I love to take tea.
God gave me a little girl so we could have tea parties. I am certain of that.
Early in the year, we had our cousins over for a little tea party. The impromptu fun was such a hit, little bit kept asking to have one for her friends at school. So in February we settled on the weekend the boys were going turkey hunting. We decided TWO MONTHS in advance to host the tea party for this weekend. That may have been a little too far in advance since she has talked of nothing but the tea party since then.
Friday night we braved Central Market and cookie pick ups and assorted errands, and then we stayed up setting up the house. Even at 8:30 she refused to go to bed if I was going to do one more thing for the party because she wanted to be a part of everything. She set every place card in a well thought out seat, selected the tea “cups” and tea pot lollipops for each girl, and set their place setting including making the napkin ring fans. We worked to wrap the art table in wrapping paper (this is solid gold friends – tablecloths get pulled with little kids, so cover the table for art projects with wrapping paper; it stays put and adds to your décor).
We got the yummy cupcakes from Central Market and the adorable tea pot and tea cup cookies from Curlicue Bakery. As soon as we woke up Saturday, we went to work on the food – fresh fruit, tiny finger sandwiches in peanut butter, cucumber, and chicken salad, mini quiches and yummy sweets. I did make her take a nap so she’d be rested for the party, but I didn’t count on the fact that she would wake up in a terrible, awful, no good mood and flip out about wardrobe. She lay nearly naked in bed crying for over a half hour before the party because I wouldn’t agree to the only outfit she found acceptable. Luckily, at just after 3 (not even a half hour before the party!) she agreed to a lovely sundress we found tucked in the back of her closet.
The girls came, four year olds from her Pre-K 3 class along with a few sisters, and took over. They played dollies and princesses in her bedroom until it was time for tea, and then they promptly came to the table and acted like little ladies. There’s something about sitting at the big table, with glass plates and cloth napkins, that just has girls sitting straighter and using their best manners. It’s one of my favorite reasons for a tea party. We so often cave to the easy route of paper plates and rushed meals that manners are becoming harder to find. Not to mention, the kids, mine most certainly included, don’t treat things with respect because they’ve been living in a disposable culture. So toys break, pages get ripped from books, and everything can be replaced. But if we teach them that things are precious, that we must take care, and that we must show respect and gratitude for even having lovely things, then maybe they’ll more mindful and careful with those things with which they are entrusted.
I digress. Our little ladies went from the tea party in the dining room to the art table in the kitchenette and made bracelets (teeny tiny beads, bad idea) and teapot fans and teapot picture frames. They closed the party down by listening to classical music and performing a very free form ballet in the play room. The party was a hit and I’ve found an avenue for entertaining until I can host grown ups again! I did learn I should note on the invitation that it’s just a fun party, not a birthday party, because when moms see party invitations they think birthday!
Little bit is already asking for another one (I’ve warned her it will be another year). It also reminded me that we need to use our dining room and nice linens and dishes more often. In fact, on Wednesday, I’ve invited a family friend to join us to discuss manners and how to incorporate it in our daily lives with kids. I hope you’ll come back for her wisdom!