Rosie comes to me last night, “Mom, next time you go to the supermarket can you please buy strawberries?”
“OK” I mumble not really paying attention because I get approximately 1 bazillion requests starting with “Mom, next time you go to the supermarket ……………”.
ZZZZZPHUTTT!!!!!!!!! I wake up.
I then start looking around the kitchen ………. In corner number 1 we have a fine display of slightly off apples. Just down from corner number one the brown bananas are resting. A month ago Nutella was the rage and now it lays lonely in the depths of the grocery cupboard. I just know the strawberries are going to hit the same fate.
The thought of eating the apples, Nutella, bananas and now strawberries seriously outweighs reality.
Anyway …………. onto the party. I REALLY think, that, for a kid, the thought of having a birthday party seriously outweighs the reality which a party brings. Over the years the most stressed I have ever seen a kid, is at their own party when things dont go according to “thought-vs-reality”.
I remember (and the parents reading this will too), one child who hit the ceiling because their mother put sparklers on her cake instead of candles, the time when all the kids vomited over the lounge because they ate too much of the dreaded combination of hotdog-sweets-cheapfizzycooldring (my house), the time when hitting the pinyata turned into a war zone (my house), the time when the little sister showed all his friends her new pajamas …….. but most of all I remember a time when, years ago, a 13 year old girl had a party and her best friend disappeared half way through with another friend and ruined her day. Parties are bad news.
So when Rosie came to us and said she wanted a house party for her 13th, my heart hit the floor. The last couple of years we have swopped out party for pony camp. Sent a cake to the pony camp and we had a win-win.
“Dont you want a HUGE wad of money instead?” We offered desperately.
“NOPE ………. I havent had a party for 3 years and I want a party” She answered shattering all our hopes.
“OK Rosie, give me a full list of who you want to invite, how the party must pan out and what you want to do and eat”
VOEPS!!!!!!!!!!!! She hauls a page out of her pocket.
It reads as follows:
Kids to come here after school.
Afternoon just spent chilling which should include a slippyslide, canoes, paddle skis, surfboards and snacks.
Get ready for party
Boys to arrive and have party, which should include, good music, jam jars, mini hamburgers, mini hotdogs, sweets, disco ball, marshmallows, and, (wait for it) a photobooth!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Boys to leave at 10.00 pm
Girls to stay for sleepover and video.
Everyone to leave on Saturday.
Under this she has a list of 44 kids that she would like to invite to the party.
I eye this lot out ……… slowly ……….. very slowly I say to her, “Rosie we will have to negotiate a bit here ……..” Her face drops.
I suddenly wish we were in a position to whisk these 40 kids to an exotic location have thee party and come home ……… NO!!!!!!!!!!!!! the bank account screams at me.
I start with the list …….. on it are her FAB new group of friends, some of her FAB class friends, her FAB St Francis friends, her FAB Woodridge friends and her FAB J-Bay friends. Also on the list are 2 girls that I know have made her life hell over the last year. “Why them?” I ask, “Im too scared not to invite them, and maybe they will be nice to me if I invite them” (They were not …….. but this is another story). Anyway I then said to her that about a quarter of the people wont make it due to other commitments – only 2 couldnt make it.
So this is what we did:
Slippy-slide – We bought a HUGE (well 40 meters) of black plastic.
Jam Jars – (these are fancy drinks served in jars) We found 50 jars and made our own
PHOTO BOOTH – Would have cost about R2000.00 we borrowed props, set up a corner and did our own.
We decided boys and girls all to arrive at once ………. boys to leave at 10 and the remaining 28 girls to sleep over.
Well ……. the day of the party arrived and the kids all arrived at 2. And in retrospect they were amazing. They just got on with it. The boys set up the slippy slide and found a cricket bat …… that was them. The slippy slide, canoes and just about anything that floats were an absolute hit. At about 7 the kids put the music on and danced their socks off.
Only once did the kids have a request ……… “Uncle (Oom)”, the one boy came to Frans, “Do you have blits and wood so we can make a night fire on the beach”
These 40-odd kids just got on with it, nothing fancy supplied, all from different schools, towns, different backgrounds and languages …….. they got down to having a great time.
When they boys left they all shook Frans hand. Then the girls settled in for a PJ party with videos and lots of giggling.
Sometimes the thought of something is as great as the actual.
Now back to the strawberries ………..