We hosted a party for our son this weekend to celebrate his tenth birthday. A pack of ten year olds requires a LOT of direct supervision. In fact, more than a group of five year olds. I know this because we hosted a birthday party for our daughter the day before. The ten year olds required so much supervision that I found myself spending the entire duration of the party on the back deck refereeing the day’s activities and issuing warnings when games of tackle tag got too out of hand.

At one point I noticed one of the guests who was ‘it’ brandishing a tube of toothpaste as he was chasing the other kids around the yard. “Odd,” I thought, but heaven knows I’ve seen my kid pull some funky stuff out of this pockets, so I dismissed it.

About halfway through the afternoon my son (The Boy) pulls me aside in the yard while his guests are headed into the house for food. “Dad,” he says, “I’ve kind of got a problem. I was only joking, I mean it, but I kind of told my friends that if they brought the right ingredients to the house, maybe we’d have a chance to try and build a flash bang grenade.”

This is not as out of left field as it sounds. The Boy is a huge fan of Rick Riordan’s books and it seems that in one of these books one of the characters pulls a MacGuyver manufacturing grenades using toothpaste, bug spray and a third household ingredient that escapes me (even if I could remember, I couldn’t tell you because then this blog would end up on some governmental watch list), encased in aluminum foil with a toilet paper fuse.

The Boy has been greatly enamored of this concept. Even though, he has been told in no uncertain terms that experimenting at this would result in the absolute complete loss of all privileges and prized possessions it seems his mouth got ahead of his brain at school and now his friends were expecting some fireworks.

In hindsight, this not only explains the toothpaste ‘pistol’ during tackle tag, but also explains why one of the guests, upon arriving at the house immediately handed off a wrapped gift (bug spray) for The Boy to a second guest and told that guest in a not so whispered voice, “Here. I brought it, but YOU gotta give it to him!”

After disavowing The Boy of any ideas that they would be experimenting with creating IEDs, I did point out to him that he still owned a box of (Bang Snaps http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bang_snaps) and that if he wanted to share those with his friends and have a bit of fireworks, I was ok with that and would supervise them in the driveway. Which he elected to do.

The real fun started when one of the mothers picked up her child. It seems she knew that her kid was giving our son a partially used bottle of bug spray as a gift and rightfully found that kind of odd. (Yet allowed the kid to gift it anyway!)

When asked our guest responded with, ‘yeah he liked it, but we didn’t get to use it today.’

The mother responded with the obvious, ‘well, no, it’s too cold for bugs today.’

My son, ever helpful answers her with, “no, and I promise I won’t use it to make any grenades.”

Now I know find myself in the somewhat uncomfortable position of explaining that statement and assuring this woman that at no point during the three hours her child was in our care was said child permitted to attempt to manufacture explosive devices.

Then just for good measure The Boy adds, “but we still got to have an explosion!”

I turn and I look at him thinking, “NOW?! Now you decide honesty is the best policy and full disclosure is the way to go? Dude! We SO have to work on your timing and decision making skills!”

We explained the Bang Snaps and I assured her that it was all supervised. Somehow I’m guessing the next time The Boy invites this particular child over for a play date their family is going to have other ‘commitments.’

 

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