The Great Domino Party

Theo the Domino Maniac requested a Domino Track themed 5th birthday party.

Say what?

After watching every single domino track video on YouTube (there are hundreds; trust me), Theo and his brothers have pretty much mastered fallbacks, pyramids and all other tricky domino track maneuvers. [Yes, I realize how cool we’re looking right about now. It’s summertime, y’all. Cut us some slack.] Theo was certain his friends had spent the past 10 weeks doing the same tedious activity and as such, were ready for 2 hours of nothing but domino track building.

Even in the best of worlds, 20 kiddos about to start pre-K are not going to patiently line up dominoes for 2 minutes, much less 2 hours. Mama had to get creative. Big time creative.

our new house has a perfect place to hang birthday banners

it was so unbelievably humid that Theo’s number 5 balloon did not want to cooperate…at all

Theo, Digger, and Tucker wait for the guests to start arriving

We set up several stations for building things. The most important one, of course, was the domino track station.

see how nice and organized that is?

Next stop: the marble track area. Jack loves our Quadrilla set, but it’s not the easiest thing to build. A few years ago, I cut out all the pictures of sample marble tracks from the boxes the sets came in. We keep these cutouts in the bin with the 23,987 Quadrilla pieces.

Having these sample pictures is a must if one wants to keep a child from losing it while trying to build a track that actually works. They are lined up against the wall on the left.

Magnatiles. We learned about these in Theo’s classroom last year. Greatest investment ever. Every kid I know loves these things. Well worth the price.

The Lego area. Huge hit, of course.

While I was out running last minute errands, the boys took a brand new bag of Solo cups and decided to build a ginormous cup pyramid. Cup stacking wasn’t in the plans, but now that all [200 of] the cups were dirty, we added a cup pyramid station to the mix. Bonus points to me for not freaking out and just rolling with it.

And then we have the worst idea of the day: melty-beads. If you’ve not encountered these little drops of the devil, spare yourself. I implore you. We went down this path a few summers ago, and after picking up the tiny beads for the next 2 years, I finally cut bait and tossed the entire set out. These things are worse than Gremlins.

But I made a crucial error by taking the boys with me to Michael’s, and my creative crew begged to get another set. Jack had the idea to make miniature dominoes to use as decorations. Theo was convinced his female guests would love to make designs. It sounded like a good plan.

I put the trays and the bucket of a gazillion beads on a rimmed cookie sheet. See how smart I am? Going to contain that mess, baby. I. Am. Brilliant.

At one point, I looked over to see 2 moms hunched down on the floor trying to finish the trays their daughters had started and were nearly in tears over. At another point, I busted the dog, snout deep in the bead bin, woofing down a tasty treat for himself.

Like I said:  total disaster.

Moving on to another total disaster:  Theo’s cake. The child wanted a chocolate cake with whipped cream. No icing…just whipped cream. That sounds easy enough. It was easy enough.

And ugly enough.

If this were a Home Ec project, I’d have earned a C+. Maybe, if the teacher was feeling extremely sympathetic that day.

Aesthetics didn’t matter though; these are 5 year olds. One dad even told me that this was the first time his son ate birthday cake because he’s never liked it at any other party. Take that, Publix, and your gloppy, rainbow-colored, too-thickly-frosted sheet cakes.

The sparkler candles didn’t make sparkles, but again, that’s ok. Theo still was in hog heaven.

I hate goody bags.

Actually, I’ll confess:  that’s not entirely true. I hate the idea of goody bags (that a kid gets a “prize” for coming to a party) and I hate the trinket-y junk that often comes with them (fake tattoos and plastic doodads that break in the car on the way home), but I like the idea of having some type of small souvenir to remind you of the party. We usually do mix-cd’s with songs that match the party, but other than Van Morrison’s fab song, “Domino”–which none of these little party-goers have likely ever heard since the song was written 36 years ago–the musical pickings are slim for this type of party.

Instead, I hit up VistaPrint and had t-shirts made with the same bright design from Theo’s invitation. Crazy? Yes. But memorable? Absolutely. And I bet none of them have broken yet, either.

Theo has the most adorable little friends.

Nice photo bomb, Buckley-Dog. How are those melty-beads treating your belly?

In the end, the party was a mad success.

However, it must be noted that this type of soiree is not for the neat freak. Holy Nelly at the disaster. Millions of Legos and dominoes were scattered everywhere. At least 10,000 melty beads were on the floor, under the sofa and inside the dog. Solo cups were in every room, upstairs and down.

But it was worth every single second of it. It was exactly the birthday party this guy had in mind when he asked for a Domino Track Party.

And with that, we are done with birthday parties for the year.

Whew.

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