Friday, 1 April 2011
We have just returned from our first experience of a Peruvian children's party, and it was a lot of fun! We had been told that Peruvians know how to throw a party and this was certainly the case. The invite said that the party started at 5, but Neil thought that it was good to get there a bit late, so arrived at 5.15pm. I turned up at 6.30pm, by which time the birthday girl had been there 15 minutes and our children were on a wonderful sugar high, after being given lots and lots of treats by the hosts.
There was a clown, who was very good, and we also got the chance to observe Daniel in an environment where the only spoken language was SPanish. I thought at one point that he was upset, but realised that he was just concentrating really hard. There was lots of music, games, dancing and magic, although I wasn't so sure of the wisdom of the magic trick involving fire, or the game making 4-year-olds cuddle up for a slow dance.
The party also made me realise that there may be some truth to the stereotype of the Bristish reservedness. It was so refreshing to see all of the parents joining in all of the silliness, without any embarassment, and without the aid of alcohol!
Finally, after lots of fun and lots of sweeties, jelly and biscuits, it was time for the cake. It seems that at first at birthdays, we sing Happy Birthday in English, followed by a much livelier version in Spanish. The birthday girl then followed tradition and put her face in the cake, followed by the rest of her family! The party drew to close with the traditional pinata, and this time Sophia didn't cry, although she is still not convinced. When the pinata splits open, there is a mad scrum for sweeties and toys.
This was all really good fun, but by now it was getting very late. Lots of children go to bed very late here, 9 or 10 pm, maybe later, and my Spanish teacher thought I was very strange the other day when I explained that Daniel and Sophia are in bed by 7pm. So, during the party we faced a dilemma of whether to stay longer, or take the kids to their much needed bed. We stayed, and were getting ready to leave after the pinata, when we were asked to stay. At this point, all of the adults were served a huge plate of lasagne and the children had cake.
We finally left at 9 with 2 tired but very happy children. It was great fun, but also exhausting as we don't always know what to expect in social situations and we have to try very hard to understand the language, while simultaneously trying to ensure that we are not offending people! So, for example, the children had loads more sweets that they would normally have, as we kept being offered it! But it was great - and the kids loved it (who could have guessed?). We gave their teeth a good brush and emphasised that this was very much a one off, before we tucked them into bed with promises that they could play with their party bags in the morning.
(PS Sorry for the lack of photos - we forgot the camera!)