Headlines from First Thoughts

Tuesday, May 16, 2006


We have been invaded for the second year in a row. Last year hundreds of sports-crazed 4-year-olds descended on Shiell plantation for karate and a few other athletic events. This year 1,700 5-year-old cowboys saddled up their SUV’s and rode in for Parker’s Wild West Rodeo Birthday Party.

We’ve been planning for months. We purchased enough bales of straw to feed the Pony Express, ice cream for a stampede, and snacks for an outpost. We had to make some difficult decisions this year. First, no girls were invited. We stayed with the cowBOY theme. Secondly, we could only ask 18 friends. It’s tough being a 5 year old with so few buddies. We had to leave off several others whom we wanted to ask. Unfortunately, some had daycare or other obligations. Third, we moved the party to a Friday instead of Saturday. We sacrificed any hope of another dad appearing for any length of time. The only one that came dropped off his son and said, “Is it ok if I run some errands?” So the Mom Patrol and I supervised the roundup.

We had the usual fare for birthday parties: cupcakes, candles, goodie bags, waterguns. Then we added Kelly’s unique touch of flair: mason jars, cowboy plates, coke floats, cheeto trail mix. Everything was, of course, “so cute.” But the best part had to be the stick horse relay. Five year olds do not understand a relay race; they think everyone is supposed to be a winner. Each waited for the other other to mount his horsey, ran together circling a tub, whipped his horse, and ran back making sure his partner made it safely. Only one horse bucked its rider. A quick cup of Kool-Aid took care of that bruise.

By the time the bales of straw had been demolished, the presents opened, and the cupcakes eaten, we were ready to send everyone home. And if you need any straw for your next event, my back yard still has plenty to spare.

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