Twenty minutes of driving around Assiniboine Park looking for parking, ten minutes walking from our car at the far end of the zoo parking lot to the festivities near the conservatory, being jostled and bumped by about ten thousand people (give or take a few), standing in line for forty-five minutes just for the chance to buy a few candies from Honeydukes, being surrounded by hoardes of people speaking a language that’s almost entirely foreign to me (dementors? quittiche? I don’t even know how to spell those things), another hour of waiting in line for the magic moment when they opened the van doors and popped open the first box… all of that was worth it for this look of pleasure on my daughter’s face at 12:06 a.m. We managed to get a little food into her at lunch time, but that’s about the only time she’s lifted her nose out of the book all day. Wanna know how it ends? She’ll be able to tell you by nightfall.
It’s midnight and there are six shrieking ten-year-old girls in my basement. Why? Because I suffered a temporary lapse of judgment and INVITED them. Or at least I allowed them to be invited. Julie is celebrating her birthday with every preteen girl’s favourite pastime – a pajama party. Oh my – WHAT was I thinking?
They’re all decent girls, and mostly things have been going swimmingly, but there have been moments when I was almost certain I’d have to call for back-up. (Did I mention that my husband abandoned me? Yeah, he’s sitting in a pub somewhere watching a friend play jazz. Probably with a glass in his hand and a smile on his face. Hmmm… I think he owes me BIG time.)
My least favourite moment – the one that ALMOST convinced me to call all the parents and say “HELP! Get these children out of here!” was about half an hour after all the adults had abandoned me. After cake and ice cream (yes, the depths of my insanity knows no bounds – I pumped them full of sugar!), the girls had disappeared into the basement to watch a movie. I poured the last of the coke into a glass and was about to sit down to enjoy it in a rare moment of peace and quiet. Yeah, sure. No rest for Mommy. And no coke either. I dumped the WHOLE cup of coke all over the floor. Yeah, Coke. Sticky. Sticky walls, sticky floor, sticky legs. Sad, sad mommy. And absolutely nothing else in the house I felt like drinking. Colour me disappointed. And sticky.
But that was only the beginning of my misadventure. Julie called from the basement that the movie wasn’t working. I went downstairs to a very hyper room full of little girls. And in the middle of that, I discovered that some of them had managed to burst the air mattress they were supposed to sleep on by jumping on it. And someone else had spilled a whole cup of pop on the futon – the other place where some of them were supposed to sleep. And remember what had brought me downstairs in the first place – the movie wasn’t working. Ahhhhh!!! Panic! No beds for them to sleep on and no movie to give me at least an hour of peace. WHAT was I going to do? Umm… let’s just say the girls saw my grumpy side at that moment.
Well, I managed to clean up the mess, flip the futon to the dry side, and get the movie working again. They remained relatively quiet while watching the movie and no-one has come up to report any more spilled drinks or other mis-haps. They’re managing to make themselves relatively comfortable in sleeping bags on the hard floor, so if they ever actually lie down, perhaps we’ll all get at least a little sleep.
Did I mention that before this insanity started, I thought it would be a good idea to sew them ALL funky purses as their goodie bags? Yeah, that’s right, I really AM insane. And this was in the middle of one of the craziest months EVER with soccer every night, a major week-long session of board meetings and schmoozing out of town big-wigs, and about 15 parties for the girls to go to. (And in case you’re wondering why there are SEVEN bags, it’s because I actually let Julie invite SEVEN people, but rather mercifully, two of them couldn’t make it.)
But lest you should think I’m the only one who’s a little insane/obsessive/ought-to-be-committed, I didn’t actually do much of the actual work of planning the party. That would be my amazing sister ccap and two friends. They organized an Amazing Race game all over the neighbourhood. It was a hit for all involved, including the adults who huffed and puffed trying to keep up with a bunch of energetic and highly competitive little girls. (We had to go along to save the girls from themselves – on more than one occasion, we had to hold them back from plunging into the street in front of a car – out of sheer competitiveness.) We were happy for the clues that actually required a bit of time and effort on their parts (like drinking an entire Slurpee, chewing each piece of Bubblicious gum in a pack until they could successfully blow a bubble, and putting together a Kinder Surprise after eating the chocolate.)
And then after planning an elaborate game, The Amazing Auntie baked a matching cake. My girls are possibly the luckiest kids around to have her for an auntie. She has set the standard impossibly high – I can’t imagine how I’ll ever live up to this with her off-spring.
Seriously, though, other than the moment of sheer panic, I don’t mind the giggles of girls in the basement. I’m happy for the friendships they have and I like to see them having fun. I’ll get through this night in one piece (just a little sticky and probably a tad tired), and hopefully I’ve helped create a memory that will stick with them. Some day this house will be painfully quiet and I’ll probably long for just one more crazy night of giggling. For now, I’ll try to enjoy it.
Now please, PLEASE let this thunderstorm pass without any of the girls getting scared OR (heaven forbid) the power going out! There’s only so much I can take!