You source 6% hydrogen peroxide, buy alka-seltzer, visit the fireworks store. You purchase nearly a case of 2-liter bottles of diet cola, and enough mentos to make the cashier at the grocery store raise his eyebrows. You research bag bombs -- sandwich bags with vinegar and little packets of baking soda. You clean out small paint canisters for rockets of water and alka-seltzer. You make tee-shirts with iron-on decals saying "Ka-boom!" for each of the guests.
And you make a fudge tunnel cake, in the hopes that it will ooze from the center when you cut it. It doesn't, but that's ok, because it's accompanied by Party Cake ice cream, gross to you, but nirvana to nine-year olds.
The day comes, sunny and 78 degrees, a far cry from the year you did a pirate birthday party when it poured. The boys make bag bomb after bag bomb, laughing as the sandwich bags bubble up with gas until they explode. They drop mentos into diet coke, shrieking as a geyser sprays up twenty feet. They dump yeast into bottles filled with hydrogen peroxide and dish soap, giggling at the foam that erupts. They set up alka-seltzer rockets. They eat cake and ice cream. They hold their ears as the Gingerbread Man launches fireworks from the driveway.
It's not bad being nine. Not bad at all.
Happy birthday, gingerbread boy. You've exploded my world, that's for sure.