Introduction Foreword Chapter 1 - In Praise Of Children's Parties Chapter 2 - So What Was Chapter 1 All About? Chapter 3 - Inviting Trouble Chapter 4 - We've Only Just Begun Chapter 5 - Beware Of Strangers Bearing Gifts Chapter 6 - Let The Games Commence Chapter 7 - That's Another Fine Mess Chapter 8 - Feeding Time At The Zoo Chapter 9 - To Be Or Not To Be Chapter 10 - Tea For 2 (or 20, or 200!) Chapter 11 - Everybody Get Down Chapter 12 - The Party's Over Appendix 1 - Parties Outside The Home Appendix 2 - Further Reading Appendix 3 - Table of Contents

The Complete Children's Party Survival Guide

By Rob Grigor

 

CHAPTER 9


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 more trouble,
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 out too.

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.

Introduction Foreword Chapter 1 - In Praise Of Children's Parties Chapter 2 - So What Was Chapter 1 All About? Chapter 3 - Inviting Trouble Chapter 4 - We've Only Just Begun Chapter 5 - Beware Of Strangers Bearing Gifts Chapter 6 - Let The Games Commence Chapter 7 - That's Another Fine Mess Chapter 8 - Feeding Time At The Zoo Chapter 9 - To Be Or Not To Be Chapter 10 - Tea For 2 (or 20, or 200!) Chapter 11 - Everybody Get Down Chapter 12 - The Party's Over Appendix 1 - Parties Outside The Home Appendix 2 - Further Reading Appendix 3 - Table of Contents

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