So we've done the whole let's-have-a-birthday-party-for-our-kid-at-INSERT NAME OF KID-FRIENDLY VENUE-and-invite-all-our-friends thing. In the past, we had parties at Delifrance, then SOL playground, then Horse Garden, then Bukit Batok Civil Service Club.
It's been all good, but with 3 kids in tow, I've started wisening up and doing the Math. A big bash for 50 people, three times a year, for, conceivably, the next 18 years of my life, and possibly, there goes my plans for an early retirement! Seriously!!
The idea of a small home party did not come naturally to me. I was inspired by my dear friend Karen, mother of three boys, no helper, but tenacious & resilient as a Jewish freedom fighter in the trenches fighting for Zionist independence (!!). She has been doing home parties for her kids this year, and they were so lovely.
So I bit the bullet and decided to do it. YES. I would ownself organise a party for my son. I would ownself plan games. I would ownself cook food. I would ownself design party invites (and make Daniel write them out of course!) and ownself design party collateral and paraphernalia! FWAH!! Am I brave or foolhardy? There is a VERY THIN LINE that separates the two!
Well, we very quickly decided on a Spy Party theme, since Daniel has been drooling at the spy gadget section of Toys R Us for the past few months. (Of course, I have been making him save up for his first spy toy, and he hasn't hit the required amount yet!)
Husband and I went about in typical civil servant fashion. We got together, mapped out the objectives of the party, the desired outcomes. The programme highlights followed, together with a draft time sequence. A resource list was drawn up, and I/Cs assigned. Then, a timeline was drawn up. To-do lists. Estimated budget requirements! Heehee.
Actually things weren't quite smooth. Husband and I have quite different styles of doing things. He's more... spontaneous & sensory. I like to plot everything, in sequence, and according to logical parameters. Hence our two planning meetings were, to say the least, rather tense!
Still, there is no way I could have done this party without Husband. While I am an excellent planner, Husband is without doubt the frontman, the one who will execute and do it with flourish.
So here's a run down of what we did for the party:
1. Party invites--Daniel & I came up with this simple design. We raided Husband's drawers for photo paper, printed the picture out, and wrote everything else by hand.
The thing about house parties is that it has to be kept small. So, Daniel chose to invite his 3 best friends from school, just a few friends from church and his cousin. And of course, his brother and sister (compulsory!). We had 10 invitees in all, but a few people brought their siblings, and 1 person couldnt make it, so we ended up with 12 kids--ALL BOYS--in my house!
2. Since it was a spy party, we designed a spy ID for everybody. The boys had fun taking their picture, then thinking up a spy name for themselves. I'm still giggling at some of the names. Agent Hi-Tech (Benjamin), Agent Armour (Daniel), Agent Strength, Agent Lightning. We even made a spy ID for Esther and she was called Agent Rose! Hee.
3. Then we had 3 games. First, we played FREEZE. You know, it's that game where you dance when the music is played, then you freeze when the music is switched off. Whoever doesn't freeze gets disqualified. Since it was a spy theme, we just told everybody, "Spies must practice being very still."
This turned out to be the most hilarious game, with many extremely funny poses being "frozen" while Husband went around trying to make people laugh or move. There was also this very "clever" kid who managed to throw himself on the sofa face down every time the music stopped, hence preventing the need for him to really put in effort to stay still. Er, after the third time, we disqualified him! Heehee.
The second game was a treasure hunt downstairs. The spies had to find pieces of paper hidden everywhere, and they did this in like a minute! Each paper had a letter on it, and they had to put the letters together to figure out a word. It was the location of their next mission.
OK, so the letters were "O", "E", "T", "S", "N", "A", "S" and before I cld finish reading them out, this kid blurted out, "SENTOSA!"
He must be a genius! The game was over in like 2 minutes !!
The final game involved shooting rubber bands at hoards of green plastic soldiers which we had bought. The whole idea was that they had to rescue someone who had been kidnapped on Sentosa. This was their enemy army, which they had to defeat before they could complete their mission! Believe it or not, this was Daniel's favourite game, and since it was all boys, everybody had loads of fun using rubber bands and shooting plastic soldiers!
Esther, on the other hand, was definitely a bit bored. haha.
4. We ended off by giving everybody an "Official Spy Notebook", certifying that they were now true blue spies who had completed their training and their first mission.
5. There was cake & lunch was spaghetti with hotdogs for the kids & pohpiah for the adults (I ended up ordering, not making!)
Although I was prepared for 20 adults (since there were 10 kids, and each kid has 2 parents), I was kind of glad that in the end, many parents simply dropped off their kid at our place and did not even stay for lunch. The parents who did stay numbered about 5 or 6, so the total number of people at my house was manageable.
It was great fun to meet Daniel's best friend's parents, and to chat with them over a meal and party games.
And amazingly, everybody bought him spy gadget gifts, and every single gift was DIFFERENT, as if they had all discussed it ahead of time (which they hadn't!)
All in all, the party went well, and I was happy that Daniel enjoyed himself. A few friends even stayed back to swim with him & Benjamin, which was nice!
Happy Birthday Daniel! And may God continue to bless you and keep you as you grow!
More pics around here.
p.s. I totally forgot to take pictures at the party, but thanks to a few generous parents who were at the party, I've managed to scrounge up a few nice ones! =)