Now, most people who know me know that I like a good party. Any excuse for a party and I’m there. Most reasons for a party I find acceptable. But a party for your 8 ½ birthday? Even I find that a little bit extravagant. But nevertheless I found myself in a situation where I had to attend a birthday party for an eight and a half year old this weekend. I wasn’t invited to J’s party as a guest per se, more as someone to dump 13 screaming eight year olds on and someone to corral them into playing games.
The programme of events was meant to go something like –
1. Welcome screaming children
2. Take screaming children to the park to play games
3. Come back and do their make-up/costumes
4. Do arts and crafts
5. Eat some food
6. Quietly recover in a corner as they danced to Disney songs
7. Cake and presents
What it actually turned out to be was a lot more harrowing. As I have already tweeted, there should be white wine on hand after every small child’s party. (At this point I’d like to make a public apology to my dear Mum for putting her through this pain).
Admittedly it started by going to plan, but when my boss decided that the roundabout was a good place for L and me to set up base it started spiralling slowly downhill. The games we had on offer were pétanque, skittles, hoopla and something where you had to catapult balls at a frog – maybe they don’t like their international stereotype all that much…. This was all fine until the kids started running up the statue in the middle of said roundabout. I did my best angry shouting but realised that I was mostly shouting in English and that half of them couldn’t understand me. I then employed my mean Parisian stare which seemed to work a treat. Six of the children then proceeded to explain how to play the game moules-frites to me, which is an awful lot like stuck-in-the-mud but a little more gastronomic.
When we went back to the flat I was put on make-up duty. I was handed my tools of hideous eyeshadow and glitter with which I had to turn each child into something slightly different but still keeping a slightly princessy theme to the overall look. I emerged from the bathroom what seemed like an eternity later covered head-to-toe in glitter and a broken woman (no hyperbole there).
Next in store for us was food, thank goodness. Pizza and little balls of potato, which I swear L and me ate more of than any of children combined – applying blue eyeshadow is hard work and requires a lot of sustenance. Whilst they were eating someone thought it was a good idea to play a game of “Guess The Disney Song”, which I could have been quite good at if they weren’t all in French…..This seemed to go on for eons until we finally arrived at a change in the programme. We were to have a dance off instead of arts and crafts, which was lucky for me as I think I may have turned a little Lady Macbeth with a cry of “Is this a dagger I see before me?” (Thank you to Pip for sending in this handy little quotation). One child rather enjoyed dancing to a song from the well-known musical Cats but all I could hear was T.S.Eliot rolling in his grave.
Eventually we got to cake and presents time, which I must admit was rather good as L and I were expressly told that the kids couldn’t have more than two different flavours of ice cream but that these restrictions were not imposed on us. In true teenage fashion, we rather went to town on the frozen delicacy. J then had a blindfold tied around her eyes so that she had to guess which friend was giving her the present by feeling their face. This perplexed me ever so slightly. I’m not sure whether it is some weird French tradition as no one else seemed to find it bizarre but I don’t really want to go to another child’s party to find out this nugget of information about French culture.
In the end I was so glad to get back to my flat. I poured myself a large glass of vino blanco and thus sat in silence to stop the ringing in my ears. Overall it was an interesting Saturday night which I’m still not sure whether I enjoyed or not but I was glad of some quiet yoga and the company of people my own age the next day.