Birthday parties in Mexico are extremely exhausting!
To start the year off, Maiya got invited to a classmate's 3rd birthday party. Birthday parties here are a family event--and it is expected that the whole family attends (not just the child who receives the invitation).
The party invitation said 12:00 pm, and I was so embarrassed to arrive 45 minutes late!
However, when we pulled up to the party we discovered elaborate birthday decor, and a clubhouse full of fancy tables and servers--and no guests.
Wait a second...you are asking, "but weren't you 45 minutes late?"
YES...but we were the first to arrive. We began to creep back towards our car (hoping we hadn't been spotted), and just then a friend of ours arrived--so we entered the party with her.
She explained that if the invitation says 12:00 pm, then they intend that you arrive around 1-3 pm (or later, as we discovered). I asked her how long the party would last, and she said, "Oh, probably not too long...maybe just until 5 or 6?". WHAT?...a 5 hour party?!!!
The 3 year old birthday girl greeted us, as did her well-dressed mother (who was also celebrating her birthday--although no one sang to her or gave her gifts that I know of!). Both of them sported several birthday outfits throughout the day!
There were so many tables set up without guests to fill them, and I worried out loud, "Wow, I hope people show up...it would be embarrassing if they had a bad turnout!" Little did I know that people would be showing up for the next 5 hours...until there were hundreds of people!
So, how do you keep children entertained for such a long period of time?
You hire face painters!
You hire a team of performers to do a Dora & Diego show...
And you have 3 gigantic life-size piñatas for the children to demolish:
You have an adorable child walking around in full pirate costume, saying "Arrrr" at anyone who looks at him...
You hire a crew to set up tents for crafts, games, etc....
You hire a 9 piece mariachi band to play for an hour (estimated to cost about $500)...
And you cater dinner for all of the attendees (we had birria, a Guadalajara specialty dish of lamb with a special sauce...quite good, actually...although I just stick to the sauce and rice!!)
Of course, a party this large means that there are a LOT of gifts. A gift table isn't sufficient for a party this size...you need to build a box and stack all of the presents inside, until it spills over!
The party took place on a beautiful property that had a swimming pool. No, it was not a swimming party...and one of my first thoughts was that if ANY child would fall into the pool, it would be Maiya. She is the most accident-prone child you have ever seen!
So, when the mariachis were playing in full force, the kids escaped the noise with Jared. They were gone quite awhile, and I finally left the crowd to go hunt them down. Walking out of the clubhouse, I discovered Maiya poolside with Jared--soaking wet. It turns out that Maiya chased a balloon into the pool while Jared had his back turned. Another parent saw her fall in, pointed to Jared, and he was close enough to pull her out immediately.
Needless to say, we left immediately, and missed the tamales (so sad!) that were just arriving around 7pm...and the party went on for many more hours!
***Disclaimer: This was not a normal Birthday party. Most Mexican parties do have cake, often a meal, lots of guests, a piñata or two, and a rented jump house to keep the kids entertained. This was an extra-ordinary party, and the most elaborate party our Mexican friends had attended!***
We have been to 2 additional parties since arriving, and each one is fun, but exhausting!