Little Stuff's party was yesterday and it went off very well. Her mom, the ED, had purchased a castle backdrop and crowns for the guests to decorate, plus Barbie princess table decorations. Daddy provided a huge bunch of helium balloons in the party colours of yellow, pink and aqua ("Is there a yellow dress, Grama?" 'You do not need a yellow dress," says mom with more than usual firmness.) There was a completely OTT cake with a plastic fairy in a larger plastic blossom that opened and closed. There was lots of fruit and yogurt to cushion the sugar hit of aforesaid cake. There was one extra guest, as one little girl arrived with her eight year old sister, so the ED had to scramble for another loot bag. Only one crying spell, over a skinned knee while blowing bubbles on the back deck. All in all, a huge success. And the Birthday Girl was happy.
What amazed me is how differently they used the costumes than I had expected. Grandpa was worried that the guests might get into rows over who wore what. He need not have. What they did was take the costumes on and off, all except Little Stuff who chose the purple glittery one first off and stayed with it. I think that every kid, including the sister, had all the costumes on at one time or another. One little girl arrived in her own princess costume from last Hallowe'en and stayed with that. One was wearing a brand new party sundress and preferring to show it off, took her princess costume off after the photo op. The others tried pink and aqua and blue and green, helping each other with the velcro fasteners, and had a ball. They would swoop off to another activity (big brother's snake was a huge hit) and swoop back to the dresses.
This level of co-operation fascinated me. I am wondering if it happened because most of them go to the same daycare and kindergarten and are used to playing in that group. I am not familiar with how 'daycare' kids interact. The small herd of neighbourhood children that my girls inhabited worked rather differently – there would be one or more leaders and the others were assigned roles or parts or costumes or whatever. And if one of the others got offended, he or she stomped off home. This cannot happen in a daycare group, obviously, and I have to commend the teachers and ECE leaders who run the kindergarten/daycare that Little Stuff attends. I am sure I missed some of the nuances, as the party took place in shrill, high decibel French and I am, um, French language challenged, but I did not see any hurt feelings body language at all.
In fact, the body language was also very interesting. This group of little girls crowds together. They colour and do crafts touching one another. They gathered so tightly around Little Stuff when she was opening presents that her mom had to lean in over the top to remove the wrappings and opened gifts. They travelled from room to room holding hands. They hugged one another. They also sat quietly at the table to eat and almost nothing got spilled. Amazing!
Enough of Grama as social anthropologist. Except to say that it is a long time since I have been at a small child's birthday party. Thank goodness. Pictures to follow.