Amsterdam Birthday

Having a party in the city carries with it some challenges. Most of them have to do with transportation. Neither we nor many of our friends have cars, which can make transporting eight rambunctious boys a bit of an adventure. That’s why as far as I’m concerned, the perfect summer party is what Raj chose last year: pizza in the park a few blocks from our house, with the Minecraft ghast piñata his mother cleverly made out of toilet paper. 

But the kid is growing up, and wanted something a bit more exciting this year. To wit: laser tag! The closest place that offers laser tag is under a bridge in the centre of the city. Which meant that I had to set out from school walking with all the boys. 

The closest tram stop is across Museumplein. 

Once on the tram, they took possession of an entire section, and played musical chairs every time the tram stopped, over my all-too-faint protestations. 

At one point they discovered that the tram had no driver! This occasioned horrified delight. 

Of course, we were sitting in the back. The front of the tram had a driver. 

Shortly after we exited, Raji discovered that in all the excitement he had left his backpack on the tram. Anyone who has ever left a bag behind on public transport understands the sudden sickening realisation, the immediate mental review of exactly what was inside it, and the mad dash back to find the bus, tram, train, or whatever, disappearing inexorably into the distance. 

But we ended up being lucky. We were at Central Station, so there were long lines of people waiting to board what I was almost certain was the same Tram 2 we’d just left. I gave the boys strict instructions not to move, and insinuated myself halfway up the line of tourists. Once aboard, I raced to the back of the tram, grabbed the backpack, and leaped off heroically just as the doors closed.

In that instant, I did belatedly contemplate  what a disaster it would have been if the tram had gone off with me inside, leaving a bunch of nine and ten year old boys stranded at Central Station until I managed to make my way back. Happily, I was quick enough that we didn’t have to discover how that would go. 

Once I got back to the kids, we still had what google described as an eleven-minute walk to the laser tag venue. Of course, with kids that’s more like at least twenty minutes of constantly making sure they’re staying out of the way of busses, trams, cars, bicycles, scooters, and pedestrians with large rolling bags. 

Meanwhile, Tony had been making the same journey by bicycle, with his saddle bags and basket loaded up with party supplies, including the cake, which I had left in its springform pan in the hope it would survive the bumpy journey. 

It did, and we were all reunited at PowerZone. 

The boys assembled teams,

And donned their gear. 

Tony and I supervised the first round. 

After laser tag there were presents and cake. 

And then a long trip back to our house with some of the boys for a sleepover. 

As soon as I dropped the boys off at home with Tony, Axa and I got on our bikes to head to a movie and some mother/daughter time. 

I’m not sure what time the boys finally dropped off, because I put my earplugs in at 11:30. But I’m up early on a Saturday morning writing this blog post because they  were up by 6:30 having a nerf gun fight. 

I would say that I’m going to relax after they go home, but this evening in some fit of insanity I organised an exciting outing to dinner and then Wonder Woman with several families (and more kids than I’ve even bothered to count).

I’ll see if I can fit a nap in somewhere. In the meantime, I’m glad I have only two kids, and they each have only one birthday. I’ll just be over here yawning as I savour every moment of their childhood. 

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