Saturday we had 7 girls over for a slip-and-slide birthday party (with pinatas, of course!) at home. This was our first party at home in 3 years, and I was more than a bit nervous about making it turn out to be fun. At some level, how bad can a party be? The girls will have friends to play with, cake to eat, candy, and party favors. But there is always the question of organized entertainment.
The slip-and-slide, thanks to Brian, became a triple-length soaped-up raceway for daring girls. Although Emily, as usual, pushed the limits of possibility the farthest, all the girls were, in fact, daring, and gave excellent runs. They beat up the pinatas, climbed in the treehouse, were well mannered at lunch, and generally great company.
They also, as it turned out, were a good crew of naturalists. We often collect fossils on family trips (a tradition passed down from my in-laws), and some of the discards end up in the gravel next to our shed. I had used some of these rocks and fossils to hold down their place cards for lunch, and when I told them they could trade with each other, they spent probably 30 minutes poking around the gravel and turning up brachiopods, trilobites, horn coral, and geodes, not to mention lovely smooth river rocks of all sorts. One young collector took home about 9 trilobites, and another had to be convinced by her father to abandon one rock because it was so large she couldn't lift it.
I can't plan for this kind of entertainment. One of my most dismal failures of a birthday party was a bulb planting event for Emily's September birthday. The children correctly perceived that the party was thinly disguised garden work, and the fact that they could barely pierce the soil with their shovels left most of the bulb planting work to me. But on this day, Hazel's 6th birthday, even the ant nests under the rocks held their attention. The clouds passed, leaving only a few drops. No one got cut or bruised or damaged. The day was a success. (WHEW!)
Happy Birthday Hazel!