You know it was a good party when the next morning you find plastic animals in a tupperware box in the fridge, and sequins on the shower wall. We didn’t even have it at home, either.
Lara’s 6th on birthday party on Saturday was probably the best party we’ve ever thrown. Seems daft to say it of a kids’ party but levels of enjoyment were pretty stratospheric. Even the adults seemed to hang around and have a good time – though I didn’t get to talk to anyone much at all, of course. Far too busy entertaining the kids.
We kicked off at high noon. Only just managed to set up (more or less) even though we’d got there at just gone 11 AND Anna very kindly turned up to help us. She sat there blowing up balloons with the newly-discovered technique of the electric pump, sterling job of it. Also despite my having come in on Friday and set up the lights and tables and so on. Just laying out the food and putting the drinks in the coolers, setting up the stereo, few last-minute glitches when I realised that (despite supposedly having checked things out) that we needed an Australian socket divider… AND there was a slight glitch which I only realised about 30 minutes into the party: I’d put a whole load of soft drinks into a fridge upstairs the day before, but now that room was locked and there was no-one to let us in! Suddenly remembered when I saw the kids drowning in orange squash and not much else. Luckily I had the number of the lady who rented the place out and she was there in ten minutes. Boy those kids were hot.
In her leopard dress before the party, and a rare snap of a quiet moment explaining the next game... someone opened the doors to let the smoke out and the light in at this point...
Presents still everywhere, ogling them all with Lillian while we did clean-up afterwards
That was the sum total of the mishaps. I did the kids’ entertainment, and Ian looked after everything else: food, drinks, talking to parents and dealing with miscellaneous kids’ requests. They played games, danced, and were absolutely mesmerised by the disco fog – wow that was a success. So much of a success that I finally had to unplug it because I couldn’t see where any of them were. Glad I only got a 400 watt one – nearly laid hands on a 1000 watt monster, god knows what they would have done with that, we would probably still be searching for them. The place looked stunning, what with the disco lights and the lasers and the fog and the balloons and the bubbles. Loads of the kids dressed up (theme: ‘jungle disco’), although many of the boys ended up in just shorts and not much else apart from a generous covering of sweat.
Some games were particularly successful – it’s always interesting to see what takes their fancy and what doesn’t. ‘Stuck in the Mud’ seemed very well-appreciated. Here I put a gorilla mask on Ian, and he chased them round the place to ‘tag them. Once you got ‘tagged’ you had to stand still with legs apart until you got ‘unstuck’ by someone crawling under your legs. I missed a lot of this one because it happened just when the woman came to let me into the studio upstairs but I saw some real honest-to-goodness serious running and screaming going on there: I think the gorilla mask was pretty effective. What with the dark and the smoke n’all.
Then there was the surprisingly popular ‘Sardines’. Actually they didn’t play this quite as you’re meant to. It’s meant to be hide-and-seek in sort of reverse: one person hides and everyone else looks for them. If you find them you’re meant to hide with them quietly. As it was they immediately dragged them back en masse and we hid again and again, but great success. I pumped up the fog for that one.
‘Limbo’ naturally made an appearance. Another one where I had to go off to do something and when I came back the kids had taken over from the adults I’d left in charge and had the bar almost touching the floor… it had turned into a sort of ‘who’s the thinnest’ contest and they were crawling along underneath it very happily. Didn’t quite realise until then just how many of those kids are extraordinarily skinny. You’d hardly imagine a ferret could get under the gap they left.
The piñata was possibly the shortest-lived piñata in the history of all bashings: they saw it being put up and immediately formed an orderly line, eager the whack the crap out of it. Only two little girls got to take the baseball bat to it (and that’s at two whacks each) before it gave up the ghost and splatted 3kg of sweets all over the floor. It was Lillian who bashed it open and she was so surprised at the unprecedented success she quite forgot to dive in as the mass of children swarmed around her. There was, however, a small hiatus after that as kids took their gains into corners and came out very sticky about ten minutes later.
Another good one was ‘Centipedes’. You get into lines and bend down, extend one hand to the person behind you from between your legs, and take the hand of the person in front of you with the other. Then you race. Once again, it didn’t quite go to plan – the whole competitive thing sort of escaped them and besides trying to separate them into groups was like getting your fingers unstuck from messing around with Superglue. They ended up doing ‘Centipedes’ over and over again, just one long line like a manic Conga running round and round the hall at increasing velocity.
Likewise, there was (what I thought was) a very simple game of ‘Scooby Snacks’. This was party designed to ensure that the kids noticed the food and got something into them: they do tend to get carried away. All you do is form two lines, and run to the table in a relay. You grab a ‘scooby snack’ of your choice, and run back to the line next one. First team to get all Scooby snacks eaten wins. Well, first time off they didn’t get it at all: I yelled “Scooby Snacks!” and the whole lot surged forward and had a snack. Good job the tables were long. After about five minutes we gave it another go, and this time they sort of managed and got the jist of it. It was very amusing to see them get carried away, though. Quite a few of them entirely forgot what was happening the moment they got to the table, and just stood there cramming their faces while everyone was yelling: ‘come back, come back!’. It also didn’t seem to matter that the other kids had just watched their friends do it, once they got to the table they often seemed to fall into exactly the same trap. Still, they all seemed to enjoy it. Got their attention for a bit of food, and after a while I declared it a last Scooby Snack for everyone and left them to it as the tables disappeared.
Cake and Happy Birthday wound up the events, of course. Lara stood there smirking and utterly chuffed as 30-odd friends stood round and sang her Happy Birthday and blew out her candles very happily. The cake itself did sterling work, and despite the number of people seemed more than ample for them… we came back with over half of it. Well I suppose it really was quite large. There’s a single grainy picture somewhere, I’ll try and get it posted.
Talking of pictures… ahem. Sorry. Ian tried, but he was just too busy, and it wasn’t to be thought of as far as I was concerned. There are about five rather blurry shots, I’ll put them up but it was just impossible. There really wasn’t a second to spare. You’ll just have to take my word for it that it was spectacular.
Once they’d all left (with their bags of two giant cookies each), Anna once again kindly stayed back and helped up clean the place up, endlessly sweeping up the debris of popped balloons, cups and plates, party poppers, squashed sweets and the odd discarded item of clothing. Meanwhile Lara and Lillian went through the presents and opened every single one… without anyone looking, so unfortunately we now have no idea who gave her what. I shall have to send out an email and/or ask everyone because they were all absolutely wonderful, and she really wants to know who gave her what now. It’ll take a while to find out. I can safely say she has never, in her life, got that volume of presents. Damn, I don’t know ANYONE who’s got that many presents, ever! It’s still like a toyshop in the sitting room, I have no idea where they’re all going to go. Can’t believe how lavish everyone was, you should see some of that stuff.
It took a while for all the excitement to die down after we got home. I think we were al still pumped up for a long time, and didn’t go to bed all that early on Saturday but SUNDAY – woah. Really hit then. Lara retired before 7, and by I picked myself up from the sofa where I’d been falling asleep and went off to bed. The Mr wasn’t far behind at all.
And so, with a lurch, we’re trying to get back into the groove again. She turned six with a helluva bang, though.