This one will be easy today because it’s mostly pictures (right… we’ll see if I can keep my mental trap shut).
The other night, Thing 3 had his 9th birthday party. He wanted to go play laser tag, and that’s what he told his friends he was doing, of course before asking me and Mr. Grass Oil. The thing is: we don’t do big rent-a-Hummer limo and throw a bunch of kids into a dark room before they’re 10. In fact, we don’t do the limo at all.
When his brother had his 10th birthday party, we went to laser tag. It was great. I loved siting in the party room waiting for the kids to come back all sweaty and watch them spill soda everywhere and knock over chairs and accidentally pull the tissue paper tablecloths off the tables taking the boxes of pizza with them. It was the time of my life. I distinctly remember hiding my new suede boots from the mayhem because it was in February and where I live, it used to be cold in February.
So this time, I made an executive decision: “You can invite either three or five friends to join us bowling. That is all. No dark rooms and aggression. Lots of light, smiles and heavy balls and pins.” He chose three (alleluia!) friends and we all fit in the Grass Oil mobile and lumbered off to the local Bowl America at dusk. I chose a small number of friends because I learned: the bigger the party, the less intimacy, the less sharing and the less interaction. My son doesn’t do well with crowds either and three friends is enough for him to keep track of.
We had a GREAT time. I always forget how awesome this place is: what was likely state-of-the art back in the late 70s when it first opened is now a respectable form of cultural antiquity. It gently nods to the long shadows of the 20th century with its linoleum tile floor, etched formica placards, round diner-style bar stools and olde-tyme nearly burnt-out cathode ray tube computer monitors. It doesn’t smell like cigarettes and it doesn’t smell like beer. It smells like bowling.
Bowling is just … so fun and simple: roll a ball down a lane, try to knock things over. How COOL is that?? It’s like reliving toddlerhood for adults too.
After the bowling, we came back to Grass Oil manor, played some hoops in the dark, immediately decided that was enough of that, came inside to play a little PS3 and then had pizza, ice cream cake and presents that we opened in front of our friends. I read a parenting book a while back, Parents in Charge, and it had a section about how children opening presents in front of their guests had been on a massive and disturbing decline. The author suggested that children need to open their gifts in front of their friends: the givers need to see the delight of the recipient; the other children need to learn / remember how to be gracious and happy for their friend who is being celebrated and the recipient needs to give in-person, real-time gratitude to the giver. My favorite part is when all the kids see the new gifts and talk about how cool they are or that they have one just like it and they love it.
I plan to go back to the lanes with Team Grass Oil at least every few months and each kiddo can bring a friend. Getting back to basics is the best thing we can do for ourselves.
Every time we go bowling I always wonder aloud why we don’t do it more often. It IS going back to a simpler time. Like rollerskating. We actually got to go do that as well recently as a family activity for my husband’s workplace. It was so much fun! Ah, the simpler days…
yeah – those simpler days: they are all there for the taking! it stinks that we’ve been programmed into seeking them out. I love them. We will have to try rollerskating too. (I dunno if my boys will get into it thought… I loved it as a kid.) 🙂
Roller Rinks are a bit hard to come by-they’re like Drive-In movies, getting to be a thing of the past, unfortunately!
yeah, why drive to a movie when you can watch a movie in your hands? WHAT’S HAPPENING TO OUR WORLD?! (not yelling at you, obviously, just… NnnNnNnNnnnn.)
I have a deep and longstanding love of bowling. We go way back. I should tell you my stories. Ahhhh….and almost all of them include my Dad. 🙂
I want you to tell us all about them. Do you have your own ball? Kel, doing this activity, is so good. It’s so fun and simple: roll a ball down a lane, try to knock things over. How COOL is that?? It’s like reliving toddlerhood for adults too. xo
Ball, shoes, bag, league average….whole 9. I do need to write about it more.
Love the pictures.
write it girl.
Grass Oil Manner!! LOL LOVE THIS BLOG! LOVE YOUR KIDS! My daughter told a teacher I sit at home all day and buy stuff I see on TV. LOL kids what can you do? Mom may I have more grass oil? You guys look like fun! Happy to follow the blog!
Hi Jasmine! I LOVE your avatar pic. We would be fast friends. Do you ever put Hawaiian Punch into your bubbles when you blow them and then when you pull them back into your mouth they burst with Fruit Juicy Red? Me neither! HAHAHAH! (I do it all the time.) Yes, my son told the teacher I love to blog and eat. That’s. really. great. Thank you so much for stopping by, commenting, following for being generally awesome. I hope i don’t disappoint. 🙂
I’m sure you will not disappoint me! I have blown drinks into my bubbles but I do root beer LOLOLOL I was the bubble gum blowing champ in the 4th grade BOYEEEE and I am just showing off my skilz to all the homies! You love to blog and eat!!!LOL and you know teachers gossip so the first thing she did was tell all the other teachers in the swanky teachers lounge! When you went to parent teacher conferences the teacher was eyeing you like YEP your an eater! My daughter is wonderful she’s an A student they have to suppose I’m doing something right. Right? Anyway Your HILARIOUS and we can be fast friends ANYWAY. This is the AGE of COMMUNICATION! Hope you have a great week!
My sister is taking me and my 4 yo in a week for my birthday! I love the part about not needing a cell signal because everyone you would need to hear from was with you. Thanks for sharing the part about opening presents in front of friends. We havent with our sons but will start because those are all great life lessons I never thought of. I was always concerned with time and cleaning up. Happy birthday to your big boy!
thanks, Felicity! you’re going to have so much fun! get fries! get soda! play Galaga if they have an arcade!
Happy early birthday!! 🙂 ❤
Here's the name of the book i referred to… i'll add it to the post: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/2164172.Parents_in_Charge