Louisette is turning two, so we had a party this morning. It has been my belief for a while that first birthday parties are about the parents celebrating having kept their bundle of joy alive for a whole year. It’s certainly not about the child, who is usually terrified by the whole thing, and spends their party crying (we were lucky; Louisette is a very social creature and she had a great time. I think it also helped having it in an unfamiliar environment, so she didn’t get thrown by a whole crowd being in her safe place).
This year’s birthday party, in my mind, was all about school. Louisette is in day-care (has been for about six months – long enough for her to have genuine friendships), and the centre is also a school, which she and her friends will attend (and where I work – putting me in the peculiar position of knowing the children very well, and the parents not at all – I learnt several names for the first time because of this party). I invited her whole class, and ended up with all three of the other girls (awesome! A full set!) and one of the boys. My ambition was to get a photo of all four girls together, and I technically succeeded twice – this is the better one:
I’m pleased with that, despite the facial expressions. I also caught the three girl cousins together –
Louisette was thrilled with her balloons and with her paint (we bought the paint for the party, and this was the first she knew of it):
It was a raging success, I think. Today’s weather, like at her party last year, was always going to be hot – over thirty degrees – but fortunately my parents bought us a gazebo for Christmas (we had NO idea, and it’s just brilliant and beautiful), and my father-in-law brought over a huge length of shadecloth and clipped it to the roof and fence – turning half the yard into a kind of tent. That meant we were able to stay outside, which meant that all the post-party mess is out there – all the crumbs, all the water (there was water play too!), all the icing smears, all the paint, all the watermelon juice! The difference in post-party stress levels is amazing. Half of it gets hosed away or put straight in the wheelie bin. This was SO much easier than last year, when everything had to be carried to and from a park, because we had nowhere else to go.
Louisette had fun, and so did I. The stress of it was enough to make me physically sick beforehand (my pregnancy is severely messing with me) but I feel very good about it all now – and it was enjoyable during the party, too. I lay down afterwards to recover and was trying to think of anything I could have done better, and I basically came up with one thing: A bigger water jug for outside.
In my hormone-addled mind, that is a truly epic achievement. It was very brave of me to invite people who I fundamentally don’t know, and to get into (washable) paint for the first time (ever seen a group of toddlers with paint?). I’m terribly impressed with myself, knowing I could never have pulled this kind of event off a few years ago – let alone while sick (I’m not even going into work this year – at all).
(And CJ managed to set up a slideshow of Louisette photos, for which I was very grateful – I spend MANY hours sorting through the last year of Louisette pics, and a birthday slideshow was the perfect result.)