Yesterday we went to a birthday party out in Middlesex. It was high quality. The weather was fine, albeit a little cold, so sledding on the crusty snow was the main event when we arrived. As far as I know no one got seriously hurt, the runaway sleds were all tracked down, the puppy didn’t bite anyone hard enough to draw blood, and all of the hot chocolate was consumed. The adults in the party were even offered the choice of peppermint schnapps (for the hot chocolate) or scotch whiskey (for the eggnog). Fun was had by all.
Eventually things moved indoors. We gathered at the foot of both the twenty foot tall Christmas tree (no joke) and the indoor climbing wall. This same living room also offered a mountain view with what couldn’t have been a more perfect sunset. Cake was then to be had with messy faces all around the children and we were off down the greasy hill in the dark. We stopped to eat in Richmond at On the Rise Bakery to sample their expanded menu. Showers for the children topped off a grand winter (fall, technically) day.
Today we were off to a morning party, north to Winooski instead of east this time. It was a different affair, yet equally rewarding for the bounty of child foibles and affectionate commentary. These youngsters had the opportunity, after various healthy snacks (really–bagels and carrots and pears were eaten with happy abandon) to smash a pinata. That took some doing. Apparently the construction phase of the pinata was dominated by fears that these small yet enthusiastic children would tear into the thing with so much gusto that it would spill its goods on the first swing. Multiple layers of paper mache helped to ease these fears, yet the choice of the large wooden spoon (larger than most wooden spoons, but still, a wooden spoon, not a broom handle or a bat or something with more leverage) and the reduced swing area in the low-ceilinged basement meant multiple turns for each child yielded zero treats on the floor.
A couple parents took some swings, the second of them sending the top half of the spoon caroming through the crowd and skittering across the basement floor. After some “whoa”ing, a search for a baton substitute yielded a hatchet, a two-by-four, and finally, a small square scrap of lumber, just right for small hands. That, ultimately, with more parental aid, did the trick. Candy and prizes poured forth and an orderly retrieval took place.
Both of these birthday events meant good fun for the children (friends, some old and some new, as well as new toys to check out, and plenty of kid-friendly eats) and quality time for the adults. I spend too little time in the company of adults in a social setting. I have always been less a social creature than many, but time to bat around ideas and share stories is pretty key. Getting in some good conversation and humor helped energize me. The schnapps might have helped a little at the first party, and the two extra cups of coffee (it had whipped cream and cinnamon!) at the second may have helped oil the social gears. But I think I did it pretty much by myself.
I made friends all by myself! See what I’m saying? Even my everyday language has turned into kid-speak. I really do need to make sure I get out more.