Saturday, December 29, 2012

Paris, Family, Jesus, Santa Claus, Friends, Society and Food

A lot of not much is going on around here, but a little of a great deal happened to.

It was like this.

Paris is now 3.  She woke up one Friday and she was three, a number she has been anticipating for quite some time.  She opened her eyes, and her attitude and her understanding and her membership and her lifestyle and she markedly and absolutely turned the cog to three.

A party was held.  I thought I was super organised, with cupcakes and party bags and gluten-free options and the sandpit finished (the latter was all V's doing, actually).

In fact, I only overlooked a few tiny, weeny little things.

The first was realised in the weeks before as Spring waned and Summer approached - the party had been organised for the morning (I was thinking of naps and over-and-done-withs when I concocted that little time-bomb), and it spanned exactly the period of time that 100% sunshine is available in 93.7% of the back yard, otherwise known as the venue.

The second was realised the night prior, but not enacted upon until 1/2 an hour before the start time - no drinks organised.  Slight oversight.  Possibly could have played that one better.

Especially when in conjunction with the fact that time I had written on all of the invitations for the party did not exactly match the time I had stuck in my head that I had written on all of the invitations.

Major expletive-deleted synapse error there.

This meant that the 1/2 an hour before the start time that the drinks absense was acted upon was in actual written fact the start time of the party said drinks were for.

Might strike project management from my career prospects.

(I did crisis-manage that one though, by roping arriving guests into erecting ye-olde tarp-over-clothes-line shelter while juggling the watermelon my sister had brought (thank you BB and see - I can do long-distance organising at times) with the coffee and toast I still hadn't started from breakfast.

We had corralled off an area of under the house so that tools and bikes and powertools weren't subject to little hands.

We seriously underestimated some little hands and the deviousness of their methods to get into anything that someone challenged with a no.

Don't get me wrong - not to the level of "losing a limb or a little child" type of underestimation.

More a "oh my goodness, my poor friend having to be on that level of alertness at all times just to keep up with that monkey" wrestle of the party bags from prying fingers that had discovered one stash of chocolate frogs and was intent on sniffing out as much trouble as he was able.

'Salina and I had cooked up a storm on the actual day of Paris' birthday, and had great delight in litres (kilos? metres cubed?) of exotically coloured buttercream icing and a new piping set to explore.

First, there was the gluten-free option - Not Quite Nigella's Vanessa's Simplest Chocolate Apple Gluten Free Cake - which got the Mama Me Gluten Free's Buttercream Frosting in apple green.

Then I found an Orange Chocolate-Chip Cupcake recipe (the address is but the site no longer seems to exist) - which got orange buttercream.

I made a double-batch of our current favourite chocolate cake, Stay at Home Mum's Moist Chocolate Cake - half went towards the actual birthday cake in pink buttercream for the day of the birthday and the other half became cupcakes and were blessed with purple buttercream.

The night prior, I suddenly did the maths and thought I might not have enough cupcakes, so I did a batch of Banana Cupcakes from a book I currently have from the library - which got buttercream au naturel.

The party bags had been done - with names and all.  Of course, there were a few kids whose names I didn't know or indeed didn't know were set to attend or wasn't sure whether they would be there or not - nothing like having a kids party near Christmas to make you start doubting the validity of an RSVP option.

There were chips, dips, biscuits - the before-mentioned watermelon and indeed, many dozen fine gluten-free sausages.  Oops.  Forgot the bread.

Activities had been planned.  Firstly, there was the sandpit - unfortunately 100% of it fit in the 93.7% of the back yard receiving 100% sunshine, and while there were enough chairs to fit the adult bottoms of the 9.07am arrivals and enough of the 6.3% of the back yard receiving only 85-90% sunshine to dapple the chairs with a dash of bottle-brush, I think the adult members whose bottoms were set to sit around their 100% sunbathed children looked at me and thought I was crazy.

However, I had a plan, and moved into action moving the cubby-house to beneath the banana grove behind the adult bottoms, dragged the swingset to beneath the frangipani and offered a prayer to avert any serious ant attacks from the ferocious insects should the wrong section of the frangipani tree be approached, although which section that should be changed often and thus they had the element of surprise on their sides.

