19 Sep Safari Birthday Party
4 years old. Crazy. It’s happened so fast… They don’t purr anymore. They roar! – It’s the ciiiiiiiiiiiircle of liiiiiiiife! – I keep hallucinating that my facial features are looking sunken and exhausted…, that I have started to ressemble a cat… It’s their first party and that means its also my first party! I have tons of ideas. Perhaps too many. Youth is beautiful, emotions for the first time, everything. Me, I’m going to adopt the Hakuna Matata philosophy!!
T-25 – No doubt at all on the party theme. It will be Safari / wild animals / panther / tiger / lion / elephant… Basically, anything from The Lion King and The Jungle Book. Those who live my life will understand. I feel like I live in a crazy jungle. I’m close to buying a cute pet for my little Mowgli. I can’t decide between a reptile, a fox or a snake. Wouldn’t that be great?
T-25 – STILL – I get my spirit back. Seriously? You can see yourself feeding a field mouse to a snake? You, who’s a vegetarian and values animal protection? We make the guest list. Ok, Jules loves everyone, like his mother, so he wants to invite the whole class, hmm… not like his mother. That goes against the ‘good practice’ of birthday parties. I have a crazy urge to yowl. But I would rather adopt Kaa’s technique. Lie. “28 children, my love, that’s quite a lot, can we maybe make a list of your best friends?” Good luck.
T-22 – I have the list. There are 8. That’s not bad. 4 girls. 4 boys. Not only am I a vegetarian but I campaign for equality. Now for the invitations. I don’t have the time to give orders. I decide to do them myself.
T-20 – I feel like a leopard in the hot sun. But the invitations are done. It goes without saying that Jules, 4 years old I repeat, did not help me a whole lot. Ok, I exaggerate, he stamped the envelopes. Now the first test of giving out the invitations begins. It is during this exercise that I realise my unsociableness. I don’t know any of Jules’ friends’ parents…
Just a repeat of the running order: the party lasts 2h30. Not a minute longer. 4 years old is too young. And on the invitation, don’t forget the name of the birthday boy or girl, the name of the person the invitation is for, your address, telephone number, and the start and finish times of the party !
T-15 – I’ve given everything out. I’m proud of myself. And the mantra of the month is “the bare necessities, forget about your worries and your strife” (in the words of Baloo’s song…)
T-15 – STILL– It is time to make my order. I have quite a clear idea of what I want for b-day decorations. I’ll get straight to the point: candles, confetti, garlands, printed balloons, lanterns and pinatas. Done.
T-12 – I just received my order. It’s almost too easy.
T-10 – For some obscure reason, I dreamt of coming across a panther and a leopard in Italy. I don’t know why. Someone said to me: Versace-Roberto-Cavalli-Bottega-Veneta… all in one word. I queue in line at H&M to buy myself something leopard print. I don’t thank myself for that present. However, I am going to make myself a panther strapless dress like a Jean Paul in ’97. It’ll be the same yet synthetic, I don’t want to find a PETA demonstration in my living room and have head turned in to a hunting trophy. Anyway, if you have a leopard dress, panther boots or tiger tights, those will be fine too.
T-10 – Still – The outfit is too nice. Give yourself a total animal print look without feeling you’ve broken the bank. I profit from remembering my mantra. I am ready to spread out and sleep like a lioness, but my dog might get a little confused.
T-1 – The evening in my kitchen – In a zebra apron, I prepare my chocolate cake mix, the biscuit mix and the mix for the two loaf cakes. I make a stack with my two loaf cakes. I cover it with ganache and on top, I place a wild animal figurine ! It’s done! A little dose of mantra.
T-1– still the evening – now in my living room – I am deep in to my decoration to transform the room in to a jungle! I stick the tropical leaves on the walls (leaves that I bought rather than cut myself to save having blisters on every finger), I inflate my balloons with air as I know only too well that with helium, they must be inflated the day of the party. And I put a mask on each one of the chairs. One animal per child.
9 A.M – I am exhausted. Jules has been roaring for two hours. In fact, two and a half hours but I would prefer not to know. I hear soft music in my head. The atmosphere is humid, perhaps because of the tropical wall vegetation. We make party bags. I sorted the treasures. He couldn’t believe his eyes. He wanted to keep everything himself, but I explained that he couldn’t. Good luck with that… There are sticker tattoos, stamps, mini figurines, erasers…, I made piles (a pile of sweets, a pile of gifts, one of stickers, and one of party bags) and he filled them.
