Sunday, October 21, 2012
A few weeks ago Liam and I thought up the idea of having brunch for all the boys at his new school and a few of the boys he really misses from school last year. Liam still needs pretty quick drop offs at school to make the transition easily, and I'm usually rushing to get to work in the morning anyway, like most of the other parents. Pick up is more relaxed, but I do this only about once a week. I wanted a chance to meet some of the other parents, and to spend a little time with these boys. Liam just loves the idea of a party at his house. . .any party for any reason. We invited 8 boys and 6 showed up, along with some older and younger siblings and parents.
I think brunch is the perfect party meal for little kids. It ensures that boys show up already having eaten once, but it's not too late in the day where tired may have set in, and it lets you serve food guaranteed to please. We served whole wheat waffles with butter and maple syrup, scrambled eggs, and fruit. We offered "green juice" (kale smoothie) or water to drink. I have learned that it is key to not try to do too much or have too many choices at these kinds of things. A surprising number of boys wanted green juice and pretty much all the parents did.
Thank goodness that brunch went off with out a hitch, due in large part to significant advance prep work and the fact that my mother showed up at 9:00 am with the fruit plate, hung out in the kitchen pouring coffee for the parents, and then put the waffles in the oven to reheat and scrambled the eggs right on time. It helps tremendously to have a mother who will cheerfully stop at the store for you the morning of the brunch to buy eggs when you realize you have run almost out, and then just as cheerfully stand in the kitchen and cook them for six 4-5 year old boys, and their siblings and parents. Thanks mom!
While she was doing all that, I was outside encouraging the nature treasure hunt to go off, and watching bemused as there was both yelling of the "Don't follow me!" variety and crying of the "I just want to play with you!" variety. So much for boys growing in friendship and community, as advertised -- by me! -- on the invitations. Although the boys did get over it, and after they ate their weight in waffles happily ran around the yard and played "house fire" all together, including rescuing Oliver from an upstairs bedroom (by tramping through the house, I did not let them get the rope ladder out). So much for nature treasure hunts, I guess.
I had a neighbor write me after the brunch and ask how these parties come together, and it really is just those three things: keep the options simple and limited, do absolutely every possible thing in advance that you can, and make sure you have help day of because once people get there you will be dealing with them and you will not easily be able to stand in the kitchen and scramble eggs, you just won't. I've promised Liam we can do this three or four times during the school year. I think the next bunch will be in January.