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Birthday Season

If you've ever wondered what an intense five-year-old does at a birthday party, wonder no more. They become fuzzy blurs of orange cotton and flesh and hair, racing around the padded protection of a kid-friendly gym with their peers, simultaneously relishing their own acts of blurry joy.

Good lord, they make me tired with the running and jumping and laughing all the time. What is it called? Energy? Abundance of such? I think they are over-stocked. There are five August birthdays in Bryce's class. This weekend we attended a birthday party at a huge gymnasium that happened to employ a lot of unnaturally energetic adults who led the kids around in a robotic trance of health and fitness: And now we're going to do our stretches! Reach for your toes but don't groan in misery the way your stiff and flabby mother does! Weee! This is fun! Now we're going to walk on this balance beam without toppling over in disjointed clumsiness like your mom does, cough, we mean you, Bryce. The next day, in a public display of insanity, we held Bryce's birthday party at a Chuck E. Cheese establishment (a.k.a. "Chuck E. Cheese's," which I hate to say verbally, and so therefore resist typing on this entry which is supposed to approximate casual conversation), where Bryce and his friends indulged in all manner of Chuck E. Cheese-endorsed craziness:

Other than the huge meltdown that Quinn had as we were leaving, it was a smashing success. And actually, I've told several people, in those exact words, about Quinn's meltdown, to which all of them have replied, "what kid doesn't have a meltdown leaving Chuck E. Cheese's?" It would have helped if we'd been able to walk out the door with the screaming demon child, but thanks to Chuck E. Cheese's excellent and normally fool-proof security system (wherein the parents who escort the children INTO the establishment are stamped with the same blacklight-visible symbol as the kids so that no other adult can take them OUT of the building), had to wait for John to fish out his driver's license since Quinn's stamp had somehow been mysteriously rinsed off and the Chuck E. Cheese employee had to assume we were kidnappers obsessed with taking home a really loud, unhappy child.

Next weekend we have another birthday party for one of Bryce's other classmates, then another one the weekend after that. So far, every birthday party invitation has come with a waiver I have to sign that I won't sue the establishment if my kid suffocates inside their large foam pits or breaks his neck falling from their rock walls. I'm surprised Chuck E. Cheese didn't have everyone sign a waiver, too. I think I'm going to sue over their poor quality blacklight stamp ink.