Wednesday, 18 June 2008

Party Rats

My horoscope for this week tells me, rather sagely I think, that it will be an up-and-down week and whatever happens is going to happen. However, we can choose our choice of response. This is where we have control in our lives. I've been getting quite a taste of that already and today's a Full Moon so heaven knows what may happen by day's end. I figure if I'm going to blog on the positive, I better do it now...

I succeeded in surviving younger daughter's party. I planned it. I organized it. I ran it. And I did it while pre-menstrual.
Twelve little girls attended, not including birthday girl. I've taken up the rash policy of inviting all the girls in younger daughter's class, with the idea of skirting little-girl-class-politics. This policy seemed less rash two years ago when there were nine girls in the class. There are now seventeen. So I sent out the rather fiddly invitations two weeks ago and waited for responses, half-terrified that I'd only get two (which did happen three years ago when younger daughter was at her previous school), and even more terrified that all seventeen would accept as we usually only get one refusal per year. This year we got four, one last-minute due to a family emergency. Also three last-minute acceptances accompanied with profuse parental apologies and they'd been so busy... And no one else is? Actually, my favourite was from the single dad (not that this is relevant) who told me he was sure his daughter had passed on the acceptance at school. (To whom? The over-worked teacher who knew nothing of the party? My daughter with her memory challenges? What did he think the phone number and email on the mailed invitation with the letters RSVP were for?)
Anyway. We had a Ratatouille party. With real ratatouille. I found two simple recipes, chopped up the ingredients, bagged them and labelled them "Ratatouille 1" and "Ratatouille 2", divided the girls into teams, and crowded them into the kitchen in our semi-detached, where the team captains were passed the baggies to sauté in two saucepans. We then played a kind of team Pictionary game where they drew collages of song lyrics and had the other teams guess while the stews simmered. The girls did a champion job and we had ratatouille for dinner for two nights. I called the activity "Rate-atouille" and the first recipe won out marginally over the second. I think only half the girls volunteered to taste it; the rest tackled "egg-rats" (which you can see in the bottom of the third picture), veggies and dip, crackers and French cheeses, and of course, totally demolished the various bowls of chips. Fine dining indeed.
We had begun the party decorating cupcakes, and finished it with younger daughter blowing out curlicue candles on the backs of ice cream rats with licorice tails and jelly ears. Then she sat down and opened way too many presents. For some reason, the tradition in this neighbourhood is to give three to five presents in one gift-bag, which I suppose is really looking a gift horse in the mouth, but this meant younger daughter received about thirty gifts. She was getting rather overwhelmed by this point, but held it together admirably, although I had to ramp up the prompting toward the end.

Each girl then politely approached me for her goodie bag, thanked me for inviting her, and departed with the appropriate parent. It's a very courteous neighbourhood (except the drivers). I sat down at the computer and waited for the earliest illegal showing of the latest Doctor Who.

I've been planning theme parties for my girls for the past dozen years. For four or five of those years, the girls overlapped and I had to plan two parties within the space of one month. I sincerely hope next year is the last. I mean, each one is a real learning experience, but it's time for the tee-shirt, doncha think?

Afterthought: Re-reading this, I really come across as an ungracious hostess. The girls were pleasant and cooperative, and the usual little guardian angels took turns guiding younger daughter over the social hurdles. I also forgot to mention that the Resident Fan Boy and elder daughter availed themselves and filled in so many gaps, so I could supervise and take pictures. Do I sound a little less peevish now?


P said...

Wow - that sounds very impressive and elaborate. You must be ready for a nap.

Persephone said...

Actually, last weekend a vegetative state was looking pretty darned good. I was bagged and jet-lagged. Without actually having gone anywhere.

"Impressive" and "elaborate" weren't the goals, but simplicity ain't always simple, is it?

Vanessa said...

Persephone, it looked like the proper girl's birthday party (and having been a little girl once, I'm familiar with the territory). I always appreciated the hard work my mother in particular put into my birthday shindigs a kid, and it was never lost on me. Congratulations for pulling this off! :-)

Persephone said...

Dear Vanessa,

It's delightful to hear that you remember your parties and your mother's part in them. My elder daughter claims to not remember much of the ten theme parties I did for her --- except when I set her Hogwarts ice cream cake afire when she was eight. (The turrets were ice cream cones, you see and when I lit the candles...)