10 AM – I inflate the balloons: the tigers, the leopards and the zebras. I put them at the top of the little man’s table (army of balloon weights and a ball of wool). I set the table after covering it with foliage.
11 AM – Another little hour in the kitchen – I transform my lion paws shortbread biscuits with some almonds ! I make tiger biscuits. I distribute the sweets (spiders, snakes…) Jules is excited! I make a palm tree fruit salad. The years of MasterChef are on replay, they are imprinted on my mind.
1 PM – We eat on a small corner of the table (confinded as it has already been perfectly set out) to taste what has already been prepared…
2.45 PM – I dress Jules up, yet he’s more undressed. Jules is Mowgli. So he’s just wearing a red slip. I haven’t taken him to the hairdressers for ages, so the resemblance is uncanny. It’s per-fect!
2.55 PM – A few sprays of Panther by Cartier. My perfume. I’m ready.
3 PM – Ding dong! Welcome to the jungle! I don’t know who, the children or the parents, are the most surprised. I don’t know whether it’s my big cat outfit, my perfume or my decor but they are astounded. And they haven’t seen anything yet! The parents depart, seeing my tigress look which screams “it’s all good, I don’t need you, I’ll give them back to you alive at 5.30 pm!”.
3.05 PM – I introduce myself. Hello, I am Jules’ mum, I’m not a tigress/teacher, we’re going to play all together and I am the queen of the jungle… Do you know some wild animals? Apart from me, of course! The secret is in your ability to imagine them in your world, which has been chosen by Jules.
3.10 PM – I am going to give you a jungle quiz!
3.15 PM – All these wild animal cries, I want to scream. Is this supposed to be some form of personal development? Ok, I digress.
3.16 PM – Children, I would like you to line up one behind the other, on all fours. You’re doing The Elephant March. It’s perfect, follow me. I will tell you what’s not allowed amongst the ranks!!
3.18 PM – We are in a labyrinth of swinging vines (the hallway). These vines (green tissue paper) are extremely delicate. You must try and get to the other side without breaking them. Regiment, ready? On my command, one after the other! Go!
3.30 PM – Company, march! (I know, I’ve seen The Jungle Book too many times, in case you haven’t noticed). We are now going to have to cross The Crocodile Bridge. If you have a croc pinata that’s great and if you have a “Jungle Animals” soundtrack, that’s even better. The atmosphere will be fantastic!
3.40 PM – We are now going to make a circle and sit down. It’s time for Pass the parcel. The safari playlist is ideal.
3.55 PM – And now let’s see who your favourite characters are. Ideally, print off some pictures of characters like Mowgli, Baloo, Baghera, Simba, Nala or photos of wild animals. There should be one sheet per child. Ask if they need help though, they’re just so young and innocent !
4.10 PM – Children, it is time to form the regiment again. Everyone on all fours and one behind the other. One, two, three four… One , two, three, four !!! On my command, turn towards the tea party !
4.25 PM – It’s now time to go on safari !! Here is a poster to find all the different animals. You must find them all. They are hidden especially for you to find. Each time you find one, you must come back and cross off the animal found. The safari ends when you have found all the animals!
4.40 PM – My favourite songs. Make a circle. And who can sing me their favourite songs? Who knows Baloo’s song? And from The Lion King? I just can’t wait to be Kiiiiing…
4.50 PM – I would like to do a photobooth so you can take away a souvenir from the party. I would like you to pose, one after the other, like statues that look like something in the jungle! They can wear the masks (the ones I hung on the back of their chairs last night), you could paint their faces, or you could dress them up (animal print tunics) !
5.05 PM – Shall we play musical statues ?! Demonstrate some funny monkey choreography for them to copy while they sing “I wanna be like you” !!
5.15 PM – It’s time to measure up the tiger! Pin the tail on the tiger.
5.23 PM – You’ve been very skillful, but do you know how to be agile? It’s The Brazilian Dance. But to make it more jungle relevant, you could cover your broomstick with foliage!
5.28 PM – Ok, it’s time to open Jules’ presents!
5.32 PM – Your parents will arrive any minute, so I’ll leave you with this coloring paper. (I would advise taping it to the floor with masking tape. Children love colouring.)
5.33 PM – The parents are here. Stunned by the peace throughout the jungle. Quick goodbye and hand them their party bag by the door.
5.45 PM – You’ve bossed it, you get to snuggle up in your blanket and say to yourself ‘Hakuna Matata, it means no worries‘!
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