The Just A Little Different Birthday Party
How to make a children's birthday party "a little different!"....
With 16 grandchildren (and no GGC, yet), just keeping track of "Who's next?" is a challenge, but the most recent birthday party set some new standards worth sharing.
The party takes place at the home of the only granchildren living within driving distance. Oh, sure you can drive as far as you want and fly the rest of the way, but these kiddos are only 20 miles away as contrasted with two that are 2,300 miles away. You get the idea.
Meh Thao (Grammy in Laotian) and I took one wrapped present (of multiple parts, as you will discover) and added ours to a really sizable box filled with wrapped presents which turned out to be presents from this "firstborn" grandson's siblings, the youngest being just, almost, kinda three years old.
Excitement reigned supreme, and no little part of the excitement derived from that sizable box of wrapped gifts, to which ours just topped it off.
I was amazed to think that grandson Zach (the "King For The Day") had more gifts in that box than most children could expect to see even as their share under a Christmas tree!
What had happened to create his stack of goodies was the joyous inventiveness of his Mom (our daughter Cathy) who had told each of the other children to "go around the house and find anything silly you want to give Zach for his birthday, and I'll help you wrap it!"
"Silly" was the operative word, and the key to the reigning excitement. Each child was waiting to see big brother "The King" open their "silly" gift, and silly they were! I don't need to recount them, more than to say they were not items to play with or to treasure. But that was what made them so much fun to open: they were just plain "silly" like the largest "present" which was the cracked top of one of those storage tubs that have snap-on lids and hide a myriad of out-of-sight items.
And all four of the siblings, as well as Mom, Dad, the other Grandmother, Meh Thao, and Po Thao (my title in Laotian) laughed at the sillyness, including "The King" as he opened each new gift of laughter.
Our gift was more serious, but nonetheless fun. With five grandchlldren , and no outside guest children for this family-only portion of the day's festivities, and with "The King" celebrating his advanced age of nine, we had chosen to give six plastic,compressed air revolvers which fire soft foam darts (three to a load), and a separate box containing an inflatable punching figure.
Those choices meant that each of the grandchildren, and their Mom, could be allowed (by "The King") to have a revolver and participate in the "after the cake and ice cream" fun, and Mom's revolver meant there was a spare, if "The King" should happen to break his own. And, when the shooting matches died down, and the darts had all been recovered from behind the couch, etc., there was always time for a turn at the punching bag.
Both types of gifts were well-received, and the total cost of that big box of gifts was the cost of the wrapping paper, and $20 plus tax for the more normal shoot-'em-up and punch-'em-out gifts which had every appearance of durability.
It should be added that Zach's Mom and Dad gave him a nice Art Set of artist's paper and drawing/painting supplies, while Zach's other Grandmother also gave him a well-received gift.
So far the largest gaggle of kiddos in one of our children's families is a total of six. On a future spring or summer day, when all 16 (+?) might get together for a birthday/reunion party where the oldest two are in middle school, there's likely to be a lot of sillyness going on! The biggest expense, however, is likely to be for the food....not for the fun.
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