“I’m sorry, Mama, but my friends are a little bit like wild animals,” Joseph said sweetly as I tucked him into bed. I smiled at him, pretending my hair wasn’t standing on end and my makeup wasn’t smeared by a combination of dust and sweat.
“That’s okay, baby. As long as you had fun.”
He nodded and smiled as I kissed him on his forehead. I left him and opened a bottle of wine.
If there’s one lesson I should have learned, it was that fifteen six and seven year old boys let loose upon my yard will never come to a relaxing ending. After all, at Joseph’s sixth birthday party, one particularly exhuberant Jedi hit me over the head with his light saber. Repeatedly.
I thought I had it all under control this year: no light sabers, a treasure hunt that should have taken a half hour but instead took minutes, and a end time to the party so I could clean up, relax, and congratulate myself on a job well done. At about the time the easy up was being knocked over and a half dozen boys were climbing my apple tree blindfolded, I realized I didn’t have it all under control.
I waited for the parents to take the little angels under their respective wings and administer a firm talking to.
It didn’t happen.
I smiled thinly and told little Billy that while I’m sure he hadn’t heard me the first seven times I asked, this time I truly mean that he needs to get down from the apple tree’s thin branches now. In the end, the party was finished with no broken limbs and only the barest hint of a scratch. And I was left with a quandary:
How do you discipline children when their parents are in attendance?