Saturday, July 21, 2007

AFTER: report on the party

Adam had written down all the games, in order -- including who would be the captain ("capton") of each team. We did everything he listed, which was everything I listed in my last post except the apple

-water gun fight

-tug of war

-three legged race

Before the party, Adam and I filled 30 balloons with water: Adam's laughing and squeals of excitement over this were my favorite parts of the party. We saved all the balloons for the party, and playing dodgeball with them was the one thing everyone did: they threw all 30 balloons at once until they smashed, which took a surprisingly long time, even though people threw hard.

ALMOST everyone joined in the water fight (here is someone refilling his gun)
and played on the Slip and Slide: a flat rubber slide attached to a hose with a cushion at the end of it. When the hose is on, one side is like a sprinkler and the slide gets very slippery; you run up to it, dive on, then slip and slide to the big puddle that collects at the cushioned end. Everyone but one child played this.

This child didn't join in any games; he spent most of the party wandering around happily by himself, sometimes petting the dog for extended periods. Once I heard him calling: "Here, Henry! Come to Uncle Issac!"

Competition over every event was intense: even going on the Slip and Slide was rated (by how high your splashes went). I heard one boy say :
"Don't get onto the porch with the steps! Steps are for wimps." The approved way was to climb up the trellis.

I was surprised that people cried -- quite often -- and so was Adam's mother. When one boy cried, the others just went on with whatever they were doing. Tears were occasioned by:
* a dispute over an out in baseball
* someone getting hit in the ear (hard) with a water balloon, someone else getting slammed by a body on the Slip & Slide
* someone dropping the paper bag he'd put his pinyata candies in -- the candies spilled all over and the other kids grabbed them. He was heartbroken! This was distressing. I didn't see it happen, but did run around asking the other kids to give him some candy, or trade it for Tootsie Rolls (he didn't like Tootsie Rolls); three people did.

The cake had baseball players on it (Adam had told me about these and his wishes regarding them last week). The boys all reached for them when the cake appeared; Adam argued fiercely and successfully that it was HIS birthday and HIS cake, and no one was taking the players home. He removed them from the cake for safe-keeping. He got the first piece and requested the word "Happy." One younger boy, who worships Adam, said he wanted the word "Adam" on his piece....they all knew exactly which part of the cake they wanted: the corner that said Boston Red Sox, a ball, a base, the grass...

One child said, smiling, that "any piece" would be fine. Adam's mother seemed grateful. Only one child said "Please" -- but he said it throughout the party whenever he asked for anything -- he was the youngest child at the party (six) and Korean, adopted from an orphanage there when he was one. When people were leaving, most - prompted by their parents - thanked Adam's mother.

After the party, I asked Adam about it, and he said he liked it a lot but wished it had gone on longer:
"Sam's party lasted from one to six -- FIVE HOURS!"

I wish I had pictures to show you! My batteries ran out before I got any good ones. But everyone moved so continually and so fast that my camera was way too slow anyway.


JenFW said...

Wow. I gotta say, the tears, the choosing of specific pieces of cake, the grabbing of the cake toys, and the pilfering of another boy's pinata haul are not what I would have expected. What interesting research!

Thanks for sharing.

Meghan McCarthy said...

Ugh. This is why I don't like gatherings of kids. I know I'm a kids' author and all but the crying and fighting would drive me nuts! I don't have the patience.

Actually, as a camp counselor I dealt with that kind of stuff a lot. After a while I guess you learn to ignore it.


Libby Koponen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unknown said...

Sounds like a blast, really. Kids are so much fun and tears and greed are always a part of that. The great part, like you did, was concentrate on the positive. You've given me great ideas. My nephews and nieces (5) are coming to spend the week with us in August. My husband and I haven't been able to have children and I decided I could go with the flow and not plan anything (yeah, that didn't work last time) or plan something for every day. Guess which way I'm going? Thanks for blogging on this!