Kids, are they invited?
Just so you know, some people dream of vacations, clothes or even jewelry. I on the other hand dream of dinner parties. I really do. I blame my mother for this. It was her who inspired me without me even knowing. She was amazing at simply hosting dinner parties. I still have no idea how she did it and she would make everything from scratch. Sounds simple but her parties made Martha Stewart's look naive. I do know that I rarely saw kids attend her dinner parties. So, when I dream of dinner parties I usually dream of the Gatsby's, my mothers parties and the reality of my soon to be dinner party.
It's a pretty simple concept right? And it doesn't have to be that difficult. A lot of wine, cheese, music, glassware, china, chargers, centerpiece, tablecloth...and wait a tablecloth? No, wait! I can't use a tablecloth, not with Kids. If I use a tablecloth then it will be ruined or worse it will end up on the floor with hand prints all over it! Wait! What about my walls, rugs, artwork oh and what about my vintage wine glasses? The bowl I found just yesterday at a garage sale? It will all get ruined!
Does this sound familiar......don't panic. We all go through the panic at first.
So, the KIDS, are they invited?
I would love to tell you no but it doesn't work that way. Sorry.
The first question you need to ask yourself is who will you be inviting to your dinner party? Dinner Party is the key word. Before going any further you need to realize how important this part is in the planning process. I remember dinner parties when I was able to hold a real conversation without being interrupted. Or drink a glass of wine without guarding the glass in fear someone or something will knock it over.
Be specific, if you would like kids to attend. Should you decide not to invite kids, be prepared for the parents to not attend, hmm yes I said not attend. So my answer to the question is yes, invite the little people but no need to hold your breath during the party.
The kids are coming.....now what?
It's taken a few years for me to adjust. As early as I can remember I would plop down at my dining room table with coffee and a stack of cook books excited to plan every aspect of the dinner even to the minute. Who has time for this anymore! Instead I plan 'activities' (movies) for the little ones just so we keep them busy or I hire a babysitter. Both are great options. My twins are just 6 now and most of the kids still get overly excited when they come over and play which is okay but for a dinner party I just can't do it. Most importantly we have to make sure the guests have fun and feel comfortable. When kids are running around it's stressful for everyone. So, keep them busy and far away from you with activities or a babysitter.
Here is an example of a schedule:
6:30 Family arrives - Kids play for 15 minutes while we quickly get a drink in the parents hands and the kids don't really have much time to mess anything up yet.
7:oo Invite kids to kitchen to make pizza, cupcakes, ice cream Sunday's or eat mac and cheese. Kids eat fast. Use paper plates so it easily can be thrown away.
7:15 Movie #1 starts
8:45 Movie over and the first set of parents leave
9:00 Movie #2 or invite the older kids to join us for dessert.
So, let's be real for a minute. The party is just long enough to have apps, dinner, great conversation, wine, and dessert. By then I am beat. I usually cook all day, clean run them to swim or tennis, grocery store, pick up a million Lego pieces and hang with kids if I have time. By 10:30pm or 11pm I am ready to crash. So two movies are perfect timing.
The kids as it turns out are usually the star of the party anyway in conversation even if they aren't sitting next to us. I figure inviting the kids is the modern version of my parents dinner parties.
I still dream of hosting Gatsby parties, one day soon but until then kids are invited.