I once loved entertaining, and I actually still do but it is considerably more difficult these days. There is nothing more fun than having a bunch of your friends over to eat, drink and be merry. Be it store bought or long slaved in a hot kitchen, good friends and good conversation are the key components. However post children good conversation consists of something more like this:
"So, what have you been up to?"
"Wow, how exciting, wha....Ryan, we don't eat trash"
"When did you...Evan, we don't stand on the slide"
"Does someone have poop in their pants?"
and good food, well, is usually eaten so fast that it's hard to tell the difference between good, and horse meat.
We had 55 adults and kids, plus 11 toddlers (not including our two) under 3 here today. I'm not sure what I was thinking except that there were a lot of people that a)hadn't seen the boys, EVER. or b) hadn't seen the boys in a long while and/or c) were our good friends. Those three things make for a large party.
I decided on a bubble theme so we had lots of bubble wands, plus we set up our sand table, water table and the swing set we got for the boys birthday. Oh, and we made sure all of our ride on outdoor toys were available. (cars, slides, airplanes) There were lots of other things, you know, food, cake, drinks, etc. The important thing is the boys had a BLAST, we got to see 65 of our closest friends and relatives, and we all survived!
I have to say that there were large chunks of time that I had NO IDEA where my kids were. With 55 adults around, I suppose that isn't a huge problem. If someone had started climbing our rocks, well, I'm sure there would have been an adult or two that stopped them, right? But because I had these lapses in parenting, I was able to have some nearly complete conversations. Wow how nice it was. Yes, I was distracted by the other 64 or so guests, making sure that the food stayed restocked, and occasionally grabbing one of the other 11 kids out of the grasp of danger, but really this was a great way to get some adult conversation. Now I know, a 5 to 1 ratio should be fine.
Many of our friends and relatives noted how well behaved all of the kids were. They seemed down right shocked that there were no fights or tantrums. I wasn't. We have great friends with great kids. The parents were all there to step in before anything got out of hand, even if I wasn't!
There was one moment when I realized I could only see Evan. I got a wee bit panicked. I shouted "Has anyone seen Ryan?" and I got a lot of No's. Then all of a sudden he toddled out from behind a table responding to my call. He had playdough in his hand, a grin on his face, and he greeted me with a big "HIIII!" Whew.
I was shocked (and very proud) at how independent the boys were. Evan has been having some issues with clingy-ness and so I thought he might be glued to one of us during the whole occasion, but NOOOO. These boys were happy as two pigs in mud. Running around the yard and house with no restrictions. I'd get drive-by hugs, or smiles, and then they were off again. Playing with this or that, talking to one of their admirers or just being. The only time they got a bit clingy, was at the very end of the night, which is to be expected. The distractions were fewer, they were beyond tired, and it had been a Long, Long day.
I didn't get pictures of all of our friends, I hope others who took pictures will pass them along, please (smile), but one of the most remarkable things about this group of kids is of the 13 toddlers, 7 had prolonged stays in the NICU with us, (okay none as long as us, but really, how many babies stayed as long as us?) and one more had a very short stay. It is a true testament to the parents of these kids (and the wonderful care we received in the NICU), most of whom were so terribly sick, that they are all thriving, energetic, bright lights in our lives. When you look at the statistics for preemies, and then you look at our children, all I can say is wow. I'm so proud to call all of you fellow alums of the NICU. As for the other 5 kids, well, you know, you're pretty special too.
Thanks to everyone who came out to help us celebrate.