Sorry, no pictures for this post, because I was too busy doing. Today was Walter's birthday party. We had six guests: three Danish, three immigrants. Three boys, three girls. All of them the people who Walter plays the most with. Well, mainly, one of his Danish friend's parents said he was too new to børnehave and not in a position to socialize yet and I admit I invited one kid because I really like his mom, so they're friends, but not best buddies. Anyway, I staggered the time that the kids came so that they could get used to each other. First was Wally's friend L (I'm not putting full names, because some of what I have to say isn't flattering). We picked her up at her house, because her mom had the late shift at the hospital and I wanted one of Wally's best buds to be able to come. She'd been over before and we'd been over to her place before. Then Walt's buddy from the countryside G came with his parents and little brother. The kids played pretty well together and G's parents could act as interpreter for things I didn't understand that L asked me. When Walt's closest friend A appeared, I realized I had signed up for more than I realized. There was a lot of hitting and pushing that day, pretty much all of it instigated by either A or L, though Walter, who understandably isn't good at modifying his behavior on a per kid basis, would then start pushing, because he was being pushed or sometimes it'd be a case of hitting back. So we had a lot of moments of crying child and making the other one apologize and understand that s/he had done wrong.
L kept wanting to eat the cakes and wasn't interested in the pasta lunch, though she did demolish the stale pretzel sticks with A on the couch. We made sure we had a parent in whatever space the kids were in. AH and her dad appeared at noon and we had pasta with chicken in a wine sauce that I whipped up. It was interesting, because G's parents don't always have the most positive view of immigrants, but in this case the refugees acquitted themselves quite well, while the parents of the other indigenous Dane (A is a dual heritage kid) practically dropped her daughter in the vestibule and took off. Luckily E was very easy going. I'm not sure why that family had so little interest in coming. When I initially invited E, I got a maybe, when I ran into them again, the mother asked her daughter if she wanted to go and she said yes. At the time I thought it was sweet that she was respecting her four year old daughter so much, but in retrospect I wonder if this is more a testament to how much she didn't want to go herself.
Anyway, by 1 pm we had all six guests presents. It turned out that the two Kurdish families knew each other. In the US it feels like the height of bigotry to assume people know each other because they're from the same ethnic group, whereas here, it so far seems to be true. We sang the American Happy Birthday song, because the Danish one is long and I haven't had a chance to memorize it. Everyone devoured the chocolate cake and mainly seemed intimidated by the coconut. The chocolate was a sour cream fudge cake with sweet almond frosting that wonderfully contrasted the bite of the chocolate (I'd run short on sugar). However the coconut, with strawberry rhubarb jam in the middle was way better. Yay, leftovers. We then did presents. Every child had tried to present Walter with their gift upon arrival, which I quickly whisked away so we could open them later and also so that Walter didn't have his new presents immediately become common property. Like last year, I'd gotten all the kids real toys at a steep discount and wrapped them. Pretty much everyone was OK with this except L, who interestingly enough hadn't brought a gift for Walter (exhausted busy mom), who kept wanting to open his and turned her nose up at the simple newspaper I'd used to wrap hers. I'd gotten G a Moanna doll, because I ran short on the other kind and he's obsessed with the movie, which he seemed to really like. The two other boys didn't mind at all that I'd gotten them what were technically "girl" toys, because they came with motorcycles and everyone, except L seemed happy with their haul. I could wish for toys with less small parts, but it still beats the mediocrity of grab bags, which usually come out to be more than 3 USD a head, can't be wrapped and end up being less exciting.
Walter received: I carton of fake eggs, kinetic rocks, a Duplo car set and an easy Lego car set, a set of first Danish words board books, a set of tiny car mugs, a Kai the Fire Ninja Ninjago keychain and face paints. So I learned that it's common courtesy in Denmark to give parents a wishlist for the child. I'd gone and photographed a bunch of stuff at the toy store, so only the books, mug and Duplo/Lego stuff were a true surprise, but on the other hand he got things he really loved, though I noticed that much like clothing, no one was willing to truly cross the gender barrier and buy him fairy wings of a Masha dolly. I kind of regret putting the kinetic rocks and face paints on the list, as I now write this covered in glitter and pink hearts and the kinetic rocks do not stick together as well as advertised. Anyway, I put all of Walter's presents in the bedroom. It's about this point that L was starting to really become a bit of a rascal. She used a broom to knock Halloween candy off the counter that I then had to take away from her. She used a chair to get at our new cell sim cards that I had to take away from her. She went into the bedroom and tried to get into Walter's presents...I eventually got out the eggs, since there were 4 of them and she and Walt could play with them together. I also locked the door to the bedroom at this point.
By the time 3 PM rolled around I was tired of holding crying kids and admonishing hitters and glad that the party was winding down. I helped L use the potty again, note to self, when I offer to take someone's kid for the day and I know they are potty trained, ask if they still need assistance using the toilet and wiping their butts...and then walked her home with G's family. I tried using the cargo bike, but L and Walter started squabbling, so ran back to the house for the stroller and let L walk home, like she wanted...well up until she didn't and wanted me to carry me on her back, like G was riding on his Dad's shoulders, which I couldn't do and then it was a very long block of sad crying L. Preschoolers cry at the drop of a hat!
Went to show G the dinosaurs in the mall, since we were right there, had some cocoa, came back, saw them off and spent a lot of time cleaning while Walter reveled in his new toys. In case you're wondering about Beatrix, she happily spent the entire day being passed from one doting adult to another. She also got mat time with G's little brother where they could coo and chew on each other's hands like good little five month olds. Oh, one last note, Walter chose to wear his skeleton pants with a shirt designed to look like a hoody under a T-shirt. He looked like he was in a gang. Sigh. But if I'm going to let him wear the frilly dresses, then I need to let him wear the ugly tough guy clothes as well.