Saturday, May 7, 2011
Boys will be boys
My boy has turned 10, and you’d think that by now I’d understand him a little better. But, the truth is, little boys continue to amaze me.
The older my son gets, the more I realize my husband really can’t help it. Men and boys are different animals. And, apart from the mess, it’s not that bad — particularly when it comes to planning birthday parties.
When my daughters were young, we spent hours planning unique and beautiful ways to celebrate their big day. Every item was coordinated, from the balloons to the cake to the party favors to the menu. For girl parties, all must be perfect, a trend that continues until the big wedding day. In addition, girls want to invite everyone because they don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings. I must say, when my 13-year-old daughter watched the royal wedding and announced she didn’t want that many people at hers, I breathed a big sigh of relief. That was right before I asked her, “Can I have that in writing?”
Back to the boy. No kid should turn 10 without a big celebration, and the girl in me was determined to make this one the best one yet. After much stress (on my part) over where to have it — gymnastic center, park, rock climbing facility, laser tag, bowling alley — we decided home parties were best, especially because all the aforementioned places were booked. (Perhaps, someone had called ahead and warned them.)
We agreed that as long as I had my valium, a spend-the-night party with a small group would work (I’m teasing about the valium, unfortunately).
“What do you want your theme to be?”
He thought for about half a second and replied, “War,” his theme for the past 5 out 10 birthdays.
Armed (pun intended) with my theme, I set off to buy decorations. As I perused aisle after aisle of cute party goods in search of camo plates and napkins, I couldn’t help but think, “Thank heaven I have my girls!”
Finally, I discovered a surprisingly good selection of items — banners, dog tags (a big hit), little parachute men and even party invitations featuring a big Army tank on it. I was so excited that when I ran into a friend, I said, “Look, what I found! Isn’t this great!”
She looked down at the invitations and feigned a smile, “Uh huh.”
It was then I remembered she had two adorable little girls and no boys. No wonder she looked so horrified. I was the same way before I had my son. Guns, even toy ones, scared me so badly. I even ran a boy out of the yard once for having one that was too realistic.
I’ve come a long way. Not only did my son have a full on Nerf war for his birthday, we allowed the boys to shoot paintballs (highly supervised) into a wheelbarrow. In fact, when my husband asked, “Leigh, do you want to shoot?” I replied, “I thought you’d never ask.”
The party ended up being a huge success. I’d like to think it had something to do with the little touches that I made — the camo banners I artfully hung, the strategically-placed green and black balloons, and the cookie cake topped with little green Army men, complete with a soldier holding a shovel next to the indention I had made with my thumb. But, ultimately, I think it had more to do with my ability to stay out of the way, and, on his special day, to let boys be boys.