"Heeeeey good paaarrty" croaked an old friend as she staggered out the door in the wee hours on the night.
"thank you for the party" emailed another "sorry it's taken me a week to write but I think I have been hungover for the last six days"
"With the way your party was going when I left I wouldn't have been surprised if all everyone had ended up in the spa together" commented another mate's husband.
Ed and I awoke the next morning with woolly heads, furry mouths and bloodshot eyes. The collateral damage:
2 cases of wine - gone
2 cases of beer - gone
two large tables worth of food - gone
One ladybrid cake - gone
The occassion? Just a one year old childs birthday party.
Having a baby is a big deal and getting to one year without damaging that baby, and still being reasonably sane seemed like a good reason to celebrate. Ed and I also had never had a proper housewarming party so we thought we'd chuck a bit of a do. And what a do it turned out to be.
With a June baby you are never going to be able to take good weather for granted and as Ivy's mother I suspect we will be doomed to succession of indoor parties over the years that eventually will be too much for our little house and have to take place at a community hall or one of those vile play centres. Even with a mostly adult guest list for this first birthday we tried to restrain ourselves to family, really close friends and friends who also had kids just so we could ensure that we could fit everyone in. But even with some restraint somehow our guest list topped almost 60. Reasoning that it was a long weekend I suspected lots of people couldn't make it so wasn't worried until everyone bar about 2 people rsvp'd yes, am some asked if they could bring extra kids, step kids, partners etc.
Still I wasn't fazed, while the house is small, the garden is large and would be perfect for all to mingle in with the gentle winter sun warming their faces. It seemed like a good idea, specially as our mate Megan who is a celebrant was going to perform a baby naming for Ivy as well on the big day. It would be fine I told myself - and then I read the weather report. RAIN - every day for the next three weeks.
On the big day we steeled ourselves, emptied most of the loungeroom of furniture and threw open the doors. What could have been a recipe for disaster turned out to be a recipe for magic. You see if the sun had been shining I've no doubt that everyone would have arranged themselves in polite groups of people they already knew and nibbled on food, sipped on some wine and slinked off home at 5. Instead everyone was packed into the house cheek by jowl and the opposite happened, suddenly this do felt like a real party. With the guests ranging from 11 weeks old to 86 years it was quite a scene. Forced into such a small space and plied with alcohol our disparate guests had no choice BUT to socialise. I was treated to the sight of my 86 year old uncle knocking back the wines with Eds tv friends. My mum cooing over my work friends babies, my dad holding court in the kitchen with my old flatmates and my 15 year old nephew plying my friend (and mother of two) with alcohol while she swayed on a stool in the kitchen.
The naming was hilarious, and rather than fake proclamations to God or naff poems about angels, Ivy was read the sensible and fun words of Dr Seuss, presented with my old toys and Ed's toy soldier excavated from his Aunties garden after 25 years only recently. The weather held out long enough for the ceremony before the rain chased us back inside to drink some more. As the hours passed some people headed for home but plenty stayed. Those with kids threw them into our bathtub, fed them bananas from our fruit bowl and we all settled back to watch the kids running about the house in the nuddy while we all continued drinking. Somehow Ivy got fed and bathed too before being flung into her cot (thanks Ed) while I'd had so many wines I decided it was time to spark up the first cigarette I've smoked for years before slipping and falling down the stairs. By 11pm (the party started at 2) four of us were left drunkenly gossiping, smoking and setting off sparklers before finally Emma and Erin headed off into the night and Ed and I crashed.
The next morning all three of us were knackered. Ed and I from drinking too much and Ivy probably from sensory overload and we all went back to bed.
When I told my Mum later that day of how the party went off the rails rather than being the polite, tea drinking, look at the baby kind of affairs I was used to she simply remarked. "Oh it's just like the parties we had in the 70's. You know where parents drank and smoked and the kids looked after themselves."
As for Ivy? I'm not sure if she enjoyed the day as much as her parents but she certainly looked suprised by it all. Lucky that Ed had bought her a little car to ride on for the day, which after all that wrapping paper, was the biggest hit ever.