Saturday, March 24, 2012

Birthday the RAIN?

It's the middle son's birthday today. He is eight. And planning his party has been so traumatic...for me..  Poor kid hasn't really had a big birthday party...seems like the oldest had big parties from ages one through nine. (opting for a small slumber party last year that caused me to cower in the backyard with an adult beverage.) The kids were so obnoxious that my husband refused to come in the house...he was ready to put them in the car and drive them home...slowing down just enough to let them out in front of their houses!  But I digress...

So this year I thought I would do it up BIG for our poor little middle child. "Invite everyone in your class," I said, feeling magnanimous. "You can even invite the neighbor kids and other kids at school..."...The guest list hit 30 and I didn't flinch. We decided on the big park not far from our house. "Genius!" my husband called me. Park rental: $59.00...LEGO party invitations, complete with a mini figure for the goody bags plus thank you cards...$20 for 10 (x3). that cost me $60. Still...I was looking for the least amount of work for me, with the least cost.

I checked the weather forecast...March can be iffy, where weather is concerned. The almanac assured me that we would have a sunny day with 73'F weather. Good enough for me! Invitations went out and the responses started coming in. I was so excited for our boy. He was going to have a big party with all his friends. What better place than the park? They can run, climb on the structures, climb the rock wall...hit the picnic tables where I and the other parents would be sitting...chatting and laughing...watching our little darlings. I would have snacks and drinks for all would be so perfect!

The husband and I watched the extended weather reports every day. One week before the party and the weather forecast remained favorable. And then it happened! What's this? "Chance of rain?" Oh..just 25% chance...that's nothing.  The next day...50% chance of rain. I could feel the slight tinge of worry...but it was OK...I still had 6 days... Every day the report changed..finally vacillating between 70% chance and 30% chance. Other parents and friends started to join in on the weather watch. One was doing the "reverse" Indian Rain Dance...another was singing the rain away. At pick up time at school, they would tell me the chance of rain...all of us pulling for a sunny day!

By Thursday, just three days before the party, the forecast showed heavy rain on Saturday (day before party). "We can't have the party at the park, if it rains all day Saturday," I told my husband. "Sure we can," he said in a positive voice. "No, all the equipment will be wet," I lamented. "No it won't....because I will be there Sunday morning drying everything with towels!" He wasn't kidding. I could see him calculating how many towels it would take and if I would notice all the beach towels missing....He even said he would rake the sand to get the water to drain...(this is a desperate man...)

Having 20-30 kids in our house plus 20 the not an option. I can barely stand my three kids and the dog in this house...they get so loud! And there isn't room to put that many stress levels were high as we watched and waited on the weather. I started looking into options...Bounce house place, bowling alley, fitness centers...all were either so expensive for a big group like ours...or 30 minutes away. I didn't want to make our guests drive...and was looking for the most cost-effective plan. (which would be the PARK!) After looking at the prices, my husband said, "you know...I've been walking around the house and I think we can have it here...I will block off a few rooms, put another TV in the playroom and 12 kids can play video games!!"  He looked so proud, having just come up with a solution. I could feel my hands acting independently of my body as they reached up to grasp his neck in a choke hold...

I thought about all the CLEANING, shoving stuff into bags and throwing them into the garage and then having to come up with GAMES and prizes and food. "NOOOO!" I quickly dissuaded him from that idea, ticking off a list of ALL the things that would need to be accomplished (having the carpets cleaned, hand washing the walls, the cabinets, hanging all the pictures that I have neglected to do, cleaning the kids' would be nice to see the floor in our daughter's room) and the cost of food, games, drinks, prizes, etc. would equal the cost of going somewhere else. House was off-limits!

