Monday, October 15, 2007

Lola's birthday party, take II

Lola's "Flower Kitten"-themed fifth birthday party was canceled at the last moment due to unscheduled vomiting, and yesterday we tried again. Unfortunately several of the invited guests were unable to attend the rescheduled party, but perhaps it was for the best, as we nearly achieved the Developmentally Correct Birthday Party of one guest for each year. In the event, we had six guests; if the first party had proceeded as planned, there would have been nine or ten guests (I had over-invited on the theory that many children would be busy and unable to attend, so you need some overage, and also due to the fact that Lola made a long list of desired child invitees).

Of course the Sober Husband and I didn't manage to completely prepare for the party. The first guests arrived as the husband was vacuuming and before I'd set up the snacks. Lola herself was dithering about. She has long been obsessed with the idea of a surprise party and has often harangued me about why didn't I make her last party a surprise party. On innumerable occasions she nagged me to be sure to make her guests hide and jump out to "surprise" her. I am dubious that four and five year-olds can be directed to that extent, and besides that, how can it be a surprise if Lola saw me make the cake and hang up the Hello Kitty birthday banner? In the end, I told her she was welcome to hide in her room and come down after some guests had arrived so she could be "surprised", and she planned to do this, but yet she couldn't resist answering the door herself and playing with the very first guests to arrive. I anticipate another solid year of being harangued about why I didn't throw her a surprise party like she requested.

I tried to create a special role for Iris. Last year, Iris was in a foul mood throughout Lola's birthday party and went so far as to create a sign that said, "Stop. Stay Out" which she posted on the door of the master bedroom, wherein she sulked. Of course all Lola's friends were illiterate, I was unobservant, and the only one who paid attention to the sign was the Sober Husband, who ironically was the only person who would have been welcomed by the little sulker.

What I had in mind for Iris this year was Keeper of the Kittens. For the first party date, I arranged for one of Iris's best friends, a delightful girl, to join Iris, and I thought they could keep all the kittens in the master bedroom with toys and supervise Lola's guests in playing with the kittens. On the second party date, Iris's friend was not available, and Iris had no interest in staying with the kittens, who were set free to roam the house. Most of them climbed on top of the guests' mothers and took naps in these exciting new laps. Iris did however accept the last minute post of Face Painter, and she gave nearly every guest a kitten visage. (I had meant to paint my own face to set the tone, but the first guest arrived before I could start on a nose and whiskers. All I had was extravagant eye make-up, which no one remarked upon but which happily startled me every time I passed a mirror).

For the grown-ups, we had fresh homemade salsa and chips, as well as iced tea, beer, and sparkling wine. For the children, we had a fruit punch, hardboiled eggs, bananas, goldfish crackers, and some semi-stale Pirate Puffs. (Here we see a decline in the quality of the Drunken Housewife's birthday parties. For Iris's fifth birthday party, I made a big buffet of homemade snacks, with chickpea dip; handheld Caesar salads; two kinds of punch, including one for which I grated ginger; and many more delights. Probably next year for Lola's birthday, I'll heat up some TV dinners). For all ages, we had artisanal bread, a yuppie cheese, and a homemade chocolate cake. With the cake, Lola had directed that "on the frosting, make a kitten. Make the kitten be about to take a flower in his mouth", but that proved beyond my abilities. I did draw various cat faces and stuck some candy flowers hither and yon on the cake, and Lola accepted this gracefully.

The successes of the party were the latest crop of foster kittens, who were very friendly and tiny (last year's foster kittens hid during Lola's party and were not seen until several hours after the last little guest departed), and the barbaric pinata. The Sober Husband and I hate pinata as we believe they promote pushiness, plus it's so grotesque to see children hitting cute things with sticks. On the other hand, Lola feels strongly that it is not a party without a pinata, so we obtained an adorable Hello Kitty pinata in the Mission. At the store where we found the intellectual property-infringing pinata, there was a plethora of cheap socks and underwear for sale. I briefly fantasized about filling the pinata with sensible socks and underpants, imagining the reaction of the guests, but Lola is not one to be toyed with.

The only problem at the party was one of the mothers, who got solidly drunk. I am not sure how much she drank, but I believe it was on the order of 5-7 or more drinks in a two hour period. I myself had only 1.5 drinks, and no one else had more than one (most parents chose to have a single beer or a glass of iced tea along with the salsa and chips). Everyone else left at the appointed hour, and only the inebriated mother was left. She was upstairs bathing a foster kitten in the sink, and she was too intoxicated to turn the sink off. I felt somewhat responsible, as we were indeed providing drinks, but the Sober Husband did not, as the mother in question had helped herself to several beers plus several glasses of sparkling wine from the refrigerator. We had in actuality not served her a single drink. This left us in a very awkward position, as I did not want her to drive, but she refused our repeated overtures regarding getting her home. (We offered to have the Sober Husband drive her car to her home with her in it, from whence he would make his way home on foot or by taxi). In the end, she left, leaving her daughter behind, whom we ferried home an hour later. The husband and I were still squabbling over how to handle this, in whispers, when we ended up leaving to take the little girl home. We were both relieved to find that the mother in question had gotten home safely. (Readers, how does one most effectively remove a guest's keys? It was more difficult in this situation in that we didn't know the guest well at all. Also, her keys were concealed about her person, not in a purse which could have been confiscated. We tried, but I feel terrible that we did not succeed).

This morning Lola requested that she have a birthday party every day. "I can be five plus every day! We can have cake every day! And guests!"


hughman said...

at first i read this like there was a pinata that looked like cheap socks and underwear. how odd and yet how missiony i thought.

that drunken mother probably had the best time at your party and in the hour alone than she'd had in months. glad she got home safe tho.

you only had 1.5 drinks? man, i would be such a bad influence on you.

the Drunken Housewife said...

Honey, I can drink just about anyone under the table... BUT this was the afternoon & I was busy hostessing.

hokgardner said...

OK, who gets drunk at a child's birthday party in mid-afternoon? Really? We always offer "adult" beverages at our kids' parties, and we've never once had a parent get wasted. Perhaps we hang out with the wrong crowd.