The end of the school year is always a flurry of activity, so why not throw a birthday celebration into the mix? The celebration, in honor of my 12-year-old, Ava, would be very non-princess, very non-pink and very bold.
Unlike past birthday parties I’ve thrown for Ava including Disco Superstars (age 8), Babycakes (age 9), Peace, Love and Balloons (age 10) and Twisted Princess (age 11), this one would be notably different in many ways.
First-– we based the party theme around the Avengers, The Age of Ultron, devoid of princesses (unless you count the movie’s female superhero, Black Widow).
Second — it was a progressive party of sorts. We went from our house to the park, to the theater and back to our house. Change of venue kept the momentum up and me with less busy-work and entertaining.
Third – my daughter didn’t even ask for a sleepover, it was a lateover. This new term was brought to my attention by the guy sitting next to me at the theater and the father of another 12 year-old girl whose wife had shoed him out of the house during his daughter’s party. Basically it’s a late end to the party — in our case 10:00p.m.. — that pushes parental limits.
After years of birthday parties for Ava where I’m running a bit much, this year, the girls’ ages made it super simple, mind you never less loud.The party began at 3:00, right after the bell on the last day of the school year which included a Grand Slam field trip with their entire sixth grade class. When I picked up half of the crew at school, they looked ready for some down time. After the other half arrived via a rowdy bus ride, they all quietly watched about an hour and 15 minutes of Once, before I summoned them away to sneak in a 20 minute activity making superhero shields.
I wasn’t sure how this would go over. It was borderline and risky, but either the girls humored me or had fun with the making of their bedazzled shields. We used cardboard cake plates as the base and traced and cut circles and stars in varying shapes using craft paper in blue, red, sliver glitter and black stripes (Michaels). With packing tape, we adhered a faux leather bracelet from a DIY kit to the back of each shield. Cap (Captain America) would be proud.
Weapons aside, the pizza delivery guy showed up around 4:45. He parked in the wrong direction and at a diagonal, like his life depended on this delivery. I thanked him for his superhero speed and in turn, the girls downed the two pizzas in about three minutes. Post pizza, they played with shields and musical instruments and harmonized to the Disney parody Thank You BP, then were ready to head to destination two: Veteran’s Park.
The new apparatuses for climbing and zipping at Veteran’s were impressive. I hadn’t visited there with the kids lately so it was nice to let them run wild for an hour while my husband (co-shuttler for the night) and I chilled on a park bench. I noted their advanced monkey skills at this age, climbing, swinging, jumping with agility.
After they numbered off diplomatically for who was to go in each car, we made the quick trek to Southdale AMC for the 7:05 showing of Avengers: The Age of Ultron. My 10-year-old son actually wanted in on his sister’s party this year as did my husband. The three of us sat together in the row behind the six girls. True to form at Southdale AMC and 20 minutes of trailers later, the 2:21 movie was rolling. It was a bit of a gamble taking 12-year-olds to see a PG-13 movie so I was a little concerned on the suitability. In discussions after, most gave the movie high ratings for action, pace, story, characters and humor. I thought the action in back to back scenes was a bit intense. I was not following some of the pending end-of-the-world drama either. It had me wondering about an additional suitability rating like CG-35. With this rating, you’d know going in that if you’re over age 35, your child (or a child) will need to explain certain parts of the movie to you.
During the car ride home I received the tweens’ explanation of the movie. I’m still not sure how good and evil got so mixed up within Ultron and why Bruce Banner grew exponentially as The Hulk, when in the TV show he went from 180lbs to 250lbs. One bright friend of Ava’s proclaimed herself the biggest nerd and relayed all the Avengers facts my 35+ mind could fathom. I was starting to catch on, but I couldn’t help but think that a 1.21 versus 2.21 film duration might have lessened the confusion.
The movie trailers and length put us home at 9:48, just in time for a rapid fire light of 12 candles (not possible), the birthday song, cake and ice cream. The girls’ timely parents all arrived, some yawning, at or very close to 10:00. I’m such an efficiency girl that I note all five guests were out the door and it was quiet by 10:17.
Ava was exhausted, but happy with her party turnout and the reminder that school’s out for summer. She went to bed. I reflected on the sweetness of her last tween-year birthday, the age of 12 and the lateover while enjoying my piece of cake. Then I went directly to bed myself with no worries of preparing pancakes for six in the morning.