Made it past the two early hurdles of summer break: Connor's and Scott's birthdays. Scott's birthday was an eternal now, since he'd been talking about it for weeks, maybe even months ahead of the fact. One bump in that road was a week ahead of his planned bowling party, invitations all sent, he changed his mind and wanted a slumber party like Connor had had. He was inconsolable to be told that it was too late to change plans. After a tumultuous 15 or 20 minutes or so a middle way came to me (sometimes I'm capable of inspiration): his party was on a Saturday, 2 days after the actual fact of his birthday. How about if one of his best friends came and had an overnight on the actual day of his birthday?
He brightened immediately, the storm clouds dispelled. I talked with the boy's parents; everyone was delighted.
So Scott's birthday passed easily, and then on to the bowling party ordeal.
I don't know if I've mused in here about how active, maybe somewhat hyper-active children seem to gravitate toward each other. They clump, where their combined energy is far more than its sum. All of Scott's friends are highly energetic; he gravitates toward these children. There was a full complement of them at his party; my worries about sparse attendance dispelled (though not until 8:00pm the night before did I know that more than 2 children were coming. The RSVP tag means nothing.). These kids simply take up a ton of room. Fortunately, we were at a bowling alley with easy-going management, and no bowlers on the lanes on either side of us. It was a 'Cosmic' party, which meant mirror balls, black lights, neon flashing, fog. Our group of kids spilled into the spaces adjacent to our lane and tables, dancing wildly to the music. It would have been a problem had there been bowlers hemming our party; but they were free to seek their own borders.
The fee for the birthday party included decorations and balloons, pizza and soda, one game. I'd fretted that one game wouldn't be enough to fill the 2 and a half hours allotted, but that worry was dispelled too. The way these kids threw the balls meant an eternity of meandering from bumper to bumper, a leisurely journey to the pins. These balls were traveling as slowly as is possible without outright stoppage. It was an eternal game.
One crisis when Gary inexplicably chose the most sensitive of the boys to holler at, "Felix! Throw the ball!" The din in this alley made yelling appropriate, but the timing was unfortunate in that it was coincident with a lull in the background noise so it seemed sharper than Gary intended. I jumped myself. I'm afraid the poor child experienced it as being singled out and probably felt assaulted. He collapsed into tears and it took several minutes of ministrations from his father to calm him down to the point where he could take his turn again. He did rebound in the space of time that it took for 5 boys to bowl ahead of him.
I've been spending the few days since the party recovering. The noise in my head is still too loud to settle on a theme to make observations on, so I've been bending my efforts to transcribing old diaries.
Oh, my vacant head.