Ray's birthday.

Ray's birthday was on Friday the 17th. We ordered pizza (she picked Italian ham, pepperoni, and pineapple), opened presents, played World of Warcraft together, and played a good bit of a round of Pet Shop Monopoly. The joys of turning seven in a geek-positive house.

Sunday the 19th was her birthday party, with kids from school.* We had six kids show up, one more and two fewer than RSVP'd. After massive bouts of yard-cleaning and house-cleaning over the last few weeks, we were pretty much prepared, or so I thought.

Seven-year-old kids are fun, but they will break you if you're not ready. We were ready for Two Hours of Fun.

We painted pumpkins (my idea). This did not take as much time as I hoped.

We didn't do the science experiment I wanted, because the very cool idea turned out to be a hoax. I won't go into it now, but it saddens me that someone put so much work into breaking people's hearts.

So instead we had a treasure hunt (Lee's idea). Lee likes riddles and is very good at writing them (including the rhymes). The kids really enjoyed it, and Ray was so impressed she had to go through the treasure hunt all over again after everyone left. The treasure was a flower-shaped pinata. After the first round, we'd knocked it onto the ground but not burst it to bits, so the kids took turns beating the heck out of it without a blindfold, and eventually everyone scored some major candy and Halloween toylets**.

The presents were apparently the bee's knees, i.e., a bunch of plastic stuff which is, by now, 1) broken, 2) lost, 3) inconveniently scattered, 4) pink. C'est la vie.

Then it was time for ice cream cake, by which I mean, it was time for two bites of ice cream cake before the realization of how much sugar has been eaten hits even the staunchest of first-grader stomachs. Oh, well. I ate my piece all gone, so there.

And...twenty minutes left before parents came to pick everyone up. After a few shrieking laps through the house, I managed to get most of the girls outside for a game of tag. Ray proudly demonstrated her l33t WoW skillz to the remaining boy. I discovered I can still run faster than a group of six- and seven-year olds! Woot! --Of course, my knees hurt like hell the next day, but whatever.

I had to laugh when the parents came to pick their kids up. Inevitably, they were stern. "Were you good?" The kid would mumble, and the parent would look at me. "Was ___ good?" "Yes," I said. "They were all pretty good, for a gaggle of first graders." And then the parent would frown at me, because I was obviously lying. Then they would apologize for their kids.

I'd never do that.***

To sum up:
7 kids, including Ray (1 annoying, but admittedly cute, very short girl who couldn't do anything by herself or at less than one million decibels)
2 hours
1 pinata
Several pounds of sugar, chocolate, etc.
1 green stain on the floor
5 leftover pumpkins
Several "best birthday ever!" hugs

Totally worth it.

*I was inordinately stressed out about this. Really panicked. I can handle a dinner party for adults. I can handle a house full of kids that I know. The whole sugar-fest thing for a bunch of strangers with the attention span of ants worried me. I feel better now.

**As in stuff you pass out at Halloween if you don't believe in sugar. Damn those sugar atheists!