by CAROLE CHRISTMAN KOCH
My husband and I decided to entertain five children, ranging in ages 6 to 13, New Year’s Eve 1997.
Our creative plans started weeks before New Year’s Eve. We wanted the children to know they could have fun without TV. We decided TV and videos would be off limits. It was exciting planning the games, food and entertainment, which included a birthday bash at midnight. The youngest child was going to have her seventh birthday New Year’s Day.
New Year’s Eve finally arrived. My husband picked up his niece and nephew. I picked up three of my grandchildren. We wanted them here by late afternoon so the parents would have the freedom to do whatever they wished without children.
4 p.m. – Tick Tock
There was a “getting to know you” period, but once the giggles started we knew the task was accomplished.
First we fed the children pizza. No problems with this treat. We gobbled down as much pizza as our tummies would hold, threw away the paper plates in the trash and off we were. Party time!
5 p.m. – Tick Tock
Since I was a church secretary, and the church was next door to our home, what better place to party but in the gym area of the church? What fun! Old sheets served as ghosts while we switched lights on and off. Sheets also served as slides pulling one or two children across the expanse. There were all kinds of ball games with no particular rules. Nothing mattered. We ran, chased the evening away until we were all exhausted enough to return home. My husband and I gave each other “we know how to do it” smiles as we all left for home.
7 p.m. – Tick Tock
The night was indeed young. We relaxed in the living room area with parlor games. We did pantomiming, guessing games, “I see a ghost” and “Simon says,”—games my husband and I recalled playing as children. And then we ran out of games!
8 p.m. – Tick Tock
I whispered the time to my husband, who grimaced, “It’s too early for the birthday party. What shall we do?” Our prayers were answered. The children used their creative skills and invented games, plus the games they played at home or at school.
9 p.m. – Tick Tock
We were all getting hungry. The party treat was to make up your own ice cream concoction of ice cream flavors, cones or dishes, assorted toppings, bananas, cherries, whipped cream and peanuts. What a sight to see! We ate or licked every morsel, even if it landed on the table.
10 p.m. – Tick Tock
Both my husband and I glanced at the clock at the same time, when he announced, “Everyone into the living room. We’re going to have a short meeting and we’ll be right there.” What to do was on the top of our discussion list. We had run out of everything we had planned so carefully. Should we allow the TV or a video they brought along? We relented—one video or a Disney movie. They were all agreeable and excited about the Disney movie.
My husband and I, now exhausted, were in need of a break. We promised a surprise at midnight. As a matter of fact, it was going to be a double celebration—New Year’s Eve and the youngest child’s birthday. After a short respite in the kitchen, we heard someone yell, “The movie is almost over. Is it midnight yet??
11 p.m. – Tick Tock
We both glanced at the clock which was now nearly 11pm. “It will be,” my husband shouted, “once you get here!” With that, he did what any normal parent, grandparent, aunt or uncle would do. He reached up and turned the clock ahead one hour!
12 p.m. – Tick Tock (really 11 p.m.)
We both smiled and called the children, “Hurry. It’s midnight. It’s New Year’s Eve.” I propped a bag on the floor filled with hats, horns and paper throwers. We then marched through out the house with fierce noises. Once the parade was over, we ended the evening with cake and candles and a Happy Birthday to our 7-year-old—no one the wiser about the time.
Tick Tock Tick Tock Tick Tock
CAROLE CHRISTMAN KOCH is a freelance writer from Pennsylvania.