On Friday we hosted a play date. Actually, I'm not really sure that "play date" is the right phrase. Can you still call it a "play date" when there are fourteen people? I think that is nearing Mongolian Horde standards personally, especially when such a number is at my house. Birthday parties, pool parties... the more the merrier. Play dates? Not so much. You see, if it's a birthday party or some other shindig we're throwing then it would be on a weekend and thus, the Husband would be my entertainment wingman and not to mention, certain events even come with Grandparents, so that's even more hands to lighten the load. But a playdate on a Friday morning? I should have my head examined.
I had made this mistake once before, in February, when I had Crazy Mom and two of her brood and a whole slew of other folks over. I was rather exasperated when I found Thing #2 climbing on one of my chairs attempting to molest my taxidermy. I was even more exasperated when, after three hours, instead of the gang hitting the pavement, napping children were stowed in a playtent on the family room floor and it seemed like the house invaders would never leave.
Well, six months had passed and I felt like I had to host one of these things again. Especially since some of the Gymboree moms had begun organizing a "knitting group/playdate" weekly get-together. I had missed the first one of these and then one of the other moms volunteered my house for the second meeting (which, thankfully, happened to coincide with a crisis at The Job, so I had the pleasure of cancelling), finally, I attended the third meeting. I had offered to bring the bagels and was then upbraided by the host-mom who insisted that, since I offered to bring bagels, I would have to arrive ON TIME at 10am since Crazy Mom could only stay for a short bit (and was obviously, entitled to bagels). I arrived at a condo village 15 minutes from my house and had to park in timbuktu and then found Crazy Mom, host mom and no one else. Nobody else showed for more than an hour. But, god forbid I had gotten there 10 or 15 minutes late!
But, enough back story. The same mom who acted as Bagel Nazi then begins sending me e-mail messages about who I should invite. I didn't mind when the first suggestion was another mom we know. I did mind when Bagel Mom asked if she could bring her neighbor (whom I've never met) and her neighbor's three children, the oldest of whom is nine. The addition of all of these folks would have brought the head count up to 20! Like I'm hosting a summer camp or something. Then Bagel Mom suggests that we do everything pot-luck. No complaints from me, right up until she tells us all that she'll be bringing cream cheese left over from last week. I'm sorry, but I have a thing about leftovers. I'm not bringing leftovers to your house, so please don't bring them to mine. Especially not week-old dairy products.
I shopped for this event. Some of the food included: Lunchmeat: One pound of ham, one pound of turkey, 3/4 pound white american cheese (which, sadly, was sliced too thin for some of the moms), 16 yo-kids yogurts, 24 juice boxes (white grape juice and apple juice only), I made 24 mini lemon poppyseed muffins (I had learned from last time NOT to make blueberry muffins), 16 blueberry muffins (very good, made by another mom, unfortunately not stain proof-- so these were relegated to kitchen consumption only), two bags of string cheese, a bunch of bananas, two loaves of bread, one package of pita, grapes, apples, a pear, Cereal bars, lemonade and water. Bagel Mom brought 14 bagels and the aforementioned dubious cream cheese. Another guest brought macaroons. Crazy Mom (who this time brought all three of her darling children, including her 6 year old son) brought nothing (and then seemed disappointed when there was no coffee served).
I had previously done a toy sweep in order to remove from the play area toys of Miss B.'s which either couldn't easily be decontaminated with a clorox wipe or were of the kind which would cause a toddler meltdown (or an adult meltdown) if other kids were playing with them. This included much of Miss B.'s handmade soft play food, her $150 German block set from Grandpa, her Melissa & Doug Pizza Party Set and all art supplies (this turned out to be a wise move as at one point during the event Thing #1and Thing #2 made a beeline for the kitchen screaming for art supplies).
The horde descended upon us quickly. I should have also removed from play the styrofoam Sword, Cutlass and Mace. Thing #1 (aka Crazy Mom's eldest) loved to swing the various foam weapons all around the house and at the other children as if he were a samurai. At one point he attacked Miss B.'s mini Dyson vacuum knocking it over on her. Kids were jumping on and collapsing the play tent, the Thomas train table? Was demolished as if it were the old Penn Station. Small fights would occasionally break out between kids for toys and/or juice boxes and/or food in general. We had lunch. Twice. (Let me not forget the package of hot dogs and buns-- where one mom complained that there weren't turkey dogs and that the 97% fat free hot dogs tasted like sawdust, but she still ate two of them.)
They were here for four hours.
Casualties? The train table still appears to be missing a piece of track.
I'm sure I'll be finding leftover juice boxes hidden in strange places all around the house from now until the holidays.
The cat has just barely come out of hiding. There was a blueberry handprint streaked across the bulk of my island cabinets. Once they were gone I felt like the only way to actually get the house clean was to just hit it with a flame thrower ala Kurt Russell in John Carpenter's The Thing.
Remind me, never do this again. Thanks in advance.