So, December got a bit nutty, and we all got plague, and everyone died.
Or, at least that’s my excuse for not accomplishing the newly-8yo Lefty’s birthday celebration in a timely fashion back then.
Lefty, however, is a sadly suspicious person, for being so young.
Her sister, Spicy, is a very pragmatic child. We are still pretty sure she’s 92 years old in her little spicy heart.
So this wee miss decided to pull a Classic Dowager Duchess Grantham Maneuver. Her birthday closing in upon us, she sat herself down, took up her pen, and wrote out a stack of invitations to a Wonderland Tea Party, to be held the upcoming Saturday from 12 to 2 pm.
And then she and her sister delivered them around.
Because when Miss Spicy and Miss Lefty conspire to celebrate, they understand that the issuance of invitations will obligate their Slacker Mother to Do Something About It.
So we made petit fours and tea sandwiches, and had a party. We’re all mad here.
The ingredients for a party of this sort include:
I suggest having, at a minimum, two very silly sisters, three brother-sister sibling sets, two neighbors, and a cousin with whom the sisters can swap clothes, because that’s inevitable. We very much missed one of our favorite fake cousins (who moved far south to Texas) and a few neighbors who weren’t able to come this time, but our attending blend of guests proved an admirable one. My Spicy’s Lady Grantham Skills are prodigious.
These needn’t be too terribly strenuous, but ought to include things like raw carrot coins, raw cucumbers (I can hear my auntie delicately retching now…), a selection of tea sandwiches (in our case, wheat and white bread spread with Dilly Garden Veggie Cream Cheese, and encasing cucumbers, or ham. Interestingly enough, there was not a single cucumber sandwich remaining, and only four ham. Apparently, our Wonderlanders were pleased.); mismatched goblets and teacups and “Martinny” glasses filled with buttermints and jelly beans; the aforementioned petit fours (vanilla poundcake with strawberry jam and Lemon Cheese inside), and pink lemonade made up with club soda for appropriate Fizz. Oh, and multiple pie plates of popcorn. Short people adore fresh-popped, buttered popcorn.
Early on Saturday, we hit the local thrift shop and picked up a selection of lovely glass punch cups, some very pretty china plates, and a lovely tall china coffee pot from which to pour our beverages. And since it’s a Mad sort of tea party, the guests get presents… so the cups and plates were chosen by each guest, and taken home after.
In my own personal quest to stop being a control freak, I deliberately plan party activities that involve Children Making Things That I’m Not Allowed To Direct Much. And since we do not believe in exclusively boyly/girly activities, we do things that Small People can all equally enjoy. Or, at least, that’s the goal.
One thing I’ve discovered in the last 19 years: kids like fridge magnets. So we made some.
I found some absolutely smashing graphics through The Graphics Fairy, and printed out plenty of bits in black and white. I roughly cut them before the party to speed things up.
The guests chose their favorite elements, added color as they desired, and trimmed them out neatly (and this Mad Crowd has excellent scissor and crafty skills), and brought them to me for sandwiching between layers of clear contact “paper”. Another trim out (it works best with a small margin of sealed contact paper around the edges), and they were ready for strips of self-stick magnetic tape.
Rather than running too many directed activities, we chose to free-range the guests, which resulted in a lot of self-guided feasting, giggling, some LEGO play, Making of Magnets, more giggling, some knitting, Dramatic Speeches, “tea” refills, and a rousing game of Two Truths & A Lie.
It is really quite a lot of fun to hear what Shocking Lies kids of 6 to 11 will come up with, and how their real life adventures can be entirely truthful, and fool you completely. This is an adventurous bunch. Over half have had staples and/or stitches in the noggin regions. I am wondering if this has played a role in their mutual and significant Oddness/Wonderfulness.
They were all highly suspicious of my Shocking Lie (that I have met the Queen of England) and guessed that of my more hopefully-mysterious truths was a truth (that I have mutant molars.)
Our smallest guest was a wee little sprite of a girl, who was a delightful addition to the party. She’s the smaller sibling of one of the fellows, and Lefty was anxious she should be included, because said sprite is a sweet thing, and Lefty knows how hard it is to be the youngest and left at home during the fun parties. We were delighted she could come!
Costuming was optional, but of course, the guests got in on the fun! One of our neighbors wore a smashing chapeau:
Sadly, she was Snail-bombed.
My children seem to think that photo-bombing is the bomb. Also, they think the classic “Party On!” hand thing looks like a snail, and will pop their index and pinky fingers up and down to mimic a snail extending and retracting its eye stalks.
So they Snail-Bomb people in pictures.
And they Snail-Bomb their sisters:
And they Self Snail:
Because we are all Mad, here!
(Note on Lefty’s Hair: Yes, that’s her real and curly hair. No product, no enhancement, just left to dry on its own. Last week, in the midst of a very, very busy spurt of work for me, she climbed out of bed at 11pm and said, “I am very itchy on my back, will you scratch it? And also, my hair is to0000 long and I want it cut short.” And I realized that Right That Very Moment was the only time I’d have to cut her hair for the next month, so we cut it. And her hair has remarkable rebound, because it was cut to mid-neck, and recoiled to this delightful mop. She’s happy, I’m happy, and she went back to bed by 11:15.)
(Note on Spicy’s Hair: to get slight pre-Raphaelite waves into her lovely locks, the poor smidge slept on 12 lumpy braids all night. She is pragmatic and resolved about her own hair, which normally falls in glossy sheets to nearly her waist. It’s just that sometimes, she *really* wants some waves in there, and is willing to suffer for fashion.)