Sunday, January 1, 2012

The Eve

Traditionally, Ken and I spend New Year's Eve with our good friends and their young son, now four years old.  There have been a variable number of other guests at these gatherings, but they've generally been fairly low-key.  This year, however, our friends invited some other families in the street, and as word got out a snowball effect occurred.  When we got there, it looked like at least half the neighbourhood had showed up.  There were kids, parents, and babies all over that house.  I can't tell you how many.  They didn't stop moving long enough for me to count them.  I tell you, it was some party!

Once I got over the culture shock of being surrounded by so many children, aged 8 weeks to 11 years, it was great fun.  I sat on the floor and played with an adorable 16-month-old girl.  She had wisps of dark-gold silky hair floating around her face,  clear blue eyes, and an irresistible little pot belly.  She was mostly interested in digging around in the toy storage bins, pulling out every object she could find and then leaving them on the floor.  When she tired of that, she would toddle over to the snack area and find a gingerbread cookie to suck on until the edges were reduced to mush.  When it was nice and squishy she would then very hospitably offer it to a grown-up.

When I arrived at the party, it was already 2 hours past this toddler's usual bedtime, and she was going strong.  Can you believe that this kid made it all the way to midnight with barely a whimper, a yawn, or an eye-rub?  She was wide awake and making the rounds in her jammies all the way to the final count-down.  A little glassy-eyed, but still.  So impressive!  To put this in context, our friends' son, then aged 3 years, only held out until 11:45 pm last year, before passing out on the floor with his head on his mother's lap.  

Later on in the evening, I had a chat with the oldest kid, an 11-year-old girl.  We ended up sitting next to each other, and she started merrily chatting away.  At one point I looked away from her to catch a mental breath, and thought to myself "Gee, she's very nice, but she sure does talk a lot!"  When I turned back to face her, she looked me straight in the eye and said "I talk a lot."  You know that expresion "it was like she read my mind"?  I have never experienced it quite so literally.  I laughed nervously.  Then I thought to myself "Is she psychic?" and half expected her to answer me "Yes, in fact I'm reading your thoughts right now".  

She didn't.  She did keep chatting until I found a reason to relocate.  As I said, she was very sweet, but there is only so much kid-intensity I can handle, not being used to it.

A highlight of the evening was the Zimtsterne.  "What the hey?" you may ask.  Zimtsterne are traditional Christmas cookies which are naturally gluten-free.  Let me tell you, they are mightily delicious, kind of half-marzipan-half-meringue chewy delights.  My friend, our hostess, made extra ones this year so that I could take a batch home with me.  Isn't that so incredibly thoughtful?  I have finally gotten to the point where I do not actively sulk every time there are wheaty foods I can't participate in, but it was really nice to be able to partake of some Christmas sweets with everyone else.

A good time was had by all.  The evening culminated with all the kiddies except the 11-year-old running around in their incredibly cute pyjamas, blowing noise-makers and cheering in 2012.  Ken and I celebrated having officially survived 2011, something we sincerely thought might not be in the cards.  I have a new calendar up, and it gives me a good feeling every time I see it and am reminded that we have a fresh start.  Happy New Year, everyone!


Warped Mind of Ron said...

Happy New Year to you also... seems a number of us had doubts about seeing 2012 ;-)

DarcKnyt said...

I'm very glad you made it through 2011 too, and 2012 will definitely be better for you. You know, until December 21, when the world will end.

Until then, have a great year, Spark. :)

LL Cool Joe said...

Yeah last year was a tough year for you, so I really hope this year is a much better one for both you and Ken.
I think kids can be extremely perceptive, almost psychic but somehow that lessons as they grow up.

Happy New Year Spark!!! Enjoy your Zimtsterne!

DarcsFalcon said...

I'm so glad you had a good time! 2011 (and 2010) was such a hard year for you, it's nice to see that you were able to put it to bed and welcome 2012 with some happiness and optimism. :)

Yay on the sweets too. :) That was really nice.

Happiness and joy to you in 2012, Spark! *hugs*

Lynn said...

That 11 year old sounds like an old soul and also as if she has gotten that feedback before. :) It was nice of you to take up so much time with her.

It sounds like a lovely party and I'm glad you got some good cookies - I'm intrigued by them. Maybe you could post a recipe sometime?

Jameil said...

Sounds wonderful! I'm easily overwhelmed by kid intensity, too! LOL She's probably used to people looking away and returning with that sentiment. LOLOLOL Hilarious. Also 3 of my niece/nephews are like that- 14, almost 6 and 4. I have to occasionally sequester myself!

Jameil said...

Oh and your friend is so sweet for the cookies!!

Sparkling Red said...

Ron: Thanks! I see you've started 2012 with a new project. I hope that goes well for you.

DarcKnyt: Ya, well, it wouldn't be so bad if we all went kerplooey at the same time. It would save us from having to attend any more funerals.

LL Cool Joe: Thanks. Yes, kids can be frighteningly perceptive. I had forgotten that.

DarcsFalcon: The future's so bright, I've gotta wear shades. ;-)

Lynn: If you click on the word "Zimtsterne" in my post, it'll take you to a recipe. I don't know which recipe my friend used, but this one has all the same ingredients so I think it should be similar.

Jameil: Last time I was hanging around with a bunch of parents they were talking about how, after a long day, they sometimes have the urge to tell their sweet, chatty children to "JUST SHUT UP!" :-) Then of course they get to be sullen teenagers and you can't get a word out of them for love nor money.

Jenski said...

I want to try to make those cookies - they sound great!

Glad you doing so well you could stay up to say buh-bye to 2011. I think your 2012 has to be better!

Tracy Makara said...

Aww the little tot sounds adorable :) The 11 year old...yes she sounds cute too but I am with you on the intensity thing. I'm not used to it either and can only handle so much before I feel the need to escape LOL. Glad you had a fun evening Spark and hope that 2012 will be a much better year for you and your husband. Happy New Year my friend :)

wigsf3 said...

Did you interact with any adults at this party? Or were you using this party as an excuse to get out all of that mothering instinct?

Sparkling Red said...

Jenski: Indeed! I thought staying up until midnight was a no-go for the rest of my life! Look at me now! :-)

Tracy: Thanks! Yup, kiddieland is a fun place to visit. I wouldn't want to live there, but I can see why people are so besotted with their children.

wigsf: I spent at most 20% of my time interacting with the kids, and 80% of the time either participating in adult conversations or simply sitting back and observing the chaos with amusement. (And relief that I would not be the one who would later have to convince the wound-up 5-year-olds to settle down and sleep.)