Here's an account of the party and one particular Mamma's emotional roller-coaster ride ...
The party was really a blast with almost full attendance although I must admit, that before it started, I had three big scares.
(1) When I arrived at the scene of the party, a restaurant names Comics, I found that it still wasn't ready and the MIM was looking hassled but trying to be patient. I nearly lost my cool! They had promised to hand over the place to us by a certain time and I land up 15 mins before the party is scheduled to start and see diners still eating there! And it seemed to me that they were taking a lot longer than they needed to! "Sure! Eat at a more leisurely pace, why don't you? You'll only have 30 pint sized hooligans climbing into your food like storm troopers, waiting to attack!" I mean, really! Didn't they see a beautiful, crest-fallen little boy and his his about-to-turn-into-Medusa Mamma waiting for a party to start? Had it not been for the MIM, I probably would have let off some steam that would have put the sizzlers to shame!
(2) The day started off sunny and bright and beautiful, but of course, just as we left for Comics, the heavens had to open up and it start to pour! I'm talking tigers and wolves, not your mingey-mangey cats and dogs. A friend helpfully sms-ed, "Looks like it might get waterlogged!" Thanks for that, I thought to myself, how comforting, how reassuring! But it was a worry! Such a worry! Some of the EO's friends were coming from really far and I knew there was no way they could make it for the party if it continued raining! I was ready to burst into tears at the thought of just a handful of people showing up for my baby's party. I can't even begin to tell you how much he had been looking forward to this day! Everyday without fail, for the past two months, and I do mean EVERY SINGLE DAY, he would ask me, "Today is my birthday?" So, finally the time had come and since the possibility of it turning from blast to bust loomed large, my heart started to quiver...like a pouting lower lip. I didn't think I would be able to handle the EO's disappointment, I just wasn't strong enough! So what did I do? Since I couldn't take it out on anybody there, I did the next best thing...I had a serious, furious one-to-one with God! (Yeah! We're buddies, so I can do that!)
(3) To keep the little tyke occupied and to add a new perspective to the birthday party, I had organised a team colouring competition. I had asked the party planners to make 7-8 BIG Ben 10 and his friendly, alien, avatar cutouts, which groups of 3-4 would colour. I saw only one big sheet, with four not-big drawings, three of them Ben 10 in different poses! That was it! I lost it! Here, I knew I could create a scene and I called up the party planner and asked him politely but firmly, WTF?!? He gave me some half-baked explanation which just didn't cut it! It was obvious that this was a last minute effort by his artist and to make matters worse, it was so untidily done!
Well, it looked like the rains turned out to be a blessing in disguise, because it gave the party planning people (I want to abbreviate them to PPP, but I'm done talking about them!) time to set transform the place into a soon-to-be-madhouse-masquerading-as-a-birthday-party.
Shortly after 4.30, the first guest arrived...my blog friend Monika, who kindly accepted my very last-minute invitation and whom I meeting for the very first time, along with her adorable and very well-behaved son, Ansh. Then the EO's two closest friends, A1 and A2. And after that, the guests came steadily trickling in and the party was soon rocking, rolling and rollicking!
There was a small ball pool, which I had organised for the tiny tots around the YO's age, but the big boys and girls loved doing the 'Cowabunga!' dive into the pool too. There was a mime show as well (since they've become jaded to the puppet show and magic show experience...kids these days, I tell you!) The mime artist was friendly and very interactive and the kids had fun mimicking him.The colouring event got over all too quickly (as I had anticipated when I saw the half-hearted drawings in the first place), but the communal experience on one big sheet was a novelty for them and so they had fun...and I guess that's what matters!
At this point in time, the place could have passed off as party-time-in-the-monkey-enclosure-at-the-zoo! The noise! The kids! The fun!
Generation G (i.e. Grandparents, or GPs) walked in right about then as well. That's two sets of GPs, three Grandaunts and one Granduncle. I was waiting for them before cutting the cake. So we quickly had the 'Khoi Bag' ripped open (the Bengali version of the pinata)...two huge, thermacol Ben 10 cut outs, joined together by a sturdy bag in-between, stuffed with candies, colourful pencils, erasers, bouncy balls, miniature animals, dinky cars and other small toys for the kids to have fun collecting, but which they forget about once they've finished gorging on their loot of toffees.
The Ben 10 cake was gorgeous! A gooey, sinful, chocolate concoction with icing on top! We always get it made by a friend of a friend and she never disappoints!
After that, the food fest started. And Comics really delivered! In the veg section we had mini pizzas, penne pasta with tomato sauce and grilled paneer shashliks with butter rice. The non-veggies had assorted sandwiches, drums of heaven and chicken tetrazinni. After all that running around, stomping about and good-natured screaming at the tops of their voices, the kids had definitely worked up an appetite...and so had the mums and GPs, their nerves having been thoroughly frazzled by the jolly jamboree.
What was wonderful was that 95% of the invitees turned up! I gave God a mental double thumbs-up and sent up a heartload of grateful thanks. (See! I told you we were buddies!) Many of the kids who had come to the party were from the EO's class and this was the first time I was meeting most of the moms. I was beyond touched that they accepted my invitation, since I had basically stuffed the party invites (a picture of Ben 10 along with a poem) into their childrens' bags along with a letter of introduction.
After the last child had taken his return gift and the last mom had said 'We must stay in touch!', the EO, the MIM and I bundled ourselves into the car (I had already sent the YO home with his cousins, the BIL-ly Boy and SIL), tired, exhausted, fatigued, but tremendously, thoroughly and absolutely thrilled.
But more onslaught lay in store for me and my nerves at home -- the presents!
But, that's another story! Or shall I say post?
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