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Debbie Ridpath Ohi reads, writes and illustrates for young people. Every few weeks, she shares new art, writing and resources; subscribe below. Browse the archives here.

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« cottage | Main | sara is five »

school birthday party

So I went over yesterday afternoon to help out with Sara's school birthday party. There were seven little girls, all around Sara's age...Sidney, Greta, Amanda, Milla, Catharine, Gabriele, Pippa. Apparently there was one boy invited, but he refused to come when he heard there were no other boys there.

I mocked Ruth for her elaborate preparations before the guests arrived. "I feel like I'm preparing for a coming war," I teased her. Her reply: "You haven't been to as many of these birthday parties as I have."

There were balloons in the hallways, pink and white crepe paper streamers around the backyard, craft materials set up in the dining room. When Sara's guests began arriving, they were shepherded into the dining room, where Ruth and I did crafts with them. I was pretty impressed with Ruth's set-up...each little girl had a choice of crafts: a flower in a miniature plastic flowerpot with pipecleaner stem and plasticine base, a fridge magnet insect, or a puppet. Craft supplies included glitter, glue, miniature pom-poms, felt shapes, colourful feathers, googly eyes, popsicle sticks, pipecleaners. Ruth also did face-painting. After crafts, the girls played with Sara's toys in various areas of the house, never more than five minutes at a time. Remember that scene in Toy Story when the little boy and his friends explode into his bedroom, play for a few minutes, then explode out into another part of the house? Same scene exactly. Lots of giggling, yelling, pounding of feet. At one point they were all in Ruth and Kaarel's bedroom, jumping up and down on the bed. A minute later they streamed past me (I flattened myself against the wall) in a flurry of ribboned hair and dresses, shrieking and giggling, trampling down the stairs again.

Outside, Ruth organized a number of games, most with prizes (everyone got a prize at some point, of course). In one of them I played my penny whistle (we opted for outdoor music instead of the piano inside since it was such nice weather) as the girls passed a large wrapped present around the circle. When I stopped playing, then the girl holding the gift got to unwrap one layer and keep the present that was contained in that layer. The very last package had toy rings for everyone. Kaarel organized all the food and kept cleaning up behind the scenes. We had pizza and chips and cheezies and orange juice and apple juice outdoors on a large blanket spread out on the grass beneath the trees, and then a Cinderella birthday cake. Then this the time all the gifts were opened, the girls' parents had arrived to pick them up. Each girl took home her craft, prizes, and a loot bag. It seemed like only minutes later that the guests were gone; it was as if a giant (pink) whirlwind had swept through the area, leaving in its path strewn handfuls of half-eaten cake, pizza crusts, and crumpled wrapping paper.

Where was Annie? At the zoo with my dad...Ruth had wisely asked him to take Annie out of the house for the afternoon. They came back and had some leftover pizza and cake while the rest of us rehashed the events of the past hour and a half. Unanimous vote: a successful party.

I staggered home and soaked in the tub (with my beloved Neutrogena Rainbath bubbles) as I speculated on how easy it would be to rule the world if only one could harness the energy of eight five-year-old little girls at a birthday celebration...

p.s. No UT practice tonight; Allison's vacationing in Niagara Falls.

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