February 28th, 2008
A few weeks ago, we celebrated Toots’ birthday party at our local JW Tumbles (Pt. Loma).
It made me wonder why I ever do stuff for birthday parties. Things like planning and preparing and cooking and assembling and shopping. I just didn’t need to with JW Tumbles and let me say, the opportunity to do nothing came at the perfect time, since I’d been doing a bunch of something all month.
It worked like this: I called and asked to reserve the date and time I wanted.
I didn’t get it. But my third option ended up working beautifully (4PM on a Saturday) because kids would be done with naps and as an added bonus, they’d tire themselves out from all the JW play, that they’d fall asleep on the way home and mom and dad could get back to doing what they used to do on Saturday nights pre-kid. (Just be sure to lock the bedroom door first. You don’t want someone interrupting your Trivial Pursuit game.)
After I reserved the date, I paid a reservation fee ($95), that would go toward the full price of having the party at JW Tumbles ($345). I know this is a bit of cash. But I’m now in the habit of paying for my sanity and it’s been working out well for me.
JW does ask that you bring your own paper goods and any food you’d like (given the time, I just brought snacks — fruit, pretzels, goldfish — and cupcakes). But the real magic is that JW decorates for you, so you walk into the venue and see birthday magicalness all over the place. Magicalness you didn’t have to stay up late or get up early to create. The place itself is brightly colored and spacious. There’s slides and zip lines and smooshy blocks and this and that and the kids loved it.
Once the guests all arrive, the games start. Our host (“Funner Trainer”) ended up being a delightful, young guy with a Disney PG movie sense of humor (meaning it appealed to the kids AND adults). Best of all, he talked to the kids like they were people, not little Muppet heads with no brains. So, I liked that.
For about an hour, the kids romped and gallivanted and rollicked while the adults just stood there, staring. Most of us couldn’t get over the fact that we weren’t managing the fun, wiping noses or breaking up fights. Also, I think not ONE kid went to the bathroom.
So after we remembered how to talk to each other, the adults had some fun, too.
The Funner Trainer soon brought the kids to the table where they re-fueled on snacks, juice and cupcakes. Then it was back out to the action. Things ended with a “snowball fight” between parents and kids and a walk down the “red” carpet, where each guest took turns practicing their Fashion Week trot, while the birthday girl handed them their gift bags.
Then, I left. And someone else cleaned up.