Sunday, March 25, 2007

The Birthday Diaries

So it's the day after my daughter's eighth birthday party. This year there were no party entertainers, no petting zoos, no circuses in the backyard...just a down and dirty party at the ice skating rink...with 25 kids whose parents dropped them off so they could run errands. In hindsight, it was actually a pretty scary proposition - 25 kids on the ice - many of whom didn't know how to skate. As I finished setting the table near the rink and got the veggie and fruit platter ready for consumption, one of my daughter's friends stopped by to tell me that even though her mom had told her to wear her helmet, she really could skate so would it be okay to leave the helmet on the sidelines. Stupidly, I said sure - but I told her I'd be watching and if I thought she needed the helmet, back it would go on her head.
As more guests continued to file in and I finally strapped on my skates, one of the kids came racing out to tell me that the little girl who told me she didn't want to wear a helmet had just fallen...and hit her head. Yikes! I raced out on the rink, helped her off the ice and proceeded to sit with her for the next 15 minutes as she held a bag of ice against her head and wept quietly. When she was ready to go back on the ice, I told her to strap on her helmet and not take it off for the rest of the party (except while she was eating of course).
Another 15 minutes went by and of course, another emergency. One of my daughter's other friends - whose dad had left to hit a few rounds of golf, had fallen flat on her back. She cried for about 5 minutes straight, we took her to the EMT and after she was checked out, she was given a clean bill of health to go back to the party and skate. Luckily, this was a minor injury so the partying continued.
After lunch and cake, the kids had about 10 more minutes to skate - nothing could happen in 10 minutes, right? WRONG. In the last 10 minutes, the third little girl whose mom had left the party because I had given her the green light that she'd be just fine, fell forward and landed hard on her knee and had to be carried off the ice because she couldn't walk. When the EMT examined her as her knee began to swell like a balloon, she informed me that we'd better call her mom because she needed to be checked out at the emergency room. I called her mom and she raced over and while another parent stayed with her as I cleaned up the party table, gave out goody bags and made sure no one else fell, the mom arrived, scooped her up and raced her to the doctor.
Thankfully, when I called the mom a few hours later, her daughter was okay - bruised but no broken bones. So after thinking an ice skating party would be a piece of cake, I think next year, it's back to the petting zoo or pony rides...or maybe just plain old pin the tail on the donkey. No more ice skating extravaganzas for's way too stressful and as I learned the hard way - dangerous when the other kids can't really skate and their parents drop them off to run errands.

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