Delphine Turns Eight

...on Tuesday May 10. But her party was on Saturday, a perfect day for a party. Delphine invited four friends: Ursa, Darina, Amelia and Rosebella.

The day was sunny and warm, and almost all the guessts arrived on time. We started the fun as we usually do, decorating brown paper lunch bags for loot bags. This is a pretty good way to keep everybody busy while all the guests arrive, although it's surprising how quickly a child can coat a paper bag with glitter and stickers. The girls spent a good eight to ten minutes on their bags before disappearing upstairs to "visit" the cat. I don't like parties to go upstairs because it creates far too much mess, so I called them down and sent them outside to play while we waited for the one straggler to arrive.

After the final guest appeared, we rounded up the whole gang and walked up to a nearby parkette to terrorize unsuspecting dog walkers with a series of silly races. We did a traditional speed race, then a hopping race, a egg and spoon race, a three-legged race and a sack race. It was a pretty nice combination: the speediest kid was totally hamstrung by the sack race, the least athletic kid turned out to have nerves of steel and totally shellacked everyone in the egg and spoon race. Delphine won the sack race because most of the big kids collapsed in exhaustion and the little kids just kept falling over.

After everyone was worn out and sweaty we headed back to the house — curiously, the children managed to muster enough energy to run most of the way there — for sub sandwiches and cheesies and apple juice. Everyone was happy with lunch. Even the children who don't like sandwiches (seriously?! Who doesn't like sandwiches?) were convinced to disassemble their sandwiches and enjoyed all the ingredients thereof.

Delphine once again designed an awesome and original cake: lemon cake sandwiching a thick layer of rainbow sherbet, with blue buttercream icing. I decorated it with kosher jelly candy shaped like slices of citrus fruit. (On sale after Passover.) The cake was a hit with everyone; some kids ate just the cake, some kids ate just the sherbet — no-one ate just the icing, I guess that stops at about five or six — and some kids ate the whole thing and had seconds.

Next Delphine opened her presents, slowly, paying great attention to each gift, much to the irritation of those children whose gifts she hadn't opened yet. She got a Geronimo Stilton book which she was very gracious about even though she has been openly scornful of Geronimo Stilton lately. (It's come up because Cordelia likes Geronimo Stilton — they read them at daycare.) From the same child she also got Happy Birthday Bad Kitty by Nick Bruel, which is a fairly witty comic/novel hybrid. From her school bestie she got the puzzle game Rush Hour. From her friend down the street she got a big sketchpad, a box of bright, gorgeous oil pastels and a book called The Sisters 8.

The best present was from Ursa, or rather her mother Tanya. Tanya snuck all through the house and hid a series of clues leading Delphine to her gift, a set of stilts. Delphine loves a treasure hunt, and she was thrilled with the treasure, too. The girls spent a good part of the rest of the party trying them out.

Gradually all the kids except Ursa left (Ursa's a semi-permanent addition to our household and doesn't count as company). I was just about to collapse into well-earned slumber (did I mention the day before the party I published a book? Well, I did. More about that soon.) when my friends Kat and Joel arrived. Kat had been away in Asia for weeks so I peeled myself off the couch to give her a hug and make some tea.

The party finally came to an end when Ursa and Kat and Joel went home. Delphine went to bed happy and exhausted.