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Even Quinn the Eskimo wouldn't put up with this.

I said to John last night, "I don't know why I'm surprised. I mean, we had a homeless person attend our engagement party." (True story: John's mom met a homeless woman on her way to our engagement party, and brought her - her name was Regina, we have pictures, and I guarantee you my mother-in-law has had no contact with her since that very public display of Good Samaritanism. How convenient.) I think it's great that John's family can be "open" and "welcoming" when they first meet people, and while I admire the fact that my sister-in-law has the patience to cart other people's children around with her every weekend (her ulterior motive is that these other children entertain her own so that she doesn't have to, so really, I guess I don't admire that habit so much as accept that it's just who she is), I do have a problem with both of them just showing up to a family function, a three-year-old's birthday celebration, with people our family, and most importantly, the kid being celebrated, doesn't even know. Maybe that makes me, I don't know, an anti-social bitch? But I don't really care. That's how I feel about it. Both my mother-in-law and sister-in-law brought an additional person with them yesterday, as if they were merely stopping by their grandson's/nephew's birthday party on their way to their REAL weekend events, like shopping, or going to the park with friends.

Luckily Quinn is a go-with-the-flow kind of kid, and he wouldn't have cared if the entire population from my mother-in-law's retirement community showed up. He was more interested in presents, cake, and several mad dashes around the house with four other kids. None of the chaos could really last too long, what with the pile of presents Quinn had to open. And he made sure to remind us all that they were there. Every two minutes. Um, everyone? Presents? Remember we need to leave time for me to open them all. Thank goodness Bryce was around to help Quinn get through the pile. Quinn never could have managed without him. What a considerate older brother (the cousins were really helpful, too).

The cake was cool, but Quinn hates sweet things. He wanted so much to eat the cake that everyone else was enjoying that he forced a few bites down. When John asked everyone if the cake was good, the whole room full of kids yelled, "yeah!!" and Quinn just looked at John with this disappointed glance and shook his head and said, "No. I don't like cake."

Here he is contemplating whether or not he's going to cave to peer pressure:

Luckily, we had cheesy chex mix for him. I think Quinn ate the whole bag; see how much happier he is with salty snacks?

Quinn's party was a smashing success. And when I say "smashing," I'm referring to the activities all the kids engaged in when a few of them managed to sneak upstairs unsupervised and destroy within mere minutes what had taken me all morning to clean. And also to the moment when the older kids (one of whom I, and my kids, didn't know) were playing some sort of elementary school form of "chicken" on the stairs, and my three-year-old happened to get in their way, and come flying down several steps, his head hitting the tile floor at the bottom. Yeah, that was a nice birthday gift for him. And let's not forget the time when those same older kids convinced Bryce to play "crack the whip" with them in the front yard, putting Bryce, the lightest, youngest, and least coordinated kid on the end, ultimately launching him across the yard and scraping his arm within 10 seconds of starting. Very nice.

Next year, maybe have the party in a padded room? And just go ahead and put "bring whoever the hell you run into on your way over" on the invitation? It might alleviate some of my frustration to just go into it expecting that my kids will be accosted by strangers at their own birthday parties. Maybe I could also outfit them in armor and tell them it's a costume party.