all partied out. . . as my gary turns three
So I survived! Well, just about. The longest two hours of my life came to an end last Saturday at 5pm when my son Gary's third birthday party wrapped up.
Tony, aka Janey Mack, the colourful clown, had packed up his suitcase, and waved good-bye, the kids (yes, all 19 of them) had been safely given back to their rightful owners, and I finally sat down and poured myself a most welcome glass of wine.
A week later I still look back and think, how on earth did I manage that? My ears are still ringing -- who knew that such little people had such great big voices?
Before the party started I had no idea how many kids were coming. A quarter of people had RSVP'd, three-quarters had not. The magician who was also a clown -- a wonderful chap who I had found on the internet -- had asked me how many were coming. I told him that I was probably expecting about 12 to 15 kids. As it was mid-term I thought a lot of people would be away.
Then I reckoned that some kids would be sick (there's an awful lot of flu and colds going around right now) so I thought my estimation would be just about right. But no, I got more than I bargained for.
You see, some parents dropped off more kids than they were supposed to. "You don't mind, do you?" some said, giving me a kind of cheeky smile as they dropped off their child and his brother/ sister/cousin/whatever and skipped off down the driveway without so much as a backwards glance.
Hey, I thought I was organising a kiddie party, not running a pop-up creche! Aw, I'm joking. Anyway, who can blame them? If I was a mother of two or more I'd probably do anything to get a couple of hours to myself on a Saturday afternoon.
Anyway, I'd bought treats and sweets to feed a playground of kids so a few extra thrown in wasn't going to make too much difference.
Of course, no party is completely without drama and one little boy had an angry fit when I took the nicely wrapped present from his hands to give to my own son. It was quite funny actually, because my Gary doesn't really like giving presents either, preferring to think that all presents belong to him. I actually don't know what I would have done without my family though.
My sister, Tara, was on pond watch to make sure nobody jumped in, dad was on knife watch in the kitchen, ensuring that nobody helped themselves to anything sharp, and mum was in the playroom making sure everyone was fed and watered. As for me, I spent most of the time taking kids to the toilet and drying tears when somebody started missing their mum.
I was so tired afterwards I needed to sleep for about three days. I have renewed respect for anybody who works in a playgroup or a Montessori.
When I was younger I thought that it would be such a lovely job working with kids all day. But I'm glad I chose to write instead. Believe me, it's a lot easier on the ears!
>Marisa is the author of Along Came a Stork