Last night we hosted Grant's ninth birthday party. Dubbed the "Dude Party" and planned exclusively by Grant, it was one of my favorite kid parties to date. Grant planned the menu: pizza, Sprite, chips, salsa and Buster Bar ice cream cake. He was adamant that we serve only dude food and nothing healthy. We asked each boy to bring their bike, skateboard or scooter to participate in some "dude fun."
The night before the party all three Buchstaber kids slept over so Bucky and Britta could celebrate their 11th anniversary. Bucky, who is Curt's good friend, our church's children's pastor, and a kid trapped in a grown up's body, arranged his kid pickup time to coordinate with Grant's party so he could play too. When he arrived, he and Curt built a ramp for the dudes to ride on and perform various injury-inducing tricks. Peter, another Solid Rock children's pastor, also came to the party. The first thing he told the boys was, "I'm really eight, I just have a growth disease." Of course, they thought it was high-larious.
The three grown up boys devised a relay game, one biker and one skateboarder per team. When the second person finished their leg, they dashed to capture a flag and run it back to home. Grant was first to the flag, but Raleigh would not go down without a fight and the wrestling match that ensued was very dude-like, with Grant just barely coming out on top.
Bucky wowed us all with his spur-of-the-moment hand stand skateboarding trick and managed to break the trucks on Grant's new skateboard in the process. Good thing we had an extra set. Grant told Curt (who has been hogging Grant's new trick bike), "Dad, I don't want you to ride my bike anymore. It's not meant for grown ups."
A dude party isn't complete without some chicks to inspire them to greatness and the six little dudes had a good cheering section in Lucy, Kaitlin and Paige. Alli, in spite of her fancy party dress, believes she's one of the dudes and wholeheartedly rubbed elbows with the boys. She even sat with them at the dinner table. At least she looked good doing it.
Prayer for the meal sounded more like a pep rally than a prayer. Curt: "Dear God, thank you for a dude party. (cheers from the boys) Thanks for pizza. (more cheers). Thanks for Sprite to make good belches. (more cheers). And thanks for nothing healthy. (more cheers). Oh, and thanks for Grant's birth 9 years ago. (more cheers). Amen." The dudes commandeered the table leaving the girls to sit on the floor to eat. They hadn't taken two bite before Curt hollered, "Where's all the belching? It's not a dude party without some belches." (Sigh).
Conversations overheard between the belches:
"I can belch the ABC's."
"Let's hear it." (proceeds to demonstrate, but is interrupted by another boy)
"There's a GIRL, did you hear me a girl, in my class who can belch the ABC's."
"Dude, that's so gross."
"Gross? No way. That's SOOOOO cool."
"This is the best party ever (BELCH)."
By the time two 2-liters of Sprite had been devoured and some food had been thrown (we drew the line at a full on food fight), it was time for cake. Bucky came up with the brilliant idea of having a belching contest to determine who got the first slice of cake. After singing to Grant, he gave each boy 20 seconds to come up with their best manufactured belch. Raleigh was the hands-down winner. (Amy aren't you proud?). Raleigh also has a talent of putting his hands to his mouth, blowing really hard, and manufacturing the realest sounding toots. He had everyone dying laughing, especially Curt. Curt said between belly laughs, "That's funny. Even at 34, that is straight up funny."
Alden taught Peter how to skateboard (although I'm pretty sure Peter knew how to already) and Grant perfected his ollie (a skateboard trick) and was super pumped to complete his first real ollie at the party.
Britta and I tried three times to get a picture of us together, using three different photographers, and every last picture is tainted by either Bucky or Curt and Bucky being disgusting in the background. We are talking HIGH class party here ladies and gentlemen. Aren't you sorry you missed it?
Favorite moments for me include watching Alden, Grant's normally very reserved best friend, let loose and lose his mind laughing. He was doubled over a bar stool, gasping for air, and laughing his head off. He told me later the source of his mirth was when he tried to imitate Raleigh's hand farts and he blew snot out his nose. Watching Griffin, who is 17 months going on 8, think he was a big boy and try to do everything the big kids did. He's deliciously adorable and such a mini-me of his father. Chatting with Crosby about our Converse (he has black; I have orange). I told him, "I almost got black, but chose orange at the last minute." To which he replied, "But orange is SO you." Crafting with Lucy, Crosby, Alli and Paige while Grant was at school. They each painstakingly made him a birthday card that showed their individual flair. When Grant was showing me all his birthday cards/gifts after the party, he showed me other hand-made, individualized birthday cards and gifts from his other buddies and I was just overcome with gratitude over how well-loved my son is.
As I reflect on the party and the pictures, I think the best part was stepping out of the social norm and just letting boys be boys. They got to wrestle, compete, do risky tricks, be disgusting, and not use their manners. And they thought it was hilariously fun. I can't say I understand, but the memories of Grant's Dude Party will stay sharp and fresh for a long time in my mind.