On Saturday, our daughter “A” had a birthday party for a classmate at her preschool. The Good Doctor had worked overnight and then also had to work the morning/early afternoon to cover anesthesia in MRI. Combining these two tidbits together meant I had a few options:
- Leave our oldest home alone (she’s 11) while I take the youngest three with me
- Leave our oldest home with the 2 others not invited to the party.
- Take everyone with me.
“A” is 4, and I normally like to stay with her when I take her to parties. She hasn’t really been to many places without parents, and although I see parents at pick-ups and drop-offs I don’t really know them. She also still needs some assistance/encouragement/clean-up regarding the bathroom. I didn’t really want to leave her there alone and she had asked me to stay. Our oldest often utilizes a less than kind supervisory style when with the other kids for long periods–particularly with her 6-year-old brother. She’s getting better but isn’t ready for long-term babysitting yet.
Cut to things I don’t like about kid birthday parties:
- Often no food provided for parents
- It’s not a good place to meet other parents. They may be there, but if they are not helping their kid they are often phone surfing–taking the opportunity as a break.
- People who bring other siblings without checking with the host first!
The party was at the Blue Hills Trailside Museum. This bird sanctuary and museum has trails, live animals and a few interactive exhibits. My family had never been and I thought it would be a good way to pass the time so The Good Doctor could sleep undisturbed when she got home. I DID NOT want to invade the party. My other three children were not invited, and I hadn’t checked with the parents (see number 3 above). I thought we would go, drop “A” off and enjoy the museum. I would be close by but we would do our own thing.
We arrived and got “A” situated. We were about to leave but the hosts told us to stay. They had an museum educator read a book about owls and bring out a live barn owl. We sat in the back and all my kids loved it. During the craft time (owl paper bag puppet) I took my other kids out to see the museum. My plan was to stay out long enough to not take up crafting space and then come in after the food was served to and see if there was enough for my other kids after the party guests were served. The hosts were very gracious and made sure my kids had all they wanted to eat. I could have eaten too, but I am trying to eat more mindfully lately so I passed on the requisite cake and the pizza.
After the food we said our thank yous and went outside to enjoy the live animal exhibits. We saw a bald eagle, 2 red-tailed hawks, and 2 snowy owls. Did you know most eagle cries you hear in commercials are actually the call of the red-tailed hawk? An actual eagle cry sounds more like a cackling chicken. Inside we saw a rabbit, skunk a smaller owl and a great horned owl. Three-year old “C” kept watching a video of a chipmunk packing 6 acorns in its mouth. The museum was small but had enough to keep us busy for a while. We finished up just as the wind picked back up and the rain started again.
Taking the kids to experience something new was a good call. They enjoyed it, as did I. We spent time without electronics and actually played together. We will not discuss how I rented 2 movies on iTunes when we got home to keep the natives quiet while The Good Doctor continued to sleep. Two movies because the girls didn’t want to see Ninjago and the boys didn’t want to see Leap! I give them both two MEHs. But we aren’t talking about that.
So the Joneses invaded a birthday party and everyone lived to tell the tale. And only 2 of the parents said “Oh, you have FOUR children?”