So, how did it go?
Well all things considered. Isn't it always the way when you have a million things to do to a deadline that everything, and I mean everything conspires against you.
I had to leave alot of the work until quite close to the party because I had an assignment to write. Mr Bogert was away from the day after the Small Person's birthday until the day before the party. I just managed to get the assignment written and sent on Thursday (after a few technical difficulties), and made a really good start (with my nan's help) on the Alice dress. Due to time I had to cut out all the pretty details I wanted to add like the lace at the neck, the frilly petticoat and the rows of black velvet ribbon I had planned for the hem of the skirt.
The night I was so ill! I was up all night. I was of no use to anyone the next day when Mr Bogert got home. He had to prepare all of the food, get the cameras ready, make sure everything was ready to go to the hall and all the other little jobs. There was no way I was well enough to make Zacky's dormouse costume, so I improvised. He wore one of his own shirts and waistcoats (not purple like it should be, but at least it was a wasitcoat), his brown fleece trousers and one of the Small Person's short sleeved pink cardigans instaed of the pink jacket I had intended to make. I did whip up a little brown bonnet with ears tied with a pink ribbon (instead of a pink bow tie), and the ears flopped everywhere because I didn't line, pad or wire them like I would normally.
Luckily we'd sorted Mr Bogert's costume a few weeks ago. I brightened up just enough to finish the Alice dress. It is made as a two piece: and elasticated full skirt with gathered frill at the hem, and a panelled bodice top with puffed (elasticated cuff) sleeves and velcro fastening at the back. The neckline was just bound with tape as there was no time (or energy) for facings or linings like I had planned, thn I tacked some black velvet ribbon over the top. The buttons are for show only and are absolutely lovely (I bought all the lady on the market had). The elastic in the skirt waistband needed to be thicker to hold the weight of the skirt, but I had to work with what I already had. The result was, the skirt kept riding down when she was running around at the party.
I had to ditch the idea of homemade rosettes for the game winners, luckily I had some plastic winner medals I'd bought from Wilkinsons. I had to ditch the idea of crowns for the winnder of the fancy dress competition, but it was OK because they had prizes at least. I had to ditch the idea of a homemade and decorated cake, but Costco to the rescue, we had a lovely large white iced cake with colourful balloons and happy birthday written on. I had to ditch the idea of marzipan mushrooms and 'eat me' 'drink me' labels, I had to ditch the tissue paper pom pom decorations and the playing card bunting, and and there were no balloons or flowers sprouting out of the teapots on the table.
I knew all of these things were missing from my grand scheme, but nobody else did, so I've had to learn to let it go. There's always her 18th....
On the day of the party the other grown ups who were helping came along. We had Uncle Ted as the King of Hearts, Auntie Simone as the Queen of Hearts, Auntie Heather as The Cheshire Cat, and Uncle Andy as the Caterpillar. Auntie Simone had a terrible cold, Auntie Heather had cracked her head open during the week at work. Going well so far...
I had managed to scrape a costume together for me: Mr Bogert's shirt and trousers, my brown shoes, a bit of felt quickly fashioned into a large bow tie and my jacket. The ears are off a stuffed animal mask that lives in the fancy dress box, but as it's intended for children I couldn't see through it (made even worse by my glasses), so the Small Person allowed me to unpick the mask and sew just the ears to one of her hair bands. I have promised they will be returned to their original state. I was also feeling better by the morning of the party, just a bit drained.
But we got there, we got ready, the kids arrived and we muddled through. Mr Bogert's mum, my Mum, my Grandad and my Nan ran drinks out of the kitchen for the grown ups and finshed laying the food out for us. My mum also filled the goody bags for me. Another things to slip by as time ran out.
I really have to hand it to Mr Bogert he put on quite a performance as the Mad Hatter! Alexandra should be able to look back at this party and how silly we were and say "wow, my Mummy and Daddy must really love me!". Special mention must also go to Auntie Simone who was convincingly bossy and in charge calling for heads to be chopped of left right and centre, giving the kids high fives and generally playing up along side Mr Bogert. You can tell she'll be a great teacher.
We didn't have time to do the photobooth like originally planned :( We were going to photo each child with Alex in costume as they arrived so that we could print it and put it on the thank you card. Instead we jumped staright into the games. First we played musical chairs, where there was some confusion about how mnay chairs to take away, who was in or out and who was even playing. Then Alexandra cried because she said she had tried really hard but still ended up out! Oh dear...
We got past that hiccup and then played musical statues with the Queen of hearts in charge. Those that were out got sweets, the winner got sweets and a medal sam as for musical chairs.
Then we did the painting the roses red relay. The whole winning team got medals, and everyone else got stickers.
Then we played the dice game. Mr Bogert had made a large cardboard cube with a picture of each of the characters we were dressed as on each side. The characters stand spread out around the room (March Hare, that was Me, Queen of Hearts, Caterpillar, Cheshire Cat, King of Hearts and Playing Card guard). Our King of Hearst was in the middle of feeding the baby though, so we had to enlist a Dad. Uncle Anthony was supposed to be the playing card guard but there was a power cut at his work, so he was running, late, so we had to ask another dad! (I told you everything went well!). Anyway, The Mad Hatter rolls the dice and whichever character it lands on the children all have to run to, and that character gives out stickers. We carried this on for enough turns to take us up to the hour mark and food time.
Mr Bogert and Simone went around entertaining whilst we dished out food around the kids. Then I got called into the side room to be told Zack had been sick everywhere. Yay. So he was covered, I had no spare clothes with us, he had been sitting in the pushchair and that was covered. Got him cleaned up as best as possible with help especially from Uncle Ted. Managed to find a clean vest in the change bag and borrowed a blanket to wrap him in. I had no choice but to go back to the party - the problem of doing your own entertainment. My Nan sat with him and eventually he fell asleep. The pushchair is ruined. No matter how much we scrub, you just can't get the smell out :(
Back to the party -
We did the cake and then realised we'd forgotten the jelly and hastily dished that out. Mr Bogert had set the jellies in little teacups that his Mum had been collecting for us. (We also forgot to put out the jam tarts and party ring biscuits!).
Mr Bogert had the children conga away from dinner and all around the room. Uncle Anthony had finally managed to get away from work and was put in charge of the video camera.
Whilst Mr Bogert and I fiddled around with the music (because we hadn't had time to note down which number songs were for when) Auntie Simone jumped in and occupied the kids with a Queen of Hearst version of Simon Says.
Music finally sorted the Mad Hatter, March Hare and Queen of Hearts showed the children how to do the dance moves to some songs chosen by the Small Person:
Superman (You know "Honk your horn, ring your bell, wave your hands, supermaaaaaaaan")
Aga Do (that one is surprisingly tiring!)
and finally we had the kids get their grown ups for Cha Cha slide where we (mostly me) kept getting mixed up with left and right because we were trying to do it backwards so we would be a mirror image for the kids. I'd been ok in Aga Do!
The winners of the fancy dress were chosen, my cousin's little step daughter as the white rabbit, and twin boys from Alexandra's school dressed as Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum (there was another set of tweedles who were equally good - it was so hard to choose!). Goody bags were handed out, children went away with smiles, the Small Person was happy.
It took over an hour to clean up with alot of help from everyone. Then we all went home and collapsed in a big heap!
We had said this was the last big party for Alexandra for a few years now. She's at the age where she can select a few close friends and go bowling or to the cinema. I'm relieved in one sense, but a little sad in another. No more children's fancy dress parties and typical party games. Another mile marker in her growth passed.