Monday, February 13, 2006

Valentine's Day battle party (RETREAT RETREAT RETREAT!)

It was not actually as bad as that, but it did get confusing. I somehow ended up with the actual Valentines of two students that were to be given away. Valentine delivering was happening during the party, so it didn't turn out to be a problem - I brought them with me. Also this morning treats not on the list got dropped off for the goody buckets. The bucket's only 4 1/4 inches across and 4 inches deep. How would I fit them all in?

But fit them in, I do and all is a go-go for the party. Drop off the baby, arrive 20 minutes early, lurk in the hallways until I reach a respectable earliness and then poke my head into the classroom. There are boxes of sweethearts and more packaged cakes to add to my goody bucket. Won't fit. Hmmmm ...let's put them in their lunchboxes to take home.

The party begins.

Step 1: The decorate-a-mug craft worked well. It kept most of the children busy for ten to 20 minutes, with the boys leaning heavily on the color black and the girls choosing lots of pink, red and orange. (Observation: most of the girls' coloring was better than most of the boys' coloring.)

Step 2: Handing out Valentines was just as laborious a process as the teacher had warned. The children were a little nervous of Lanie and me, and it took some of them lots of time to put the envelope (or folded card) in the cut-out slot, plus we had to navigate around spectating parents. Each box was decorated to look like a puppy and the names were written on each puppy, but they were so small and sitting at the children's table, which so was low, that it was not possible to read them and finish the deliveries expeditiously. So if the child brought fifteen Valentines to hand out, and we got to the last box without a Valentine to put in it, he'd obviously given himself a Valentine.

Teacher said it didn't matter. Happens every year. Also, many of the kids had brought bundles of candy or a card with a sucker attached. These items didn't fit well through the slot and slowed us down. One child brought a heart-shaped box of candy for each classmate. That would be the child of the mother who put on the Christmas party. More about her in a minute.

Step 3: Clocks ticking up to 1:45, with a 2:00 exit. We have fifteen minutes to feed them cupcakes and juice. And the teacher has brought brownies too. But wait - a blessing first, and then sixteen pairs of hands need to be washed.

Despite those unexpected events and with some prodding from me, we get the kids to eat. For most of the party, ten parents, one grandparent, one toddler and two babies were in attendance enjoying the show. By now, everyone's mom or dad has arrived, and it's crowded.

I go out to check on the goody buckets and ask Lanie should we put them with the lunch boxes sitting out in the hallway? A fine idea. Where is the chalk I bought for the kids, asks Andrew's mom?

Uhh ...I dunno. What chalk? Oh, yeah! That sounds familiar. Ummmmm ...I got so many unexpected items that I must have forgotten them, I tell her. I'll bring them to take home in their school bags Friday. That's fine, she says.

Darn it, I think! I can no longer live with the illusion of my superiority in party planning. Ah, well.

Children exit with their parents. I take Emma home. She dislikes most of her candy. Ah, well, indeed.

Step 4: Is it the cocktail hour yet? No? Well then, let's hit the gym instead. Thanks for listening.

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