Went to a kid birthday party today. Hot dogs, cake, ice cream, piñata, and noise. And puke. Pink and spring-green puke with marshmallows in it. So you know it was a good party.
The picture of the day is pretty much how the day went down. Sorry for the very badly blurred pictures. (I’m very badly blurred!) I should have played with the shutter speed a bit more. Oh well. Next time I’ll do better.
Back in the olden days when I didn’t have kids, I did not like kid parties. But you have to understand that the only kid party I ever went to was at Chuck E Cheese. OooOoooh. Now you understand. I left with a roaring headache and Darling Husband left with a tic in his eye that lasted for the next three years. We vowed that when we had kids, we would have their birthday parties at the library.
You know how I normally don’t like noise. For example, last Tuesday was a rough day. It was both Soup Day and the Celtic (hard C) Woman concert. At the concert, our seats were in row W, so we were far enough away that the people on the stage were the size of houseflies, and the sound wasn’t much louder than a buzzing housefly. It was perfect. I was so impressed with the sound guys.
Usually, the only people who become sound guys are the guys who love music and have since they were wee little lads. When they were young and immortal, they listened to their Nine Inch Nails CDs on their Walkman CD players with their headphones at full volume. Then, they graduated to MP3 players with earbuds, which is even worse, so by now their hearing is entirely shot. But they don’t know it. And then they get jobs as sound guys. Profoundly deaf sound guys.
Sound is like hot peppers. A hot pepper can be good, within reason, much the same way that loud music is good, within reason. If it’s just the right amount of loud, you can hear every little nuance, the music blocks out the background noises and creates its own little space in your head. It’s fun.
But sometimes the sound is too loud, like a pepper that’s too hot. And a pepper that’s too hot isn’t fun at all. When you can no longer taste the pepper and can only feel the monstrous pain, the pepper is too hot. Too-loud music is much the same way. When it feels like an ice pick in the top of your head, it’s just not fun anymore.
So, in our row W seats, to the side of the speakers, the concert was awesome. It was the right kind of loud. But then, in intermission, we moved closer. Big mistake. The people still looked like flies, but now we were in direct line of speaker fire, and the volume was in the too-hot pepper zone. Good thing I had my earplugs with me. I take them with me everywhere I go. They’re in my bag, right next to Clarisse.
And at Soup Day that morning, there was a little girl there who whined the entire time. She sat right next to me and made a “Uuuuuuuuuuhhhh” noise. For two hours straight. Doing her best to be heard over the cackling of eight women. It was loud and I had to take a number of deep, calming breaths.
I don’t think I’m too good with other people’s kids. I end up treating them the same way I treat my own kids, and in my household we have a quirky sense of humor not often shared by our friends and their children.
For example, I babysat two brothers on Wednesday. (Guest7 and Guest5). All four boys were in the backyard playing with light sabers and Nerf guns. At one point, Guest7 burst into the playroom, crying noisy tears and wailing. The sort of wailing that can only mean that his eyeball has been knocked out of its socket and is rolling around in the backyard. He was followed by his brother, Guest5, who came shuffling into the playroom, sheepishly looking down, hiding his Nerf gun behind his back.
“What’s wrong?” I yell over the wailing.
“I got shot in the head!” And he stops crying long enough to give a meaningful glare in his brother’s direction.
And here’s where I’m not a good babysitter. When kids say things like, “I got shot in the head,” and then glare at their little brothers, I find it kinda funny. I know, I know. It’s not supposed to be funny. But it is.
He stood in the playroom, staring at me, crying. I was right in the middle of composing a blog. I was busy. And I could tell that the tears weren’t the result of injury. These were tears at the indignation of being shot in the head by his little brother.
I stared at him, considering. He could see I wasn’t moved, so he cried little louder. I could see he wasn’t going anywhere until I’d addressed his grievance.
“Ok. Show me the wound.” I go to look, because I’ve been shot in the butt a lot with Nerf guns (boys), and I know it stings, so maybe I’ve misread the situation. Maybe this was a particularly lucky shot that had actually created a welt.
“Where’d you get hit? I don’t see a wound.”
“Here.” He points to his head. There’s nothing there. No welt. Not even a little red mark. So I said, “There’s no wound and you’re playing with Nerf guns. You’re gonna get shot. It’ll happen.”
“No wound. Nerf gun. It’ll happen.” And I gave him a shrug and a “whatcha gonna do?” look.
And faced with that logic, the boy nodded his head a little, stopped crying, and skipped merrily back outside. And yes, I told his brother, “Don’t shoot your brother in the head. Aim for the butt.”
Ok, I didn’t really tell him to aim for the butt. But I should have.
Again, another blog out of control. I’d intended on writing about the amazing volumes that can be reached at my sons’ birthday parties, and how much I love whipping the guests into a frenzy at the Opening of the Presents. But I’m out of creativity for the night, so I’ll just stop here and leave you with a disjointed blog about pink puke and deaf sound guys and Nerf gun butt welts.
That sounds like a good title.