Monday, November 19, 2012

Multilingual Birthday Party

This weekend we celebrated K's fifth birthday with her first party with friends. We have considered it before, but this was the first time we really did it.

We invited three friends from school to come to our house on Saturday afternoon for a couple of hours. I ordered a small cake from a bakery since one of the girls has a gluten-free diet and I don't have the things to bake gluten-free.

Other than eating cake and singing happy birthday the girls just played in K's room the whole time - and all thought it was the best party ever. Take that, big fancy parties. :) We spent about 350 kc (less than $20) on the cake and somewhat less than that on other snacks.

One of the moms left her daughter with us and came back at the end to pick her up, but the other two moms stayed. One stayed because her daughter wouldn't let her leave (she is a little younger than the others and doesn't speak Czech well) and I'm actually friends with the other.

It's a good thing the Slovak was here, too, because the first mom is Hungarian (we invited the little Hungarian girl) and speaks decent English but minimal Czech, and the second mom is Czech and speaks no Hungarian and an unknown amount (but not a lot) of English.

This meant there was a lot of me talking to the Czech mom in Czech while the Slovak talked to the Hungarian mom in Hungarian (he is a man of many talents). Then I would talk to the Hungarian mom for a bit in English or we would all have a simple English conversation. It was a challenge to balance things but I think we managed all right.

I actually originally invited K's Russian friend, who does now speak Czech just like K, but her parents don't speak it as well (they can make themselves understood but with a strong Russian accent and limited vocabulary). She had something already scheduled for that day so couldn't come, but the language situation would have been even more fun if she had.

K made welcome/thank you cards for her guests before the party. She was jittery and excited waiting for the girls to come, and I asked her if her tummy felt funny like there were butterflies flying around inside it. She said, "YES! There are! Real ones!" I told her that people often feel that way when they are excited and nervous about something.

She still managed to be a good hostess, though, despite her nerves. By the time the last guest left, they were having so much fun they kept begging for just five more minutes with the Legos. I asked her later which birthday gift she liked best, and she said they were all great.

The two Czech moms and I agreed (separately) to set up playdates in the near future. I've met one of them in the park and for ice cream and such during the summer but we may meet at one of our apartments over the winter. I haven't met with the other mom outside of school before but she is nice, we often chat at school, and the girls really hit it off recently. She said her daughter would like to invite K over to play one afternoon after school. Not bad for a language that (to my knowledge) doesn't have a word for "playdate". :)

So it seems the day was a success. This next Saturday is K's actual birthday, and we will have company from out of town to help us celebrate again. I'm planning to make a cake and we'll give her the rest of her presents (she got two small ones from us on the day of the party).

Assuming we don't convince her by then to skip her birthday and just stay four for another year. Four has been a good age.

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