Again, I will skip to the end at this part and advise that no incidents of this nature were reported during or since the party, and therefore I will assume that my prayer worked.  Just in case you were worried.  About the children.  You know.  I appreciate your concern - they did cross my mind.  It may not look like it, but I was aware that children would be in attendance of this party.  Indeed, I am the parent of one such children, and the level of attention and care that I exhibit in my primal party planning skills are in keeping with the level of attention and care that I use in every day parenting.  As I have one that has survived until adolescence I feel it is an endorsement of this strategy.

 'Salina and a friend of hers and some older children pulled out the buckets of play dough we had created (This link is for Natural Parenting Tip's Easy Peasy No Cook Play Dough) and various cutters and they played cooking and mixing colours - we now have 3 full buckets of multi-coloured (but gradually morphing into new conglomerations) play dough that no-one will relieve us of (its only a bad thing in the way that we have a half a shelf devoted entirely to play dough, and if you think Christmas and leftovers and watermelon and suddenly a half a shelf is a valuable piece of real estate).

We (read people who looked at me and took over organising for me at this point) then handed out watermelon (we had drinks available by this stage - we weren't THAT bad) and iced water and cleaned up the play dough and I got the cupcake holder and bevy of cupcakes and candles organised and the older kids set up a bubble-blowing station and bubbles were blown and cakes were artistically arranged and candles were inserted.

I was amazed that Paris did as well as she did - she is not the centre of attention seeker by any stretch of the imagination, and even noticing that she is singing or dancing by one person can send her into a fit of shyness, let alone the virtual turning inside out of self that can occur when total strangers' attention is brought toward her in any shape or form - the fact that she accepted the singing and attention with grace, and she (with a little bit of help from her big sister) blew out the candles was beautiful and astonishing.  They all fell upon the cakes.

We then opened presents - she was very much blessed with all manner of toys and clothing and delights and accoutrements - Dora was suitably celebrated, as were the colours purple and pink, and tutus.

After this, a craft table was made (I am just realising how much work 'Salina did) and sausages were cooking (ditto for V), party bags were finalised (and there were still enough chocolate frogs - victory) and I found my discarded coffee with chips floating in it and some not-so-ferocious (yes, we do co-habitate with several varieties of varying intensities of ferociousness ants) ants swarming on my breakfast toast.

At some point my mother went out to get the bread, people left to travel far afield for Christmas, "frogs in the pond" (aka massive sugar-rush - little hands managed to toke about a half-dozen of them before my friend could pounce), party bags were handed out, balloons were blown and busted, whistles were blown, sausages were devoured (with bread) (or without, in the case of the gluten-free requirees), farewells were exchanged, party bags were handed out, messes were tidied, naps were ensured, dishes were stacked, shut down was achieved - and there were still 2 hours until it was all set to start again...

(I know the title does somewhat suggest that this post might also have touched upon the subjects of Family, Jesus, Santa Claus, Friends and Society, but I am exhausted - and the next party hasn't even started, so although these were all very worthy subjects, I think we all need a bex and a good lie down.  Don't you?)

(You may have noticed that all but one of the photos accompanying the post were indeed taken by My sister, mainly due to the fact that I hadn't found the camera to charge the batteries to take photos - and my mobile, which is the current camera of choice due to the first excuse, whilst on my person, neither took photos nor indeed noticed messages from various guests advising their timing - I am typing this and thinking WT expletive-initial-deleted was I doing while running around "ko kokosh bez glave"!!! )


Debby said...

I never remember to get photos during the truly big moments, being far too busy soaking in the big moment.

I've got many birthday parties under my belt, and believe me, I don't remember a one that was perfectly planned. The good news is, the kids remember the good times and don't realize my shortcoming at all.

The most memorable birthday party was when we had a housefull of little girls. I heard the cat at the door, went to open it, whilst keeping a close eye on the activities in the livingroom. The cat marched in and promptly dropped a not quite dead but certainly bedraggled chipmunk who began to run for his very life as the cat chased him. And I chased the cat. And little girls screamed bloody murder.

Ah yes.

But that had nothing at all to do with planning, now, did it?

jeanie said...

Thanks Debby - that would certainly liven up a party (and make it memorable for all)

BB said...

It was lovely really... so great to see Paris enjoying herself in a crowd (thank goodness for bubbles, eh?). Glad to assist in the watermelon department!


Mrs Catch said...

Three year old parties are SO much fun. But yes, a lot of work. Glad you survived. She's gorgeous.