My son’s birthday is coming in about a month and he is trying to decide how to celebrate. He is considering the following options:

— shopping at the robot shop

— a trip (i.e., more shopping) to the comic book store

— a bonfire with every person he has ever met in attendance

— laser tag/roller skating combo

— a party at the bowling alley

It seems so simple to have a party, but it is not. First, you have to consider the ramifications of mixing my crazy family with my husband’s crazy family. Then you have to decide: do you invite friends and family? After all, you still want your friends to like you after the party. If you mix everyone together, you just have to hope that the most insane people are recognized as such, and tolerated the way one would an over-tired child. Some years, we have had three parties: one for my family, one for the in-laws and another for friends. No more madness.

We almost have my son convinced that we have the power to suspend his birthdays, because he’s growing up too fast. He’s pretty sure that we’re joshing him, but there is the smallest possibility in his mind that we are omnipotent, and thus able to make him stay six for another year. Our oldest daughter fell for it, too. Just one of the small pleasures of parenting.