We were barely able to get the plates down, the cupcake towers loaded, and the balloons tied before people started to arrive. I still have unwrapped streamers, banners, tablecloths, and party signs in a bag in the truck that went completely unused, for crissakes.
And although I'm not a huge fan of parents hanging around just to chit-chat, and wasn't really looking forward to socializing, it certainly seemed to me that there were an inordinate number of parents that just chose to stop, drop, and run this time around.
And some with extra siblings, too.
Which, normally, at an enclosed place, like those pizza party places with the indoor gyms and arcades, you're in a confined space, and assigned several hosts to help you corral the rowdy brood. But not here. We had one. One lone very scared looking little chicky who, after handing out their balls and putters, was never seen nor heard from again.
So, here it is...just a regular California Saturday. It's sunny and gorgeous, and the place was PACKED!!! It was, therefore, truly shocking to me that parents we don't even know so eagerly bailed.
I. Just. Would. Never.
Obviously, there were a few parents we know very well, and are very familiar with their children, and so had no problems at all taking them in for a few hours. But, geez, Louise, people, there's no waiver, no guarantee, no contract that we sign that when you drop your kid off with me, that they're gonna be in one piece or, heaven forbid, even HERE, whenever you decided to come back for them. I mean, ANYTHING could happen.
It's just such a huge freaking burden to place on other parents, particularly when those parents are really wanting to devote all their time and attention to the party that they're already having to manage for their own children that, you know, they would kinda like to spend some time with.
But I found myself counting heads...over and over and over again. We had a total of 17 kids at the party. It was like herding cats. Wet cats. Wet cats on acid, even.
And, seriously, thank goodness for the parents that did stay because had it not been for them, I don't know how we would've managed. They were able to watch over the tables and gifts and all our things while we took the kids through the course. They helped serve and clean up, and even helped move us from our "reserved" location up to the picnic tables after the manager realized they had double-booked us. Oh...yes.
But the spread was fantastic, with way too much pizza, veggies, and fruit, as usual. The cupcakes turned out delish (and pretty darn cute, if I do say so myself)! And the kids even got sung happy birthday separately. (Saia first, of course. She IS 2 minutes older.) And the three hours really just sped right by.
When the wayward parents eventually came back to collect their spawn, I couldn't help but feel a knot in my stomach that maybe I had missed one. It was really an awful feeling.
But all ended well. And the monsters graciously handed out their treat bags, and we sent everyone home with a balloon. Saia and Chago even took it upon themselves to donate the leftover treat bags to another party that was just setting up as we were leaving.
We were so proud of them for behaving themselves, and for being good to their friends, for being thankful to everyone for coming, and for allowing themselves to just have a good time and enjoy everyone's company.
They haven't stopped talking about how much fun they had. And I really am glad. But you know what, if I can convince them to go to Disney World next year instead of another party, we are sooooooo outta here!!!!