March 10, 2000



Party Like You're 4


Tonight, we're bracing for impact. Zero hour comes tomorrow at 12:30 pm PST. That's when the waves of children hit, all God knows how many of them, incoming for Zoe's 4th birthday party.

We've taken as many precautions as we could think of. The garage fridge is filled wall-to-wall with soda, we have a standing order for a 6-foot sandwich from Subway, we've stuffed the unicorn pinata to bursting with all kinds of candy and toys, every party store within a 10 mile radius has been picked clean of any and all unicorn paraphernalia, we have on hand a helium tank and a giant bag of balloons, Kinkos has been browbeaten into submission after declaring that, no, they couldn't possibly print a poster-sized picture of a unicorn so the kids can play pin-the-horn-on-the-unicorn, the resulting unicorn poster has been affixed to a foamcore base so pins will stick to it, a new second slide has been added to the backyard swing/ fort/ treehouse/ entertainment monstrosity courtesy of Grandpa, a new glider-type swing has been added as well, algae has been blasted from the bricks... We've got the bases covered.

Yeah, right. 10 - 20 screaming three, four, and five-year olds will be here eating cake and ice cream, drinking sugary drinks, running in mad circles, and playing like little maniacs. We have nothing covered. We are indulging in wishful thinking. Disaster is inevitable.

In fact, disaster has been narrowly averted. We're still dodging it even as I write. Zoe spiked a fever two days ago, a fever that didn't respond to Motrin or Tylenol. We put her to bed with us and watched as the fever went up rather than down. The next afternoon -- yesterday, her fever was up to 103 and we took her to the doctor. Strep throat. Ouch. Drugs were prescribed, promises were made to get the drugs taken, and Zoe now seems to be feeling much, much better. Barring any unforeseen relapses tonight, she'll be in fine condition for her party tomorrow. And non-contagious, the doctor assures us.

Four years old. Wow. It seems like such a short time, yet such a long time, too. She was so little when we brought her home from the hospital, but now she's so big and self-assured. How and when did this happen?

Bah, no time for sentimental reflection now. Must go to bed, must recharge the batteries. I'll need all my faculties tomorrow. Mayhem must be avoided, or at least controlled.

We're doomed.

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