It used to be that I planned the whole shebang, set the date, arranged the do, the cake, made the invites blah blah blah. But this year I didn't have to do anything (unless specifically ordered to, that is).
Jas decided she wanted a sleepover*, this limited the number of guests she could invite which was OK by me, I suggested we take everyone down to our favourite Italian restaurant for dinner (less hassle for me) but this also limited the number of guests to how many we could fit in two cars (I wasn't about to suggest that they all walk - what if it rained?) Eight were invited (handwritten invitations by Jas) amongst this number one brave (or foolish) boy.
The party was to start at 4pm on Saturday and the children were to be collected at 11am on Sunday. To fill the intervening time Jas wrote out a timetable (3 times), almost losing her temper with me when I told her the time I was booking the meal for (5.30, to make things easier for the waiting staff and other patrons) this apparently didn't allow enough time before the meal for all the planned activities, now I realise that she possibly gets her attention to detail and adherence to time from me, but normally she doesn't give a damn if she's not on time/making me late...
Saturday morning was spent cake making and icing and then in partying up the house (this didn't involve hoovering as I decided that could wait till after the party) and trying to keep track of Jas's changes of clothes.
By 4.30 we had a house full and it was time for cake (German birthday party rule number 2**: cake is done at the beginning of the party, any attempt at re-ordering results in confused children) lemon cake with lemon icing as requested by the birthday girl, that apparently is 'everyone's favourite' (personally I'd have gone with chocolate and more chocolate, but I'm clearly behind the trend) we sang "happy birthday"***, candles blown out and cake eaten (or not, half the little
5.30 and we were at the restaurant, trying hard not to wind up the poor waiter who had drawn the short straw and had to deal with us, 8 slightly over excited children and 2 weary adults (although we sat on a separate table, close enough to advise but not 'with' them).
I think they started to watch the first film around 7.30, they suddenly all re-appeared at 9pm, charging around the garden like sugar fueled 10 year olds. They refused to go back to their film until they'd cooled down (quite how racing in circles around the house was going to achieve that goal I don't know). They managed to cram two films and a penalty shoot out**** into their evening before I somehow got them into bed. An hour later, after I'd confiscated all ipods and iphones and read them the riot act twice I went to bed.
At 8am it all started again, they were breakfasted and dressed and before I knew it out in the garden again (sorry neighbours, it wont happen again, seriously, it really wont). I made them wait until 10/10.30 to attack the Pinata, in the knowledge that that would be noisy, we also needed the grass to be dryish from dew.
Finally, finally 11am approached and parents started arriving to remove their offspring, bliss. Jas, being a sneaky little madam, managed to con a friend's mom into taking her to play at theirs for the day, so getting out of the tidy up operation, very sly.
So now it's May 21st and both children's birthdays are dealt with. Sigh of relief. Except that I seem to have decided to throw an English stylee garden party to celebrate the Queen's Diamond Jubilee, so that's the next house invasion to organise, and that will involve far more children, at least they'll all have their own responsible adults with them to keep them out of mischief!
* one of those long drawn affairs when not much actual sleeping occurs.
** German birthday party rule no. 1: never, ever party before the actual date of the birthday, it is considered the utmost bad luck and you will forever be marked down as a foreigner who doesn't try to fit in.
*** or at least we (the Brits) sang "happy birthday", the Germans sang "heppy birs day", same tune just a slight pronunciation glitch that they ALL do.
**** Chelsea were playing Bayern Munich in Munich, the Germans all thought Bayern would win, needless to say there were many glum faces in Germany that night.