From The Patrick File

Rational Birthday Party Jitters

I do have the best of intentions of writing here every day, really I do. Then I spend a day being quietly poisoned by the pre-IVF birth control pills (hurl) and then I spend a day following Patrick around and around and around a little lake-ette we just discovered (did you know that Minnesota has lakes? damnedest thing) and then I spend a day swilling nerve tonic after accidentally locking Patrick in the car and needing to have the police come to my garage to jack him out again... and here it is, Friday already.

I haven't attended a toddler birthday party in thirty years, so I am seriously out of practice and ridiculously nervous about the matinee tomorrow. What do you think, two ponies and one hot air balloon per kid? What about the magicians, should they saw the troublemakers in half or just make them disappear?

I jest. Ha. No, that sort of excess is really more appopriate for the Coasts, don't you think? Here in the Middle West we are a simple, happy people.

So this is my party plan. In the downstairs play room I am putting feathers and markers and crayons and glitter glue and stickers and... well, you know, crafty stuff... with which the four little kids can make birthday party crowns, should they so desire. In the upstairs playroom (yes- we have a lot of playrooms. we also have a lot of bedrooms. don't make me point out the fact that we were expecting to have more children or I'll cry wetly all over you) we have midget climbing toys and blocks and cars and the ilk. In the backyard I am setting up a wading pool and a sprinkler. Tonight Steve and I are putting together Patrick's kick ass birthday train set (Geotrax. I am hopelessly in love with Geotrax and I cannot stop buying them BUT I don't want Patrick to be the spoiled dick with the  'Vette in all the John Hughes movies so I have been hiding them in the front hall closet until I can legitimately present the child with a gift or two without ruining him forever) so that when he wakes up tomorrow there is going to be about a mile of elevated track circling the living room and he will EXPLODE with joy. That's it. Think we'll be able to keep four three year olds entertained for an hour and a half? Oh and cake, of course (yes, Christine, I will let Patrick eat the cake this year. He could've eaten it last year, he just preferred to pick the berries and kiwi off the fruit tart instead. Can he help it if he would rather eat foods rich in beta carotene and antioxidants? Can I help it if I eat all the leftover cake rather than let it go to waste? No and no.)

Why do I stress so much over completely meaningless things? Do you know?