; I look forward to more.

That troll needs some help. How bizarre to comment on someone's blog entry about something completely unrelated that said blogger posted on another site. Weird.

I'd pray for him. Ya' know, if I prayed 'n' stuff.


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