By Rob Grigor
FEEDING TIME.....(Part 2)
"TO BE OR NOT TO BE"
What followed was truly horrendous,
As the blowers were put to the test
And with forty nine children all blowing at once,
You'll have to imagine the rest.
The party hats proved yet
The elastic on half of them broke.
The food was half eaten, half thrown and half dropped
And the table, a river of Coke!
To be or not to be what? I hear you cry. Well there could be a variety of answers to that, all of which would
be relevant to this chapter. For example "in control" would
fit or "deafened" would be another good one. Even "sane"
would fit the bill, as it is at times like these that the well worn
phrase "they're driving me mad" tends to come out for an airing.
I am preparing to dive in at the deep end again here so I would ask
you to bear with me and you had better stand back a bit, there may be
a bit of a splash.
The single biggest mistake that you can
make at tea time is to give everyone a blower. True, they look festive
enough when they are lying there at the side of the plates. Indeed it
is hard to imagine that such an innocent device can be the cause of
so much mayhem. The oddity is that while most people are aware of the
phenomenal noise that children can create with these things, blowers
are still seen as part of the tea time experience. Referring back to
my comments about decorations in chapter 7,
the same principal holds true. Namely that children, while only too
happy to oblige by giving their own rendition of a trumpet voluntary,
should a blower be present on the table, will not question the absence
of them. Do not therefore feel obliged to have blowers, they are not
an essential part of the party table and will only make your job of
keeping control much harder. Remember once a child has a blower they
will continue to blow it at every possible opportunity, for the rest
of the party.
Now before I run into trouble with the
party blower manufacturing industry, I would like to point out that
I am not ruling out the purchase of blowers altogether. By all means
get blowers for the party but put them in the party bags. This admittedly
sneaky manoeuvre ensures that the loveable horde will still get the
chance to show off their musical talents, but it will be their own mummies
and daddies who will share this delightful experience.
Party hats on the other hand, or should
it be the other head, are a different kettle of fish (actually a kettle
of fish would probably make a great party hat). While they do not have
the obvious drawbacks of the blowers, there are still many reasons why
they are not such a good idea. Firstly once again, believe it or not,
children are very indifferent about party hats. Parents on the other
hand like to see their little dears dressed up and so they inflict these
weird and wonderful creations upon them. Many children do not like wearing
party hats at all. This is largely due to the elastic under the chin
being somewhat uncomfortable and the extreme difficulty of trying to
keep the infernal thing perched on their head. From your point of view
as the organiser the most common complaint will be "my elastic's
broken" and once again you will find yourself placed under unnecessary
pressure, trying to organise tea and run a repair shop at the same time.
Of course not everyone gives hats out at tea time preferring to do this
at the start of the party. If anything this a worse time to give them
out than at the tea table. At the start when you are trying to get their
attention and begin your games programme you can well do without the
extra distraction of party hats. Additionally the timid ones will often
become quite distressed when asked to put a hat on, seeing this as some
sort of indication that they actually want to be at the party.
Once again (party hat manufacturers take
note) if you want the children to have party hats, give them to the
homeward bound sweethearts at the end. This way it is entirely up to
them whether they put them on or not and you will not have to worry
about, "my elastic's broken".
There are two other optional tea table
items which are worth a mention here. The first of these is party poppers.
Under strict supervision it cannot be denied that party poppers are
both exciting and pretty. They are however explosive devices and children,
being blissfully unaware of the potential danger, will often be seen
pointing them directly into the faces of their friends. Some children
are also averse to loud bangs and will be quite upset by the noise,
so use them at your own peril.
Finally, crackers (no this is not a reference
to my mental state). On the face of it these would appear to be the
least perilous addition to the party table. They are however quite difficult
for little hands to pull properly and your assistance will often be
required. Remember also that the contents of these devices are frequently
paper hats, small toys and jokes. The hats are not a particular problem
as, having no elastic, the worse that can happen is that they tear and
become unwearable. The small plastic toys are similarly innocent (apart
from any whistles) although it would be wise to ensure that they are
not accidentally swallowed along with the food. As far as the printed
jokes are concerned these tend to be largely ignored. However if you
are blessed with one of the children wishing to show off his or her
reading skills by reciting the humorous? quip , you may be bombarded
with requests from the less talented ones for you to read their jokes
All of this seems fairly mild stuff but
you will see that once again by adding the crackers to the table you
are making more work for yourself which detracts from the all important
job of keeping an eye on the dears while they tuck-in to your wonderful
spread. Crackers once again make very nice hand-outs at home time!
By avoiding the distractions of any or
all of the above you should now find yourself surveying the wondrous
sight of complete harmony at the tea table. A bunch of happy smiling
faces preparing to devour that greatest of all treats which is party
food. You are already well on your way to tackling the concluding part
of verse 13...........
The food was half eaten, half
thrown and half dropped
And the table, a river of Coke!
Sounds yukky doesn't it but, as I am sure
you are aware by now, help is just around the corner or, to be exact,
on the next page as we prepare for our final attack on that rapidly
retreating monster whose name is Tea Time. Read on and hey, let's be
careful out there.