Oh my, how glad I am that the Rata Parta is over! I was approaching it with a mix of excitement and dread, and gradually the dread overwhelmed the excitement. By Thursday I was ready to cancel it (of course I wasn’t going to follow through with it…) but once I had let go of the idea of some fancy, enormous cake everything went smoothly. Partly it was a lack of inspiration on the cake front – really I wanted to make a fantail again. I flirted briefly with a continuation on the theme, since Rata is quite into our visiting tui in the camelia outside the kitchen window…
(In lieu of a better photo – it’s pretty hard trying to take a photo while holding a toddler who wants to play with the camera)
I learned some things. Stop inviting my friends to Rata’s birthday – yep, that was one. Separate family/little friends parties, maybe. Anything that will keep numbers down. And delegation. Oh yes.
I was so busy trying to greet/thank/farewell people that I completely forgot that it was a birthday party and our young guests wanted cake. So a lot of them left without cake, and it wasn’t until 4.30 that I remembered we hadn’t done pass-the-parcel (or cake). So I gathered together… about seven children. For about 20 layers of parcel. It was such a long game. We had to convince the kids to keep playing. Each of them got four or five lollies each, so by the time we got to the free-for-all of prettily iced gingerbread hearts (anything to avoid buying lollipops…) they were well and truly over it. Except for one boy, who was about five. He remained very into the game, and probably would have been happy if the rest had wandered back into the fort and he could just unwrap all himself. If things were moving too slowly he’d simply grab the parcel and keep it moving.
So delegation. Find an MC, and find someone to monitor the food. Having made a fine selection of hummus and other dips, I failed to top up all the dipping things, so I was left with lots of uneaten dip and lots of loaves of bread. Kath’s delicious savoury tarts went down a treat, but they didn’t even make it to a plate – people discovered them waiting to be heated and raided the roasting dish, lifting the layers of tin foil and trying the different kinds of filling. STAMPEDE! At least the dishes kind of just did themselves (and thank you little two drawer dishwasher for helping out!).
So, around 5pm we did the cake… and while singing ‘happy birthday’ and holding it I managed to blow out the candles! While I went back to get the matches, some very eager little fingers made their mark in the icing….
Fortunately for all involved, the cake was delicious. But passing it around I discovered the true extent of my tardiness – there weren’t many people left at the party! The same thing happened last year with the cake, and I think by Rata’s third birthday I will get it right – cake at 3pm! Games before!
At least I got to talk to everyone who came this time, some of them more than once. And those who came without children – although a little shell-shocked by the experience – seemed to cope remarkably well. Only one couple ran screaming, fearing a riot during the pass the parcel. Some of those non-breeders even hung out in the fort! A bold move indeed.
In its complete state, the party fort took up the entire playroom, with a fabric ceiling, fort-within-a-fort tent, fridge box tunnel and was screened off from the kitchen by a few pieces of fabric pinned up.
Yep, those pieces of fabric (seen here before the fridge box was added) didn’t last long, though judging by the number of pinholes in the wall someone made a valiant effort to keep them in place. After their demise, I happened to look into the fort just in time to see a few older kids toppling the fridge box, then stamping it flat. What are older kids for but to destroy all in their path? The ceiling stayed intact, as did the fairy lights – a good thing, since I’d borrowed them.
What I hadn’t told our guests was that earlier in the week I’d nearly burned the fort (and house) down. The fabric in the ceiling was all tied to the light fitting in the centre of the room – this crappy fake chandelier thing, with, it turned out, very hot lightbulbs. I turned on the lights in the fort when Rata wanted to play in there, then couldn’t work out what this funny smell was.
Oh that? It’s just some fabric, melting to the lightbulb…
LEARN FROM MY MISTAKES, fellow fort builders… even when you think it’s just a natural fibre, it might not be. The corduroy just quietly smouldered but the green stuff I thought was wool actually melted, which leads me to believe there was something else in there too. In any case, I won’t be turning lights on in forts, however pretty it might look.
Lucky for me, we’re having a family birthday for Rata at her grandma’s house on her actual birthday, so I won’t have to clean up afterwards (though I’m sure I will anyway, as a polite guest) and I won’t have to flit about playing hostess. Sweet life for Rata with two birthday parties.
Meanwhile, I have been and will be working more at my fabulous shoe-shop job and cataloguing photographs for my dad, which I see as funding for futurecrafternoons. I’ve been running a little low on supplies, which means all available crafternoon time has been foiled by lack of resources. But once all the work dries up I will have every Friday free to craft because I have finally set up a nanny-type for Rata once a week. YUSSSSS. In theory, this is to free me up to potentially turn crafting into some kind of an earner, but I have a bit of catching up to do first. With a career comes the need for career-worthy clothing…
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