The Kid's 7th birthday party was this weekend and I ROCKED it, if I do say so myself. Technically, it was his dad's year to host, but I have little faith in that man and so I volunteered to be activities coordinator. (Plus, The Kid requested an Indiana Jones theme and I was probably a little too excited by the idea of a treasure hunt obstacle course.) So Dad was left in charge of food and drink, which was... um... delightful.
For my part, I spent the last few weekends pulling together all sorts of ancient treasure paraphernalia, and all day yesterday blowing up freaking balloons and decorating creepy tunnels. And in my spare time I put together an Indiana Jones costume for The Kid's party attire. (Which ended up being a fortuitous gift, given that his father brought him to the party in his jammies.)
This is how it went down:
Each kid was given a "leather" pouch for collecting treasure. Because I was too lazy to make treasure maps, I pointed toward the rumored location of the holy grail(s) and described the trials they would endure to reach their destination. Then, with most of them eying me dubiously, trying to decide if I was cool or the biggest nerd on earth, I led the kids to the snake pit.
The pit (a blow-up kiddie pool) was overflowing with very deadly and startlingly pastel snakes (balloons - the long, skinny kind). The kids fearlessly dug through the pit to retrieve their first treasure: the very valuable and much sought after wooden snake toy. (Bonus: one of the adult party guests actually knew how to twist those balloons into party hats. The rest of us tried to emulate his designs, but mostly ended up wearing what looked like giant penises on our heads.)
Then it was time to sprint through a dank passageway (part of the park's walking trail), in order to outrun a giant boulder (exercise ball). Their prize for avoiding getting rolled over: a boulder-sized super bouncy ball, decorated with spiders and snakes.
Finally, they were at the entrance to the tunnel that would take them to the grail. But it was guarded by the Supreme Ninja Master of the Universe (a weird, blow-up baseball catcher with a maniacal smile and a net where his tummy should be). Each kid delivered a deadly hacky sack to the tummy net, and the guard fell over and blew away into oncoming little league traffic. The guard left behind a treasure of small ninja action figures, which the kids greedily added to their expanding bag of loot.
And then: the Tunnel of Terror. Each kid was required to crawl through a stone tunnel (a nylon tunnel) full of cobwebs and giant spiders and bats and bones and goblins (Halloween decorations). This one actually made some of the kids nervous, but they all went through and collected a whip (brown Chinese yo-yo) for their efforts.
And then, at long last, it was time to enter the cavern (Ikea nylon castle playhouse decorated with cobwebs, rats and more bats) to select a grail (plastic wine goblets in an array of clearance rack colors) from the ancient keeper (plastic skeleton that says "Happy Halloween" when it senses movement, just like any ancient keeper of the grail should). The kids emerged from the cavern victorious, grails in hand, filled to the brim with gummy snakes and chocolate coins and gold nugget bubble gum.
The kids had a blast, and my former in-laws (who despise me) even complimented me on the games. And earlier this evening, as The Kid and I sat putting together one of his new lego sets (Indiana Jones, of course), he exhaled a contented sigh and said, "This was the best birthday I've ever had." And then he threw his arms around my sunburned neck and said, "And you're the best mom."