the 5th Birthday Party

Bill may not be here, but I refused to let that keep Kaitlyn from having a 5th birthday party. So today… against all sound judgment… I opened my home to nine other children. Two of whom speak French. Only. Luckily, three other moms stayed. I hoped that between the four of us, we know enough French to talk to a four year old.

I thought I’d laid a decent groundwork for the party before we went to London. I bought decorations, filled out invitations, had a list of party games. But I was no where near ready. You cannot go to the store and buy a box of ready-made tea party games. You create them. The first problem in so doing, is that you have to think of the games. The second problem is that you have to find the materials to make the games. (construction paper apparently doesn’t exist here… oh how I miss Target) The third problem is that then you have to do all the work to actually create the game. Finally, you have to convince the kids to play the game.

I had come up with the following activities for the party: dress up using Kaitlyn’s collection of princess attire, crafts (using some foam princess and prince kits I found at Carrefour), coloring, “fix the teapot” instead of pin the tail on the donkey and “tea party twister.”

One of the little French girls had a meltdown over the pink Barbie dress…. between her tears I figured out that she said she thought she should get to wear the pink dress because she couldn’t believe the girl wearing it even knows Barbie. Seemed like quite a grand theory for a little kid. After some rough translating, we agreed on a sharing deal. Whew.

For the fix the teapot game, I made a big paper teapot and ten paper handles that each kid had to try to place in the right spot… while blindfolded and dizzy. That went over ok. No one loved it but no one hated it. The worst was having to decide who would go next. In hindsight, I should have pulled each handle out of the envelope one at a time.. and let that determine who went when.

For the tea party twister, I spent two nights drawing and cutting out crowns, tea bags, tea cups, hearts and spoons which I then taped to the floor. Then, it’s supposed to work just like Twister. Hand on spoon! Foot on tea bag! And so on. The kids sort of got the premise, but could have cared less for it. And they all kept ending up on their butts, so I couldn’t just eliminate the ones who toppled over. I tried to shout out the directions in French, too, but the one little French girl gave up entirely on playing. I finally just said “Qui veut le gateau?” (who wants cake) and they all got up and ran to the table.

At least Kaitlyn was pleased with her cake. I’m no cake decorator. So she was thrilled with her lopsided pink cake with orange flowers that were more like big asterisks.

After cake came Kaitlyn’s favorite part of the day: opening presents. This was the second opportunity of the day to have to determine who went “next.” Mostly, Kaitlyn sat in the middle of the room and the other kids mobbed her holding presents in her face. Honestly, I think Kaitlyn would be hard pressed to think of a better situation in which to find herself. She loved everything she got. Luckily.

Once the presents were open the only way to keep the kids from fighting over the new and old dolls was to send them outside to play. Which left us chasing them away from the pool, pushing them on the swings, and trying to stop them from smashing the door to Kaitlyn’s little cottage on someone else’s fingers. The two French speakers decided it would be loads of fun to ride Kaitlyn’s tricycle down the sidewalk along the side of the house. It’s a pretty narrow sidewalk and a pretty steep hill. So I chased behind holding the seat of the bike, then pushed it on the way back up. One time I lost control and the girl fell off into the grass. She wasn’t hurt and she got up and told me “c’est n’est pas grave.” And I thought only adults said that.

Finally, the parents came to fetch their kids. Kaitlyn carefully gave each his or her goodie bag. She spent what felt like forever this morning while the clock was ticking carefully writing each guest’s name on the “tag” of the “tea bag.” (If the name didn’t fit, she just put the left over letters above the first set of letters. Which was a real problem for Mathilde-Anah.)

The guests seemed happy. Kaitlyn seemed happy. I was happy it was over. Next year Bill had better be here.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.