After a two-week wait, we finally had our friend party for M.’s birthday on Saturday. I think it’s accurate to describe her as being a little wound up Saturday morning.

We went to a place called Monkey Joe’s, which is another in the apparent endless stream of bounce places that are opening all over. We had a special party room reserved, a little helper who took care of everything once we got there, and then a plethora of inflatable slides and climbing walls and bounce apparatuses. The kids went crazy for the first hour, racing all over the place, discovering all the toys, and even invading the area for little ones when they saw L. and me in it. To add to the excitement (and danger) there were a bunch of other parties going on at the same time. So there were hyper kids all over the place, some quite a bit bigger than our girls. C. got wiped out by some kid when she walked in front of him as he was coming down a slide. She popped straight up into the air, just like in cartoons! Some other boys were “mean to her,” and there were some other bumps, but our afternoon was largely incident-free. Which was a bonus.

At cake time we retired to our party room where M. was placed in a special birthday chair. While our helper cut the cake, M. got a very special visit from Monkey Joe himself! So a girl who’s already a little full of herself gets a birthday hug from a person in a monkey suit. There’s going to be no containing her ego now.

Seriously, it was very cute and all of M.’s guests got two chances to give Monkey Joe hugs as well. I was holding L. during all of this. Her eyes were glued to M.J. and she kept chirping and leaning away to try to get at him. I finally took her over and let her get a hug, but I think she just wanted to chew on him for awhile.

We had cake,* opened presents, and after long enough for their blood sugars to spike, the kids got to go play for another 30 minutes or so. They all seemed to love the place, and several parents said they were going to go back again. I guess that serves as a full endorsement for all your toddler and grade schooler birthday party needs. M. said, about ten minutes after we got home, that she wanted to go back on Sunday. We explained she would have to wait a little longer than that.

(Can we all agree Costco is kind of incredible? We grabbed a cake at Costco on our way over, letting M. pick the one she liked the most based on the icing and design. She chose a chocolate-iced cake with balloons and flowers on top. Looked good enough. When we started eating it, there was a discussion on what the filling layer was made of, icing or ice cream. I honestly didn’t know. When we got home I looked at the box and saw it was a white chocolate cheesecake filling. That’s right, two layers of chocolate cake, cheesecake filling, off-the-charts icing. It might have been the best cake I’ve ever had. And all for $16.)

As far as gifts, M. got her first Polly Pockets. In fact she got three different kinds. They’re already scattered all over the house and we’re constantly picking up the shoes and other tiny parts that L. could choke on. She also got some great books, a couple games, and a dress.

So that was our first ever kid birthday party. A pretty big hit overall, and our house was just as clean after as before, which made it worth every penny. Now we can rest two years until C. turns five and we do it again.