By Rob Grigor
WE'VE ONLY JUST BEGUN
(another good opening for a song)
At three thirty the doorbell
The party, it started at four.
"I'm sorry we're early", said Tabitha's mum,
"And I hope you won't mind just one more,
Only Tabitha's cousin is staying
And I thought maybe she could come too,
Well I'd better be off. Oh look, here come some more!
I don't want to hold up the queue".
What is wrong with this scenario?......
The great day has arrived and, having paid
meticulous attention to every detail of the party-to-be, you are left
with just enough time to pick yourself up, dust yourself down, and put
on that expression which says "hey I am in control" (there's
another song in there somewhere).
Suddenly the peace of the moment
is shattered by the ringing of the doorbell. "Surely that can't be any of the
guests already" you say, half hoping, half praying that it's only
Jehovah's Witnesses or an insurance salesman. As you walk to the door
the shadows of both large and not so large people behind the glass confirm
your worst fears. A surge of panic now begins to take hold of you and
you swing open the door with a fixed almost maniacal grin on your face
which attempts to say "I'm cool I can handle this". You are
met with the nightmare vision of a woefully early parent, complete with
offspring, utterring those immortal words "I'm sorry we're early
but........." In the confusion of the moment you find yourself
responding, as if in a dream, with "Oh don't worry, no not at all,
he/she can come in and play for a while until the others arrive".
In this one simple gesture of misguided
goodwill you have relinquished your hitherto total control of the proceedings
and taken your first step towards the mayhem you were hoping to avoid.
All of this you will note has happened before the party has even started.
Far better therefore, to agree with the errant parent that they are indeed
too early and, as you yourself still have things to do, would they kindly
call back at the appropriate time as stated on the invitation.
Phew, some pretty heavy stuff
there eh? Of course we have looked here at the worst possible scenario. In practice
not many children arrive half an hour early although it does happen.
The principal however remains the same, accept the guests into your
home only when you are good and ready. The same line of thought applies
to "extras". This situation occurs from time to time when
an attempt will be made to introduce a friend or relative of one of
the guests into the party, despite no invitation having been issued
to the little dear.
Once again this rather cheeky
in direct conflict with the idea of a well organised party. You will
(hopefully) have spent a great deal of time in the run up to the main
event making sure that you have the correct amount of everything. Items
such as Party Bags, Prizes, places at the tea table, will have been
checked and double checked to avoid problems on the day. Therefore accept
"extras" at your peril, far better to politely refuse on the
grounds of not enough room/food/straight-jackets (just kidding) and
remain IN CONTROL.
In the previous
chapter I mentioned keeping a note of
the invitation details. Here at the start of the proceedings, is where
that seemingly trivial pursuit (no advertising intended) pays off. Armed
with all the information, you will not only be able to reassure yourself
of the party starting and finishing times but also be able to confidently
remind the parents of these. Plus you will have a full list of exactly
who should (and therefore who should not) be at the party.
In summing up Oh diligent and (hopefully)
patient reader, the art of organising a successful children's party
lies in having a game plan (Rugby springs to mind again) and sticking