I had very hectic few days and only now I have managed to sit down and update the blog. Last weekend was my daughter’s seventh birthday and I had a little party to organize and many kids to entertain.
In England birthday party for kids is simpler than the lavish and expensive parties that the American people invented and that us Brazilians are used to. We hardly hear about parents worrying about hiring a buffet for 50 people or more for example. Here the number of people invited is based on the number of kids invited, the party is supposed to be for the kids, full stop. That means that if you are inviting 10 children, you are expected to provide food and entertainment for only 10 children. Parents usually drop the kids at the local of the party and usually come back two or three hours later to pick up the children. If by any chance a parent decides to stay in the party (because the child could cry or just curiosity to see what the kids are going to be doing), don’t expect to be catered for. My daughter was born in England, she is now 7 and I have been to numerous parties for kids here. I remembered my surprise in the first ones, where the party was for example at lunch time on a Sunday, I stayed there with my child for a couple of hours and I was never offered even a cup of tea or biscuit. What it might seems rude for our culture is very common and acceptable here.
These are common things severd here but not my choice this time.
So, what type of parties do they have here for kids? The same parties we have in Brazil, but in a much smaller scale and with a different menu of course. Depending on the age group kids start opting for more adventurous things to do during their birthdays. Many gyms and clubs offer swimming parties, kids swim and play in the pool for an hour and after they are showered and dressed the food is served. There is also the option of hiring a space that offers kids play area with bouncy castle, soft toys, etc. If it is a girl’s party there are options like making jewellery, painting a pot, make up, princess dressing up, etc. All following the same premise, an hour or two of playing and an hour to eat and sing happy birthday.
Well, it is also important to say that usually the food is served at the table to all the kids at the same time and they are expected to sit down and eat together, which they happily oblige. The menu usually consists of hot dogs, chicken nuggets, veggie burger (for the vegetarian kids), chips (French fries) if the parents have opted for a hot menu. If they chose a cold menu it is very likely that will be served egg sandwich (boiled egg with mayonnaise), cheese sandwich (grated cheddar cheese inside the bread), cucumber sandwich, jam sandwich (just bread with butter and strawberry jam), cold chicken (yes you read right, pieces of cold roast chicken), sausage roll (um folhado de salsicha) and some choices of crisps. If you have a hot menu, usually is served ice-cream later as a dessert, if it is a cold menu usually they have lots of sweets, candies, jellies, etc (none of them homemade).
Last year she celebrated her birthday in one of those kids play area, but this year I wanted to do a party at home and invite some adults as well. As I am Brazilian I am usually compelled to do loads of Brazilian dishes but I am aware that if I invite kids that never had Brazilian food before they would probably refuse a “cajuzinho” as it might look like an alien to them. Tee hee! So, last Saturday I had 7 girls in my house from 12:00 to 2:00 and I served to them pizza, hot dog, chicken nuggets and chips. I made a chocolate cake for my daughter and some “brigadeiro” and they also had ice-cream. The rest of the day I had an open-house party, when people can drop in anytime they like, I have many English and European friends and they all want to come and say hello. For them, I served our good Brazilian coffee with our “pao de queijo”, they all love it and of course they could still have cake, pizza, etc, etc. It was a successful party, my daughter was delighted with so many friends about, presents and cards. Yes, I was almost forgetting to say that it is very rude to go to a party here and don’t bring a card. What do you think of the English birthday parties?