The first party was rather a small affair, what with Vicky's mother's operation and the death of a close relative on my side days before. I promised myself then that his next birthday, when he would be older and better able to enjoy himself on his own terms, would have a party thrown only for him and his friends. Where the children would come first.
So this year I planned a menu for children 2 yrs downwards. It comprised homemade cake, juice, dot appalams, jam biscuits and cheese straws from Cal Club and corn popped at home with little oil and salt. Everything small and suitable for toddlers to play around with. I brought out all the toys and didn't arrange the balloons on the walls -- they lay all over the floor free to be played with. A puzzle corner was created with a small table and three toddler chairs, where the quieter kids could do their own thing. And I wore clothes I could run around in -- Dipali's kurta (my birthday present from her) with a churidar and my hair tied in a French braid.
Our guests were pretty punctual, despite the light rain, and made themselves more or less at home. There was some slight anxiety on the part of the host himself, who decided to solve matters by carefully removing his most favoured toys from the hands of the invading hordes, but it was far less stressful than I'd hoped for. The guests were unbelievably well-behaved, nobody really hit each other or made each other cry (except for Tai Shan and Rahul, late in the evening when both were tired and cranky and even that was quickly sorted out) and the mothers seemed to hit it off really well. In the middle of all this was Dipali, handing out refreshments, adding her bit to the conversation, generally being there. She even piped the lettering on the cake when a tired me was chickening out and planning to write it on the cake board with a sketch pen instead!
Although not all our guests came, almost all of them did, including two fathers I hadn't expected, and I'm glad they came, at that. Because I did enjoy myself that evening, and I think Vicky and Rahul did too. To me that's the sign of a successful party -- one where the hosts had fun too.
1. Provide more food for adults. This is not much of a lesson because I did have adult food (patties and payesh and stuff) for the evening guests and I deliberately stuck to toddler food this year, but yes, having got this one party out of my system, all parties henceforth will be planned for both children and the adult guests.
2. Decor is really not important. :) Who's looking?
3. Toddlers can be nice guests so I'm never running them down again, the sweethearts.
4. Add ayahs when counting heads! Add every ayah who you know is employed by a guest. If they don't turn up, more food for the rest, but better than the other way around!
5. Dottie is not just a baking goddess but also an abso sweetheart when your fondant casts up its accounts in the middle of the night. Thanks, Dot, more than you know!
6. Nobody really cares what Vicky wears. Except, of course, his mother.
7. One should always make even more cake than planned.
8. Somebody really should be designated photographer. I had no idea where my phone was, so I took no photos myself and as a result, there are none. Gayatri took some though, and I'm waiting for those to be sent over. I promise to put them up once I get them.
9. Shopping for kiddy parties is great fun! I wish the next birthday weren't a whole year away. I've already got the theme planned and everything. This year was Balloons. I made the cake in the shape of two balloons (baked in a boat-shaped casserole) and had one cut for the kids and one for the grandparents who came later in the evening.