Friday, September 12, 2008

After the party - September 3, 2008

Well we have finally done it.

The 6-year old party of the century had been concluded.

And a good time was had by all!

When it comes to kids parties I am of the firm belief that it isn’t a party unless the adults have a good time too. When I sent out the invitations we gave the parents the opportunity to leave their kids for a few hours or stay and enjoy the festivities. No one left. Everyone stayed with his or her kids and everyone had a good time. Maybe its because I was serving Sangria. Maybe it was because there was chili, macaroni and cheese, fresh buffalo mozzarella, cole slaw and a bunch of goodies. Maybe its because there was a balloon artiste extraordinaire. Whatever the reason everything worked out great. The kids went upstairs for most of the beginning of the party and made a lot of noise and the grown-ups had a chance to talk and catch up. Pete, my balloon guy was getting ready so I had a game planned.

“TIME TO PLAY PASS THE BOX!! Hey kids wanna play?!” Some said yes, some said no but by the time we got started everyone was on board especially my aunt who convinced everyone she was 6. So we sat in a circle and passed a box while some music played. I think it was the Ramones. The person holding the box when the music stopped got to take off the wrapping paper. BUT WAIT!! There is more paper underneath, eight layers to be exact. Eventually, we got to the bottom of it and found the pirate ship in the super ball in the plastic packing material in the box.

I had more games planned and more prizes that I gathered from the Scholastic store but we never got to them. Actually it is amazing what we never got to.

I had gotten a face-painting book and planned on putting sharks on some kids faces. I went through the book and pretty much decided that I could handle this but… I forgot to paint faces. I did get to paint some at another party we were invited to the day before school started so all was not lost.

I forgot to have the kids make erasers. There is this really cool stuff called Sculpey. It is polymer clay that changes texture when you put it in the oven. One variety of Sculpey turns into an eraser when it is baked. I figured that since it was a few days before school was scheduled to begin, erasers would be a propos. Its really cool stuff but I am going to have to save it for another party or play date activity.

Nor did we get to decorate shark cookies as we had planned. Unfortunately with the dough production, chilling time and making all the other food the cookies just didn’t materialize. The good part though is that we did get to take them to a party at our friend’s house a few days later. That worked out well. Who can refuse a sugar cookie in the shape of a shark, T-Rex, Sabertooth, brachiosaurus, or Pteranodon?

So if I didn’t get to any of that stuff what did we do? Well, as kids will do, we just had fun. They played dress-up, ate cake, ran around, had balloon sword fights and eventually left with their very own copy of What do Sharks Eat For Dinner? also from the Scholastic store.

I have this thing about goody bags. Some people say, “I don’t get it, we didn’t give away goody bags when I was a kid,” but when I was a kid I do remember goody bags. I like the idea of sending kids away with souvenirs of our party and I know the kids look forward to it. What I try not to do is send the kids home with more stuff that won’t get used or be thrown away. Some of what we have done in the past is to do a craft so the kids can make something and take it away with them (eraser Sculpey anyone?). One year we had the kids use textile paints to paint on t-shirts. That worked well. This year they got books. I think people were appreciative.

I was kind of freaked out about the party this year. It hasn’t been an easy year and the party seemed to be just another thing I had to do. I didn’t like feeling that way but as I got going I began to lighten up and enjoy the process. I ended up having fun cooking, going shopping at the Scholastic store, hanging streamers, and ordering the cake. One thing that’s terrific about Scholastic is that they publish a bunch of titles that you can buy in bulk inexpensively. That helped. Also since the store is dedicated to children the environment is good for shopping for one thing while your kid does something else. Sure you tend to leave with something you weren’t planning on but buying something cool and educational for your kid is really a joy, don’t ya think?