We had nine 8 year old girls and the most chivalrous 10 year old boy camping out in my backyard yesterday...
...because we were bringing in...
If you're backtracking to check how many kids we had camping in our backyard, it was ten in all. And, we all survived!
Medha turns 8 today but we celebrated yesterday because an 8 year old's life is complicated. There is another birthday party today and if she had her party on the same day, most of the girls wouldn't be able to come because they had already said yes to the other party. (Um, yes, I was late in getting my act together for this.) Also, if she had her party the previous day, not only could she have a sleepover and a campout, but everyone gets to go to two parties! How cool is that?! Most of the parents thought, Not!
The party was unlike most birthday parties for kids as it was rather unstructured. We started off at 5:30 pm with the girls running through the sprinklers and demonstrating their prowess at sidewalk art with chalk. The Super Soaker added a lot more screaming and yelping to the mix. This was followed by dinner at 6:30 pm:
- a Con Queso dip (Ro*Tel diced tomatoes with green chiles with cheese sauce)
- Classic Mediterranean Pasta Salad
- Lots of wine and beer
- Nothing Indian about this menu!
We had one minor miscalculation - I had bought a little charcoal grill that needed to be set up. The birthday girl's father understood "set up" to mean get the charcoal going in the chimney and then throw the live coals into the grill. When he opened the box, he realized the full implications of set up and we were looking back and forth between 10 very hungry and very vocal mouths and at least a half hour with a screwdriver. Our neighbors came to our rescue and before we knew it, we had a large gas grill in our backyard and a satiated audience lying flat in the lawn. But not for long, because we had a hula hoop competition which I was hoping would tire the little terrors some more. But they got their last burst of energy from the sugar in the birthday cake!
If I could bake and decorate cakes like Archana, I might have considered putting in the effort but we went to Sam's Club and ordered a half sheet of chocolate cake with whipped frosting. I wish I was as enthusiastic as the kids were about the reds and the blues in the cake but since none of them was allergic to dyes in food coloring, I chose not to think about it anymore. The girls fought over the buds while the only young man got the flowers from one corner. He is such a trooper. Yesterday, he even ate some of the karela shaak I made for lunch and told me he thought it was good!
The tents were set up while we opened presents and took pictures. The girls were 3 to a tent and the young man brought his own personal tent across. They went into the tents with small flashlights and glow sticks. The giggling and the laughing continued in one tent till almost 11 pm. At one point the tent was just short of collapsing because one boisterous young girl rolled till she could go no further. I threatened them with the most dire of circumstances if the noise continued: the rest of the night would continue indoors for them. They would quieten down for about 10 minutes until something else tripped them off again. A flashlight trained on their tent periodically worked wonders till their weary bodies finally gave in to deep slumber. It was a beautiful night, in the low 60s with a cool breeze blowing from time to time.
You'd think they'd sleep in. Nope. They started traipsing in at 6:15 am. By 6:45 am, I had the griddle cranking out smiley face pancakes, some with chocolate chips for those that wanted them and for those that didn't care, and without for those that did care. These were further topped with whipped cream and syrup. In less than an hour, we were done with breakfast and the packing up process began, tent by tent. By 10:30 am, the last of our little guests left and my husband and I were finally able to collapse on the sofas. What a great party! All the kids had a blast and hopefully their parents got a quiet night together.
I must say though that I am not entirely sure how I allowed them to sleep outside given that we had a vistor last week that did not belong to the species homo sapien, but that is a story for my next post, so stay tuned!