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Tansy Rayner Roberts

Happy Alice

August 12th, 2012 at 18:32

We have survived Jemima’s birthday! I wanted to do something special for her because she missed out on a party last year, as the whole family was sick, and ever since January when half the people she knew had birthday parties, she has been wondering where hers is. A year is a long time between two and three…

The Alice in Wonderland theme was, admittedly, my plan because I figured it was one of the last birthdays where I would get to decide the theme instead of having to incorporate whatever crazymadawesome ideas my daughter thought up for herself.

I think I made the right call.

The cake was a two-layered job (first time I think I’ve ever stacked cakes!) with a white rabbit & fob watch dairy & gluten free chocolate mud cake on top, and a Cheshire Cat pink and purple striped butter cake underneath. And yes, that’s a Tick Tock biscuit making the fob watch.

Um. I overestimated the number of people we had coming. There is a LOT of cake left. Still, that is a good problem to have.

Refreshments included a teapot full of juice, jam tarts, and bread-and-butterfly fairy bread.

Also, red velvet cupcakes for the grown ups! Possibly this added to the surfeit of cake, but these at least got entirely eaten, and gave me an excuse to use the suits-of-cards cupcake picks I had also ordered off eBay. (the flamingo drinks stirrers went into the party bags.)

I’ve got into the habit of getting the girls a birthday-party-relevant fancy dress costume each birthday, which is generally a good investment (Raeli’s Wonder Woman costume from several years ago is still well in use, for instance) and could not resist the adorable Alice costume I found for Jem on eBay. The only problem is that the pinafore is basically a weird Moebius strip design which I find impossible to put on her myself. Luckily there’s a physicist in the house!

Raeli, meanwhile, was easily sorted with some white bunny ears, a homemade watch (it says “You Are Late!”) and an old velvet doublet from the wardrobe. Luckily she is keen to recycle the same costume for Book Week later this week. RESULT.

Rather than subject a bunch of parents to such a specific fancy dress option, I decided to make costuming one of the party activities, so as soon as the kids appeared at the door they were settled down with a plastic top hat, and lots of art materials (mostly stickers) to decorate said hat. They all created such gorgeous works of millinery! I would totally do this again for a party. It was especially useful for the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party but I’m sure could be adapted to other themes and the kids were all very attached, happily taking their hats home with them at the end. Kudos to my Mum for helping them all with their masterpieces.

There are so many cute Alice and Wonderland THINGS online, but my most sensible investment was buying rubber stamps instead of stickers – I wanted the girls to be able to decorate invitations and party bags themselves, and this worked really well. I’m quite tempted to get hold of a whole lot more interesting stamps now, so maybe it wasn’t the wise choice after all…

Lots of work beforehand, but it was actually a nice, casual day – my party planning style tends to involve lots of medium sized ideas, most of which can be jettisoned at the last minute. And oh boy, did I jettison many of them as yesterday wore on and it became obvious that I wasn’t going to be able to make mini-quiches, marshmallow teacups or a bunch of other things I thought maybe I would.

Thank goodness for the weather, which enabled us to send the kids outside for several bouts of general play (and indeed many of the adults liked it out there too, which solved the chair problem). I couldn’t face too many party games with three-year-olds. I am pleased to say that the pass the parcel happened with only small amounts of petty jealousy and plenty of good sportmanship. Oh, and we were having such a nice time that everyone stayed nearly 2 hours longer than planned, so we indoctrinated all their children into My Little Pony. Hooray! I *think* we’ve even managed to pull off the ‘house is actually cleaner than it was before we started planning for the party’ trick, too.

But the best part was near the end of the party when my little girl (THREE) jumped into my arms in a heap of cotton and satin and cuddled me. “Tired Alice?” I suggested.

“No, I’m a Happy Alice!” she said.

So proud of her for having a good day. I think Raeli was MUCH older before we managed a birthday party that didn’t involve tears & overwhelmedness.

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3 Responses to “Happy Alice”

  1. Grant Watson Says:

    You clearly rule at motherhood. My mum was exceptional at birthday parties, no matter the theme or bizarro child requests, plus my dad made a habit of sneaking in, putting a Dixieland jazz record on and convincing the entire party to start marching congo-line style around our house.

  2. tansyrr Says:

    I work hard at trying to make them memorable for the smallest degree of effort! It’s all about the telling detail… but not driving yourself up the wall to do it!

    Your parents sound awesome :D

  3. Kaia Says:

    SO CUTE. Your girls are adorable, the cake looks amazing and I’m sad I wasn’t there to eat it! And you know, squee with the birthday girl.

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