And then, sometimes, you nail it.
F hates that his birthday and party always fall during Christmas break, and that we never have it together enough to get invites out early enough, and so mostly the school kids he wants to invite don't come.
So we got e-invites out more than two weeks before the party. Which feels like nailing it.
There were four people with whom I'd never communicated electronically, who I hadn't heard back from. So I bought paper invites, and I filled out the details and F addressed them.
I figured he'd bring 'em to school tomorrow, but he talked me into driving him to those four houses so he could hand-deliver them. He went up to the houses by himself (well, his sister insisted on joining him, but he went without me). Totally filled him with joy to see his school friends outside of school, and to have something fun to give them.
Then on the way home, he casually mentioned that he had done some algebra in school today. I bought him an algebra book over the summer, but we abandoned that project pretty early due to his lack of interest, which is fine. I knew he had been lugging the book to school in his backpack, but I thought he was, um, carrying it around as a talisman. Turns out when he finishes his other work he (and one of the kids we delivered an invite to) work on algebra problems on their own. He had no idea what he was doing, but he was having fun.
So tonight we did an algebra lesson. He didn't want to go upstairs to get ready for bed because he was having too much fun.
R insisted I write out math problems for her, too.