Tuesday, August 24, 2010

More Than A Handful

So yes, it's been over a week and I haven't blogged about Harriet's Wizard of Oz party. Do you know why? Because we held a Wizard of Oz party! I tell you, this parenting gig is exhausting work and the weekends are no holiday.

The night before was election night of course, the night where election nerds like James and myself get a chance to rig up the television and connect it up so we can sit down and watch teh ABC coverage with nerd-like intensity. This year of course was particularly awesome to watch and we did so whilst stringing three different shades of green crepe paper on a string. Because that's just the kind of awesome people we are. It may also be because that's the kind of pain I inflict on James, but that's for him to work through in deep therapy.

Anyway as it does every year on the day of Harriet's birthday party, the day dawned icy cold but quickly progressed into being surprisingly hot. Weird, that it could be surprising every year? No, we're just all afflicted with short term memory issues as a result of our misspent youth. But Harry's outfit had been decided upon about three months earlier when she announced that she wanted a Wizard of Oz party - and thanks to Nikki from last year's birthday that dream was able to be made into a reality with a minimum of fuss. In fact I had to make sure that her dress still fit her and unfortunately my vision of making one Dorothy dress and having that last me a few Book Weeks for the next few years was dashed when I realised that she had already reached the end of the straps I had made from last year. And before you ask or notice or (god forbid) mention it, Dorothy has silver shoes in the novel. The red shoes were only used in the movie for dramatic effect.

So the preparations for the party had been in the making for a while. The only thing that we bought new for the party were the streamers and cd covers - the foamcore for the 'castle' was from Reverse Garbage , the yellow brick road was made from a bright yellow wool blanket I found at an op shop (how perfect was that I ask you?!), we wrapped all the books (from the op shop) for the lucky dip in painted newspaper (thank you Regan!), and everyone received a cd of Harriet's favourite songs to take home. As you can see, we're not above spreading our own frustration at only hearing showtunes to other hapless parents. When everyone walked through the green streamers to enter the Emerald City they were offered some green glasses (which we had bought from Reverse Garbage and covered with green cellophane we had saved from a present received eons ago). Unfortunately I forgot to get a photo of the glasses basket, but thanks to Lou, you can see what it looked like here.

As per Harriet's (very sensible) request, she asked to have the cake first thing. So as soon as everyone arrived we dished out the cake to all and sundry and then set about making them work it off as soon as possible after that. Ted's love of 'Happy Birthday' continued unabated and after we sang it to Harriet, he bounced up and down (his way of telling me 'more music') and pointed to himself. So I sang him a special solo of 'Happy Birthday to Teddy' as the cake was carved up (and met with mixed reactions - it was a very healthy carrot cake from Harriet's request and not all the children shared her love).

Now I should put in a special word here for the AMAZING presents that Harriet received. Here she's receiving a t-shirt from Ella that had a still from The Wizard of Oz movie on it as well as the most gorgeous little brooch of a pair of ruby red slippers and a wand. Harriet proceeded to strip down and put on the t-shirt right then and there and insisted on wearing that t-shirt for the next 48hrs straight. And I think about once an hour over the next few days she would exclaim suddenly "Wasn't it just so nice of Mal to make this t-shirt for me? She sewed it on there HERSELF Mama!". She also had a music box from Jay that played Somewhere Over the Rainbow and inside it had been fashioned to have the little twirling ballerina to look like Dorothy and a yellow brick road leading up to her. Awesome!

But really the party for Harriet is not about the presents and much more about the games and friends. So the rainbow parachute that came out was a big hit, especially once the adults took control of the 'chute and the children just got to run and jump underneath its mushrooming dome.

Harry was also most insistent that we have a repeat of the three-legged race that she had last year. I'm not sure if it's purely because of her romanticised view of the race because that's how Anne cements her friendship with Diana, but when it was time to race she made a beeline for her 'Diana'. We also had the egg and spoon staple (with raw eggs of course! You're all complete wusses if you use boiled ones - where's the fun in that?!) and wheelbarrows too.

An added aspect to this year's party was the little group of people at the next picnic area to us. They had children who were coming over and asking to play with the instruments I'd brought along for the younger children to play with, requesting food and balloons and generally lingering around looking wistfully at our party fun. Poor little things! Apparently one of the mothers came up to a friend and told her how impressed they were at our little group and how we all seemed so happy and laid back and friendly. Well aw shucks, we are lucky to have some amazing friendships at the moment and parties are such a wonderful way to catch up as well.

As with the appearance of any book, the book lucky dip had the added bonus of slowing down the children who were remaining and having them focus on storytelling Papa Jimbo. Here Poe, Sam, Harriet and Dexter get a chance to read about a train doing something with someone somewhere. I have no idea, but they all seemed pretty interested by it that's for sure.

By the end of the party Harriet was, to say the least, exhausted. She told me she could barely walk to the car with the added weight of the green bag over her shoulder. The allure of her afternoon should have spurred her on however, because as we do each year, the party afternoon is filled with lying on the lounge watching a DVD (very special indeed!). This year's choice was Mary Poppins and after fast forwarding all the parts where Julie Andrews wasn't singing, Harriet happily lay on the red cushion in a party-happy coma.

But not for long. You see, the afternoon of her party also happened to be Bear's birthday party too. And as Harry acknowledged, "It's really good timing, because Bear gets to use the leftovers from my real party". See that delightful felt miniature bunting stuck across the window above their heads? That's a present from Jay specifically for the toy birthday parties she knows we host on a regular basis. How gorgeous is that? And the wooden birthday cake you can see on display there is one of her presents from us. It's already had a great workout and we haven't even hit party season yet!

Thanks so much to all of you who came, to those that sent Harriet birthday wishes and to everyone who sent presents. Harriet and James and I honestly appreciate your love and attention, it means an awful lot to us to know that we have such support.

And just because a post should include something from Teddy too, here's a video I took about a week ago of Ted and Harry playing around on the bed one morning/afternoon. Too cute!

1 comment:

JennieMo said...

Looks like fun! Sorry...I didn't know...or I would have brought Norman. LOL!! He loves Carrot cake! :)