What has Alice been doing?

Why, preparing for Henry's birthday party, of course!

Which was yesterday. His party was to be a Space Party, as Henry wishes someday to be an astronaut. An astronaut, or a "worker guy." A Worker Guy party sounded, at the time of the party planning, less interesting than Space. Although now that we're done I can see the appeal of a Worker Guy party. Maybe we could have had the kids regrout our bathroom. We'll plan that one for next year.

Because we enjoy suffering, we spent much of Saturday in Party City. We hadn't prepared too well for the Space Party (hello, I lied about spending all this time on party preparation), and we had fewer than twenty-four hours, and surely they had something space-related there. But did you know? According to Party City, you cannot have a Space Party. Or any type of generically themed party.You can have a Go Diego Go! party, if you like. ¡Al rescate, partygoers! But you cannot have a Space Party, because there is no branded character associated with generic Space, so no. No Space Party for you.

We actually went to the strict trademarked-characters-only Party City for one reason, which was to pick up a Rocketship Pinata, as I had seen it on their website. I asked a salesperson where I could find said Rocketship Pinata, and she looked at me like I had asked where I could find the Double Penetration Dildo Pinata. "We don't have that," she said, slowly, so I could understand her despite my obvious idiocy. "I've never heard of that, and we don't have it here, and I'm pretty sure we've never had it."

"Whuh," I said.

"If you want a Diego pinata, I can get that for you! ¡Vamonos!"

"Nuuuuh," I said, and she fed me some kibble.

So then Henry and I traipsed over to the next aisle, where we found a massive display of ROCKET-SHIP PINATAS. And do you know what I did then? Do you? I marched right over to the Diego-peddling salesperson and I barked WHAT DO YOU CALL THESE, MS. PINATA EXPERT? She cowered in fear. And begged my forgiveness, after acknowledging my clearly superior intellect.

You've probably guessed by now that I said absolutely nothing, and you would be correct. I can't feel anything but bad for anyone who works at Party City. She deserves not to know about the rocketship pinata. You go on not knowing, young miss! You go on not knowing until you're free!

By the way, if you want to yell at your child, go to Party City first. You'll blend right in! Every parent at Party City has had it up to HERE with his or her child. It's the place to go if you need to unleash a little pent-up hostility. Hell, you could grab someone else's kid and let 'er rip. No one would be the wiser. And the little kid would be too dazzled by the shiny party favors to mind your tirade.

So what happened next, you ask? Well, next we went insane creating Space Party activities and Space Party favors. I told one of my friends at the party that we actually went back in time to create the space program, just so we could have this party. (Clearly I liked my joke enough to make it again.) A few days before the party another friend mentioned to me that she had one of those inflatable Bouncy Castles in her possession, and would we like to borrow it? Indeed we did. Fast-forward to fifteen minutes into the party, when we realized we could have abandoned the Space theme and simply let the children flail away inside the Bouncy Castle until it was time for them to stagger home. Children who have a Bouncy Castle do not need personalized NASA t-shirts, or a Stick the Astronaut on the Lifeline game, or an Alien Slime-Making project, or a Rocketship Pinata. They may not even need cake. All they want to do is bounce.

In the end, no one vomited or broke any bones, so it was a rousing success. And now my son is home sick with post-party ennui. (Also an ear infection.) Such is the price we pay for showing him too good a time.

P.S.: My son is FIVE. Holy crap.

P.P.S.: Wonderland post from last week, in which I attempt to tackle the giant topic of the vaccination/autism link. Yeesh.