Wednesday, September 14, 2011

And the house is still standing

I suppose when several moms in a row tell you how brave you're being, it probably means they're thinking you poor dumb sap, nice knowing you. But really I didn't think of it as "brave" to host kiddette's 2nd birthday party in our house. There are almost no kids in her school/daycare class, and we weren't sure how many friends of ours with kids were going to show up, so it didn't seem to pay to book a kiddie party place. Plus we tend to invite family and close friends back to the house anyway after one of those shindigs -- which after all are only an hour and a half, and our family/friends are scattered all over several state lines -- meaning we end up holding two parties, basically, with two parties' worth of food. So DH and I shrugged at each other and said, let's just have it here.

We did have a momentary panic when we realized we were expecting 40-plus people, 14 of which were children ages baby to 5. And then we shrugged again. We were going to order pizza anyway, we could figure out some games, we could toss the kids in the back yard if it didn't rain. We have a playroom and a mostly empty living room, on account of we moved here from a condo and are a little light on furniture. It would be fine. And if it wasn't, kiddette wouldn't remember any of it anyway.

Some lessons learned:

• Party hats are a waste of money because they are easily disassembled.

• Pin the Tail on the Donkey is not played at kiddie play places and therefore will not be a hit at your house party.

• Go light on hors d'oeuvres, heavy on juice boxes.

• Your pizza joint may say they'll double-cut a few pies for you, but you will end up doing that yourself with a random kitchen knife -- because you don't own a pizza cutter -- as hungry kids watch.

• The hardest part isn't getting the food, or preparing it; it's serving it to said hungry kids while trying to make sure there's some left for the grownups.

• If your son takes a few buddies upstairs to play in his room, that means they're jumping on the bed.

• If you go to the trouble of creating an iPod playlist for the occasion, the speakers won't work.

We had no particular schedule of events. No clown. No musician. No balloon artist (in fact, no balloons. Kind of a choking hazard). No traveling zoo or costumed pirates/princesses or any of that. Just a bunch of kids running around, and room to run in.

Needless to say, they appeared to have a blast. And the grownups, who were able to mingle and chitchat in a way they can't while watching their kid climb the inflatable slide at a play place, seemed to enjoy themselves as well.

Don't get me wrong -- it was chaos. But the happy kind. I don't think I heard one tantrum or argument (although possibly I was deaf at that point). And since there were adults in nearly every room keeping an eye on things, I was even able to mingle a tiny bit.

I don't think we would do a house party every time. It's definitely more work, in terms of the cleaning and the cooking and the logistics of serving the food. But it was -- dare I say it -- fun.

And as soon as we get the empty gift bags off the floor, toss the tissue paper and boxes and find a spot in kiddette's bedroom for the mini menagerie of plush she got, we'll be back to normal. Ish.


  1. Scissors to cut pizza! Big kitchen scissors, the Fiskars kind are great! I read this years ago and when I can't find my pizza cutter I just reach for the scissors.

  2. OMG you're right, we even have a good pair of kitchen shears. If only I'd remembered that at the time. Next party, I guess.