Sunday, September 28, 2008

The Second Birthday

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.

Lessons learned:

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.


Anonymous said...

Glad the party was fun! :)

Sue said...

ThreeDrinks -- Yeah, me too! :)

D said...

Loved the way you tried to make the party as child-friendly as possible - the layout, the food, the play things. Good momma!

Mona said...

# 6 made me laugh out loud :)

B o o said...

#8 is there so that we would nt ask for photos? We want photos!!

Kodi's Mom said...

ditto Boo! and congrats on a successful toddler b'day party!

aargee said...

Hey! nice. Good everything went great! Yeah...waiting for snaps :)

SUR NOTES said...

sounds like a perfect birthday party!

oh i made a similar mistake at her first birtday- the food was all bit sized and child friendly- we had made loads, but such tiny finger foods get WOLFED down by full grown adults. so this time i made kid sized idlis and samosas- and adult sized idlis and samosas. And i banned the adults from touching the pop corn. I was a mean host to the adults- but they are my pals- and know me- so they did not expect better.

and you are bang on about toddlers being adorable guests.

ps am stealing your wonderful idea for making a little corner for the quieter kids who like to do their own thing.

oh damn, her next birthday is a WHOLE year away :(

Sue said...

D -- It was a promise and therefore sacred. :) Actually, I enjoyed the planning. A first for me.

Mon -- Story in there. ;)

Boo -- Aww come on. Don't have any with me. Will post once I get them, OK?

Kodi's Mom -- Come to think of it, I missed Kodi's birthday again. Sheesh. Need to get my blogroll back.

Aargee -- :)

Sur -- Glad to know there was somebody else who did the same thing! Hungry fathers, late in the evening, I actually felt sorry for the pour souls, munching on a few forlorn biscuits.

You're welcome to the ideas I put out here. :) I loved how the kids went crazy with the balloons on the floor too.

dipali said...

It was great fun. You know I'm challenged as far as my phone is concerned- you are welcome to upload from it if you can!
If only I'd brought my camera- I know how to upload from that, and I know where the cord is!
The toddlers and babies were really adorable. I'm now scaring Sue with stories of naughty pre-schoolers, for next year. If they are outnumbered by adults, I guess they'll have to behave!

The Marauder's Map said...

Happy 2nd to The Bhablet, though now that he's such a big boy one feels one shoudln't call him that. This is such a landmark, no? Did you ever think this day would come when you just got him from the hospital?

Anonymous said...

Parties, I love parties specially those that have cake!!!

DotThoughts said...

soo right abt decoration :) and the hubby's clothes. lol. glad it was a nice party.. where are the pics?? don't see a pixel here.

and yeah.. fondant's an overrated beeyatch.

Sue said...

Dipali -- ;)

Shrabonti -- I know. Am trying to phase out the "Bhablet" bit myself but the blog readers are most uncooperative, I must say.

Ritu -- :) It was pretty yummy cake too, even if I say so myself.

Dottie -- Arre, I don't have any pics yet, baba... I am starting to feel positively hunted now!

Maggie said...

I'm totally impressed, Sue. This more than I've had the courage to do yet...guess I'll have to finally do something for Moppet's 3rd, huh?

Sounds like total fun, take a bow! :-)

Mama - Mia said...

wow!! you maked the cake too?? very depressing for people like moi!! :(

but glad the party was such a hit and you guys had totally good time!!



ps: not to pressurize you, but where are the pics?! :p

Rohini said...

Ooh fun party. And you are becoming quite the baking goddess yourself. And I am not even going to ask what fondant is!!!

Sue said...

Maggie -- I don't envy you, planning a 3rd birthday party with a baby breathing down your neck. Or should I say drooling. :) Am looking forward to the posts!

Abha -- I do have the pics. Will upload soon. Father-mother-God-promise.

Ro -- Don't ask, actually. Fondant is a bad word to me now. So much for goddess.