Ane’s Birthday, part 2

Welcome to Pump It Up!! Home of large inflatable toys for children and adults to climb on! And, for a small fortune, you can invite 25 of your closest friends for a party!

Well, not a small fortune, but not cheap. But are these things EVER cheap??

This was the first year that Ane was allowed to have a “friends” party, and I probably would have waited another year, but for a few mitigating factors:
1) The party on her birthday is for family/close friends only. Since I have a fairly large extended family locally, the amount of foot traffic coming into our house (in the winter, where you can’t send any child outside to play) has to be somewhat limited. I was also raised with having a “family” party and then a “friends” party – which was more fun, I always thought.
2) The Brain and Head, who usually do come to her family party, were out-of-town over Christmas this year. They have been in years past as well, but now that the kids are getting older, they want to actually do things together, and Ane didn’t like the idea of leaving them out.
3) She now has friends beyond church and the Group o’ Friends children, and after one of the school friends had a birthday party and invited the whole class, Ane couldn’t wait to do the same.
4) Her friends Gracie and L. (church friends) won’t be around for her birthday next year. While I could’ve invited just Gracie to a smaller, girls-only party, it is L. who she is actually in Sunday school and Cubbies with. Their parents (our current youth pastor and his wife) and they are moving to India later this year to be missionaries there, and Ane is already saying how much she will miss them. So how could I not include them?

Anyway, a classic party allows you to invite 25 children, not including the birthday child. We had 23 come (some siblings of invited guests when others weren’t able to make it, but hey, why not? They don’t give you a discount if you don’t have 25 kids there!), and the 23 included Tad, Little Cousin, and Auntie (being under 18 qualifies you as a kid there). I have a handful of pictures from the actual playtime, but the real fun was the after party.

Thanks to A. and C., I now own a cupcake tier stand, which has already come in very handy:
Cupcakes, cupcakes
Chocolate cupcakes with chocolate frosting, with a Princess flag in each one. Fortunately for all the boys present, the Princess presence didn’t affect the flavor of the cake.

A happy birthday girl
Yes, Ane was wearing her crown. Again. And her shirt (a Christmas gift from Auntie Resiss and Uncle Oddball) says “Princess” on it.

Her Highness on the inflatable throne
Every birthday kid at Pump It Up gets to sit in this big inflatable throne chair. Ane LOVED that chair… and every other child in the room was green with envy.

Not only did all the other kids want to be in the chair… they all wanted to “help” Ane open her presents. This is only half the crowd that eventually accumulated around the inflatable throne. We finally managed to make the advancing horde sit and watch, but once Ane got down to hand out party favors and thank people for coming, more than one kid jumped into the throne for a taste of power.

It was actually a very fun event. The biggest stress was the inviting and the RSVP issue. What is it with parents that they can’t look at an invitation, decide whether or not their child can come, and then CONTACT THE PERSON THROWING THE PARTY TO TELL THEM YES OR NO?? I had one parent tell me well, no, their kid probably couldn’t come, but could I keep a space open for them in case they changed their mind?

Uh, no. I have a limited number of spaces and I’d like to invite someone else who WANTS to come.

Actually, I just didn’t email her back until I had other people dropping out and spaces to invite others… and by then I was running close enough to the total that the kid could’ve come without going over the limit. The kid didn’t come.

I handed out all the invitations personally (with a few email exceptions), but one of Ane’s classmates never responded at all. When I mentioned it to the mom the day of the party, the mom was bewildered. She’d never heard about it. I had given the invitation to the dad… and dad had never taken it out of his car or told the mom (and yes, they are married and living in the same house). This poor woman was absolutely mortified… and brought Ane a present at school the next day and was just apologizing all over herself. It was very sweet of her.

When Ane did her thank-you notes, I handed the thank-you note for this surprise present to dad when he dropped off Ane’s classmate at school. He smiled and said, “Are you REALLY sure you want to give this to ME?”

I had to laugh.

So, the birthday-palooza is over for Ane… until next December. She’s already counting the months.

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