For the past several years, we’ve held WCK’s birthday party at a local jump-up-and-down-on-inflatable-things place. Our local jump-up-and-down-on-inflatable-things place has really good employees who are great at keeping the kids in line and keeping the party moving so we’re out of there in exactly 90 minutes. Playtime, cake, presents: Boom, boom, boom. Last year, we invited the entire kindergarten class, so we ended up with 10-ish girls and 10-ish boys. Even with the great jump-up-and-down employees working to keep things under control, it still felt like 90 minutes of pure insanity. Plus, WCK ended up with about 10,000 Barbie dolls, because that’s what all boys think any girl would want for her birthday.

OK, it was, like, four Barbie dolls, but their teeny little shoes are everywhere. Don’t get me started on the one that came with hair extensions.

This year when it was birthday-party-planning time, I was determined to throw a kinder, gentler party. WCK agreed to have a cooking-themed party in the party room at a local grocery store, and we would only invite the girls from her class this time. The kids would bake pizzas, decorate cupcakes, and make ice-cream sundaes. Before the party, I had a vision of twelve calm little girls gently cooking. The only sound in the room would be contented sighs.

Yes, I really thought this. Because I am insane.

Let me tell you, twelve 7-year-old girls in one room are loud. Put a pile of cupcake frosting into each of their bodies, and the volume-level triples. They mean well, but they’re easily excited. You mean we get to drink Sprite? SPRITE!! SPRITE!! SPRITE!!!

The poor shoppers on the other side of the store were probably running for their lives. I started to worry that my family was going to get a lifetime ban from the grocery store.

Fortunately, the lady in charge of the party was unfazed and said they were actually a very good group. She said she’s had parties where she’s needed to re-paint the walls afterwards. I was too scared to ask what stained the walls at a child’s birthday party, but I was greatly relieved that our group was not the worst group. We’re loud, but we don’t do permanent damage! Yes!