Sunday, May 6, 2007

Party Time

Note to self: if I ever dream up another party that involves making a virtual world into reality, remember the many, many hours of work and creativity that it took to pull off the Webkinz party. And try to forget that Doodle's thank you and hug made it all worthwhile. I've thrown some fairly elaborate kids' birthday parties--I've even had parents tell me that I should go in the business--but this one exhausted me. I prepped for weeks, and Saint Nana did much of the shopping for the party--and still it took the entire day on Friday to "stage" the event.

Twelve tweens descended on our house Friday night for what was being billed by other parents as "the party of the year." Unfortunately word leaked out at school about the party, and Doodle was under considerable pressure from a few girls who weren't invited. One girl with whom she has never had a playdate suddenly wanted to schedule one; it didn't happen. Every one of the girls who came to the party has been to our house multiple times; they are Doodle's closest friends, and I expanded my original limit on invitees so that they could all be included. The others simply didn't want to miss out on a hot ticket.

The first guest arrived 30 minutes early; her teenage sister wasn't sure of the start time. Shortly before the magic hour, three more girls came racing to the door. Soon our living room was filled with excited girls selecting a Webkinz to play with and to take home. Next we moved on to the backyard where we had set up about 12 games for the girls to play, many of which were modeled on Webkinz games (Polar Plunge, Wheel of Wow, Webkinz Super Models, Wheel of Yum, etc.) and some of which were not (foosball, volleyball, ring toss, football throw, etc.) The girls earned money for winning the games; they could then use the money to buy items for their pet in the W Shop. I also had a house for each girl's Webkinz; a small pink castle storage box that I found at the dollar store. The girls loaded up their houses with beds (wood slabs with wooden spool legs and covered with a bedspread), dressers (another dollar store find), pools (it took me an entire evening a few weeks ago to paint 12 pools), tables, vases of flowers, balls, Frisbees, and other goodies. When the girls ran out of money, they raced outside to earn more by playing games; I expected them to mutiny and for the items in the store to become free, but it didn't happen. One of my two teenage helpers served as the busy, but highly capable shopkeeper.
After a pizza dinner, the girls put precut walls (card stock paper) and floors (patterned felt) into their home, made art for the walls, and designed their rooms. They also decided on names for their stuffed animals, and the pets visited each others' houses. Cake, ice cream, candles, and then it was time for everyone to leave. I just hope the parents of the few kids who didn't have a Webkinz yet won't hate me for the hours a week that their kids will now be spending on the computer.
Tootle missed some of the party because she was invited to an overlapping birthday party at Chuck E. Cheese, one of her favorite places. Nana chauffeured Tootle so I was without her assistance for much of the party, but it worked out fine. Doodle's friends are terrific girls: they all greeted Tootle with great enthusiasm when she arrived, and they proclaimed me "the top Webkinz designer." Tootle's birthday is in a few weeks, but this time I got smart: it will be a gymnastics party outside of the house. Next year she's get the Mommy Special party, and Doodle's will be outside of the house. It's the only way I'll have a chance of maintaining my sanity.

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