By Adrianne Grant
I’m still not sure how I was persuaded to host a swim / movie party for my teenage son and his 14 friends. I suppose I should be somewhat grateful as 22 were originally invited. On the other hand, only 12 RSVP’d that they’d be coming so either way the math was off. This brings me to rule # 1: Invite sparingly and don’t count on the 50% rule – that 50% of the people you invite won’t show. It’s like playing Roulette – just pick a number and stick with it. Don’t…I repeat DON’T…deviate from plan especially when inviting teenagers.
Rule #2: Hoard everything you can get your hands on. You need to triple everything! Cups, Napkins, Plates, and Forks etc. You can NEVER have enough cups at a party. And don’t even get me started on plates. Just because you had one Taco and you want another one doesn’t mean you have to get a BRAND new plate every time. Someone is ALWAYS going to throw their plastic cup away even if their name is written on it in a sharpie pen and even if they took just a teeny tiny sip.
Rule #3: All children are different. I say this because when I negotiating with my oldest as to the duration of the party. I assumed these kids would love the water as much as my boys do – after all this was a swim party. With that in mind I scheduled the party from 1-8pm, figuring the boys would swim from 1-4 followed by dinner and a moving from 4-8. WRONG, WRONG, WRONG! They were in the water for 20 minutes before getting bored, completely obliterating my plan to prep dinner while they were swimming. Instead I needed to facilitate every game and keep them engaged. What happened to the good old days were kids just loved swimming?
Rule #4: If you’re hosting a swim party, make sure to think about what to include in the gift bags. Lest you be stuck with 16 pool noodles as was the case here. They loved to swim with them, but nobody wanted to take them home. I guess I’ll be “accidentally” leaving them at the pool all summer long.
Rule #5 : You will never have enough food to feed a group of teenage boys. I told the parents to make sure the kids ate lunch before they arrived, as dinner would be at 4:30 pm. Within the first 5 minutes of the party a kid came up and said he was starving. Thank goodness I had snacks on hand including water, oranges, chips and string cheese. This only satisfied their ravenous appetites for 15 minutes, causing me to slip into panic mode and get their dinner ready by 3pm.
Rule #6: Hold off on playing any games involving candy until just before their parents pick them up. That way you won’t get the full backlash of the sugar high. My friend Chiara did this cool memory game for my baby shower. She made a board and placed words all over the board and covered them up. If you matched the word you got a candy associated with it. Since this was a teenagers party I did one related to their age group. The words on the left they had to match up and the candy was what they got for the match up.
- Friends – Peeps
- Bullies – Air Heads
- Music – Pop Rocks
- Finals – Whoppers
- Cliff Notes – Life Savers
- Graduation – Skor bar
- First Crush – Crush Soda
- Lunch – Crunch bar
- Daydreaming – Milky Way bar
- Furlough Day – Snickers bar
- Spring Break – Spree hard candies
- Homework – Cry baby sour candies
- Gossip – Juicy Fruit gum
The kids loved it!
Rule #7: If you do load the kids up with sugar, make sure without a doubt they are really going home. In my case, 9 out of the 14 kids wound up spending the night. My son asked if ONE of his friends could spend the night. Well someone told someone that told someone who then asked me if they too could spend the night and, well, that is how I ended up with an apartment full of hyper teenage boys. Like animals they can smell fear so I didn’t allow my fear to show. I figured I could take on this task. In all fairness these boys were all great kids. The saying is true, boys will be boys.
Rule #8: Don’t attempt this again. Long gone are the days where you could go to Chuck E Cheese and pay for everything and leave without a mess to clean up. I am going to look into things for my teenager next year because it won’t be at my house. When my son said this was so much fun he can’t wait to have 50 kids next year, I made sure he had his cake and ate it too! He laughed as he had cake in his face.
Rule #9 Seeing how happy my son was: Priceless! This party is a lot like childbirth. Lots of joy and pain followed by a promise that you’ll never do it again. A few months later you forget all of the chaos and start to plan for the next one.