Sunday, August 11, 2013

Purple Party, Tonsillitis, Juggling and All that Jazz

Yesterday was my firstborn's 10th birthday party. Her actual birthday was Thursday, and she'd decided months ago that she wanted to have a purple-themed party and to invite lots of friends, aware that I have decreed that 10 is the last year of large parties until 16. (I have given all my kids a biggish party every year, so I think it's reasonable to have a pause from 10 to 16. They can take a couple of friends to the movies or something in those years, but a break from large parties is definitely in order).

Preparing for the Purple Party was always going to be complicated, compared with previous years, by the fact that I am now working fulltime, and in fact have only been in my job two weeks. I expected that, but what I didn't count on was:

1. Husband having flu last week, and its aftermath this week;
2. Youngest having a heavy cold for the front end of the week;
3. Getting sick myself on Thursday; and, most challengingly,
4. My middle girl going down like a ton of bricks last Sunday with severe tonsillitis, and being worryingly ill all week.

The 8 year old, E, really scared us this week - on penicillin since Sunday, by Friday morning she really wasn't showing any improvement, and had stopped eating altogether and mostly stopped drinking too. My Mum had come over to care for her on Monday, husband worked at home Tuesday and has Wednesdays off, and I worked at home both my usual Thursday and half of Friday (I took Friday afternoon as sick leave, as I was by that time quite ill myself).

I ended up taking E back to the doctor on Friday afternoon, and he switched her to a different antibiotic, and ruled that she needed serious rehydration. The turnaround, just 4 hours after the first dose of Augmentin and two glasses of Hydralite, was astonishing. No longer unresponsive, she started sitting up, nibbling at crackers, and demanding things of her sisters. The relief was enormous.

So by the time A's party rolled around yesterday, I was neither as mentally nor as physically prepared as I wanted to be, but somehow, it all mostly came together, with a bit of help from my family and friends.

I leaned heavily on the power of community this time, to get through and get it all done. My friend J sourced purple fruit for me and came early to make fairy bread; my Mum baked slices and my Dad painted a Flying Purple People Eater for us, and they both worked tirelessly in the kitchen during the party and cleaning up afterwards; my brother and his girlfriend supervised party games.

Another family friend helped hang the piniata; and earlier, my wunderkind cake friend, K, worked with A to decorate the three-layer purple cake. (I had pre-baked and frozen the layers last weekend when I wasn't sick, which, with hindsight, turned out to be an awesome piece of forward planning).

And even though there wasn't as much homemade food as usual - cupcakes, birthday cake, purple jellies and Mum's slices were about it - the supermarket provided handsomely, and the kids scoffed fruit, fairy bread, potato gems, sausage rolls and party pies, lollies, franks and chips & beetroot dip quite happily. It might not have been as tightly organised as usual, but the purple balloons, purple table covers and purple guests provided a jaunty feel. The games were simple, but Musical Statues, Pin the Horn on the Flying Purple People Eater, Chocolate Surgery and the piniata were all enjoyed by the kids.

The best parts, though, were that the 8 year old was able to come and mostly enjoy herself (although, of course, was very fatigued by the end) and that the 10 year old was thrilled with it, declaring it was *just* the party she wanted. I may feel like I've run a marathon in thongs today, as the adrenalin recedes and my virus advances, but I'm glad we pushed through and made it happen.

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