About this time nine summers ago, I wrote a bit of a dedication to our fourth child. She was born on July 14 and would be our last baby.
That baby is now 9 years old and because of the pandemic, was forced to have her birthday party at home instead of the neighborhood pool like last year.
I loved having a party at the pool – the perfect place to gather, pull out a few treats and then turn the kids loose to splash around. There’s very little mess to clean up and it’s basically a low maintenance gig.
This year, six little girls pulled up with their parents in tow. Social distancing was practiced and the party took place outside. Everyone used sanitizer and made sure they were healthy and ready to attend a party.
All of them came ready to play water games, which included a slip-n-slide, water guns, a trampoline lined with a sprinkler system, and a blow-up pool placed below the slide. The party treats would lake place beach style on the driveway on top of a blanket.
Oh, and did I mention water balloons?
The girls walked up to the party in their swimsuit cover-ups and flip-flops or water shoes, all looking like sweet little innocent gals. I envisioned there would be talk of dolls and playing house or hide and seek in the backyard. They would pretend the treehouse in the play yard was a castle.
The play began with the two wildest girls in the group giving a war hoop and heading for the bucket of water balloons. Other girls followed suit and soon amongst the ear-splitting screaming and laughing, teams were picked and there was much fanfare as they all traveled to the backyard.
Relieved that they were all in one place, my wife and I sat on the deck overlooking the yard and hoped they’d stay occupied for a while.
We watched with great amusement and some surprise as these sweet little girls went to underhanded lengths to acquire buckets of water and do sneak attacks on the opposing team. One team in the treehouse, one on the trampoline. At one point, a cute little girl with curly blonde hair splattered one of her friends across the yard with a watery bullet and said “Take that, you filthy animal.”
If it hadn’t been for the water, there would probably have been bloodshed.
After a while, these vigilantes in tiny swimsuits ran around to the front of the house and proceeded to have a savage belly flop contest on the slip-n-slide, followed by more pummeling with water balloons and even louder screaming and laughing.
It was all great fun.
When it came time for the picnic style birthday treats (make your own Blizzards) and present opening, I thought surely the time had come for settling down a bit.
My daughter opened her gifts; the screaming and giggling never ceasing. The girls loaded up their ice cream cup with toppings, dumped them in a blender, and came up with some horrible yet delicious combinations that would make Baskin & Robbins puke.
As side dishes to the blender Blizzards, we added goldfish, potato chips, and the reddest Kool-Aid you could ever buy.
Now, I thought, things would settle a bit.
But no. As the Kool-Aid mixed with greasy potato chips, the orangey Goldfish and wild conglomeration of ice cream and confections, the girls started letting the refreshments dribble down their mouths.
The Kool-Aid was the best, as it resembled blood. The topic, which I thought would have something to do with princesses or LOL dolls or American Girls, did not even come close.
They started talking about zombies and cannibalism.
“Pretend I ate your eyeballs and the blood is trickling down my mouth,” said one. “Part of your skull is missing because we ate it,” said another. “I ate my own hand,” said one who had gotten a little too messy.
What happened to all the princesses who had come to the party a few years ago?
Thankfully, there was more water play and by the time the parents showed up, most of the residue of the “cannibals” had been washed away.
The driveway and yard were littered with cups, plates and napkins. And everywhere we looked, we could see a beautiful display of broken water balloons.
But (sigh), it was worth it.