By Friday, all the of Saturday's Little League opening day festivities were cancelled due to the impending rain. The forecast showed 100% chance of rain for Sunday and we were running out of time and options. The local skating rink seemed the best idea...My husband asked me to try and convince our young son to postpone the party. "Bribe him with Legos!" he exclaimed. I knew it wouldn't work. Last year, we had his birthday party on April 18th...almost a month after his birthday...I didn't remember that...but HE sure did! He's been talking about it for months..."I don't want my party in you did LAST year!" he would tell me, "My birthday is in MARCH!" in the world does that kid remember that? I didn't remember the exact date! I am pretty sure he has a photographic memory...he's still mad at me for the time when he was 3 and I reached out for him as he ran by and accidentally tore his shirt..."Remember when you ripped my shirt? That was my FAVORITE shirt!" I'm sure he will need years of therapy over that one...

With the confirmed guest list at 22 and two days to spare, we booked the local skating rink. The cost is greater, but the stress level is low...all we do is show up with our goody bags and cake! And money...

The kid has had a great birthday so far....breakfast in bed...Don't be was a donut. The Legos and video games he ice cream cake (his favorite) and dinner at his favorite burger know the place with the 800 calorie burgers! (great...) The big rain storm has not appeared. It BETTER rain tomorrow...but of course it won' would only rain if I booked the park and was set up out there. Now that we are going to be will be sunny...I know it. My husband knows it. That is the way it goes for shine all you want, sun...I don't care...what's done is done...I'm going to enjoy the skating rink...we'll try the park for the next party...a summer party...and hope that it isn't 100 degrees out...


  1. Have just found your blog after googling summer kids parties and this did make me chuckle. My little boys birthday is in july and he wants a 'sports day party'. I'd like to think we can expect sunshine, however I live in England and I'm already forming a back up plan:-)

  2. Ah, yes, the ever-increasing chance of rain. I just found your post as I sit here less than 12 hours before my 6 year old son's birthday party that is, of course, outdoors. For TEN days, the forecast was no more than 20%, but usually less and even 0%. Today, all of a sudden it's 40% and raining all night. We have a moonwalk coming. And making and ordered tons of food. Last year we had the exact same party for him and it was perfect. It was unseasonably cool and dry and wonderful. This is payback, I'm sure. Now I'm frantically looking for a Plan B, should the heavens open up tomorrow or our yard is complete mush. We have between 22 and 30 guests!!! Freak-ING OUT!

  3. This is happening to me. Right now. Our forecast shows a 60% chance of thunderstorms for Sunday, July 3rd, the day of my 2-year-old's party. This is the first party I have planned that will have actually been a good b-day party! My 5-year-old daughter has helped me plan everything, and I don't want her to be upset if it rains on the party. Now what the heck am I going to do? We've only got 5 days until the party, and I have between 18-24 guests. I'm spazzing.

  4. Found this because my second child has a birthday at the end of February. And of course he LOVES the outdoors, so is begging me for a park party. My wallet would love to comply. My heart would love to comply. My brain is reminding me of the first time we tried an outdoor party for him where we were literally sitting in the van 40 minutes before the party waiting to see if the pouring rain would stop (it should have stopped 4 hours earlier). We wound up moving the party to the other end of the local preserve where it wasn't raining. Then there was the second time we tried it. This time I was smart. I reserved a HUGE gazebo at our local park that had enough room and tables to not only seat 60 people, but enough space between the tables to set up party games. Even the theme would go with the rain: Jungles & Monkeys. Guess what? It POURED. No big deal, I had the gazebo & had told my guests about it and that the party would continue rain or shine. Only two families bothered showing up after an entire month of prep and 10 positive RSVPs not to mention the other 15 who couldn't be bothered to reply (Lesson: never invite the whole class if you actually need a headcount). I have not done an outdoor party for this child since. But as I said, he is begging. So I'm looking for a plan b in advance this time. Something indoors. That hopefully doesn't cost me an arm and a leg. Problem is, part of the reason he wants the park party is that he wants to invite a huge number of kids. Too many to fit in our house (I hear you on the noise level!!!) and the cost of moving all those kids to an indoor facility is crazy. I could swing some of these places if we weren't inviting so many but ... *sigh* I better get back to googling.