Last weekend the girls and I attended a birthday party for my brother's wife's sister's daughter. I can imagine the look on your faces--it's the same look my coworkers gave me on monday when they asked me what my kids were up to over the weekend. It does sound strange when I spell out our relationship to the birthday girl, though it doesn't really seem strange to me otherwise. Our family sees their family now and again for the past 3 years or so, though it's been a while since the kids have seen each other.
Questions from my girls, as we were shopping for her present:
"WHOSE party is this?"
"Have we been to her house before?"
"Was I there?"
It feels strange to have to sell your kid on a party, "Yes, you like Kiana, she's nice, you had a lot of fun together!" Kate is especially good at giving me the "I ain't buying any of this. I bet you really plan to take us to take us to get shots or something" look.
Erin quizzed me more in the car:
"How many times have I been to their house?"
"When is the last time I was there?"
"Has she come to our house?"
"What are her parents' names?"
When we arrived at the house and my brother and his little dog greeted us at the door they finally saw that this WAS going to be fun after all.
Outside, my brother got the bounce house going, which ended up being one of the most entertaining features of the day, I thought.
The generators outside would keep the fans going and the house inflated for a while, but, overloaded by the home's air conditioning etc., the circuit breaker kept flipping off and as soon as the fans would stop the bounce house started caving in immediately. The kids all laughted and screamed at the top of their lungs and they pushed at it and each other in order to make it to the exit, while parents tried to hold of the structure as much as they could and yelled, "Everyone get out! Get out now! Hurry up!" After less than a minute, it was flat again.
My brother and Kiana's father spent most of the party experimenting with alternative places to keep the thing plugged in while turning off various other things in the house and pool in order to create a balance that would work. And so the cycle repeated: bounce, fun, laugh...scream, run, collapse.
While Brad worked on the ongoing electrical difficulties, and with all the kids getting bored with the on again/off again bounce house and complaining about how hot it was, Kiana's dad got out the garden hose and started spraying everyone. This was far easier and more popular than the bounce house ever was.
Other kids sat in the shade and splashed their feet in the pool.
Then a magician came to entertain the kids in the house. He asked for a few assistants to help him in the show and Erin volunteered.
He did the trick with her where he pulled silver dollars out from behind her ears and from her hair and under her arms and so forth, and each time he'd drop the coins in his metal can for a loud clink which was met with modest approval. But, as a truly experienced entertainer of elementary school-aged kids, he had her turn around and he held his canister at her backside and "found" coins in her bottom, which riveted the canister with a series of loud plinks and plops. This, of course, was met with the most overwhelmingly enthusiastic laughter and applause possible.