At the weekend I took Eve to her first Christmas party. I figured she was ready. She is nearly 2, can say the word "snowman" and be understood and generally gets the whole concept of presents and decorations and it being a very special time all about a very important child - her. Gnome bank runs a Christmas party for children of staff each year so I signed her up and managed to even drag along the Boy, not normally known for his fondness of confined spaces with lots of children making noise.
The party was a testimony to Swiss efficiency. We turned up, with our specially labelled stickers allowing us to get past the extra security guards. Oh yes, I work in a place where billions of dollars are traded each day, but we need extra security to deal with a bunch of toddlers.
The "party" was actually a series of orderly queues. First we queued up for registration and a free Gnome bank branded bag. We were ushered to another queue, where we lined up for a gift. Despite registering Eve in the 0-2 category, I asked for one for the 3-5 age group. I was firmly told no, it said 0-2 on Eve's sticker and so a 0-2 present would we get. Then onto another queue for a photo with Father Christmas. Eve was both transfixed and petrified by one of my colleagues in a santa suit. Two clicks and flashes later we were ushered into another room and another queue.
By this point I'd had my fill of queues. I am British, I do queuing as a national pastime, but this was starting to annoy me. Children's Christmas parties are supposed to be chaotic, noisy, messy and fun. This reminded me of the immigration department [feel free to insert your own queuing venue of choice].
So we divided and conquered. I queued for twenty minutes to get a balloon in the shape of a dog. The Boy queued up to get food for a by now ravenous and overwhelmed Eve.
Then we watched a magic show where not only was it obvious how every trick was done, but the Boy gleefully told me at the same time. All the while children, who have by now had a bit too much of standing or sitting quietly, are running riot. Eve gets onto the stage, right in front of the magician, and does a little dance. I think that more of the audience found her entertaining I certainly did so didn't bother to stop her. She was very cute.
Never, ever again.