Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Easter Party

I always say Facebook is the new Google. Well, almost. And when I first landed in Beirut, I immediately started to look for some kids friendly locations and activities near us (not a big fan of long car trips with the kids, especially in Lebanon). So when I found BusyBox, I was ecstatic! It was a few blocks away from home, on foot! And there was an Easter Party in the making, so how perfect was that?

We headed there on Monday for the first time and it was lovely.

Photo by R. Abouzeid

BusyBox is located at the heart of Hamra in the Crowne Plaza center which is one of the easiest locations to visit thanks to its underground parking which is a life saver on such a crowded street, so if you are coming by car, you will always find a place to park.

The Easter Party started at 4pm and the place was already packed when we got there. A sight that would frighten any mother of two who knows what double-trouble means and really does not want to be in the middle of a 30-trouble ever! But we were pleasantly surprised. There was enough staff to take care of everyone and give attention to every child. They were walking around the tables and giving a hand to anyone asking for assistance (or not).

Photo by R. Abouzeid

Every once in a while, the lovely manager, Dani would give directions on a microphone and inform everyone of what to do or what was coming next.

We started by choosing a table and a wooden piece to paint. Mia got her Mickey Mouse and we sat down at one of the smaller size table (age appropriate tables were set everywhere, allowing younger and older children to all be seated comfortably). Then a nice lady gave Mia an apron and helped put it on and placed paint, brushes and cups of water on our table. It was time to get messy!

Photo by R. Abouzeid

After a while, we were advised to hand in our wooden pieces so they could dry them for us before we were given embellishments to glue on our chef-d'oeuvre. This is when it started to get a little stressful for us. Mia wanted to glue at will (which meant emptying the tube on one spot) and she did not appreciate me (or anyone else) telling her otherwise. Also, she probably started to get hungrier as she had not snacked after lunch. And so there it was: Hormonal calamity fell upon us. What is also known as your common toddler tantrum.

In was warned the Terrible Twos were, well, terrible. But I never thought it would be that humiliating! Only a few months ago, parents would envy us as we could take Mia anywhere and she would be so easy-going and obedient. Not that she would not try crazy things sometimes but at least she could be controlled.

But since she turned two (how on earth do children know it is time?) it is an entirely different story! While I can still take her to the supermarket and she will not throw herself and the floor kicking and screaming for chocolate (am I jinxing myself by typing this?) it has become a challenge to go out in general. Now any "no" is not just a spoken word. It is a screamed insult. Screamed with heart might I add.

Photo by R. Abouzeid

Once she finished embellishing (I am using this word loosely, as photos will show) her Mickey, I took Mia to the bathroom to wash her hands. We found a boy standing by the sink with his nanny and his sister up on a chair, washing her hands. Naturally Mia decided she wanted to climb too. Now, in all objectivity, it took a really long time  for this family to finish and Mia's impatience, heightened by hunger, turned into a loud mess. It is hard enough to teach "sharing", let alone "taking turns" (sigh).

Finally, we got to the chair, the sink and most importantly, the water. To Mia, the goal was not to wash her hands (duh) so when I held them to wash them, she started screaming "wawa wawa" which is baby talk for "I am in pain, this insane person is torturing me, please come help". All the parents around us were staring at me and I swear, it took all the strength I could muster not to actually hurt her and give her reason to scream like that.

We went back to the table and Mia decided that she had had enough and she threw another tantrum there kicking and screaming and shredding into pieces the questionnaires we had been handed. So I took her out for a breath. We sat outside, looking at the street for a good ten minutes and when we were both calm again, I took her back. It was actually good timing because they were distributing snacks and obviously, we all need the yummy distraction.

Photo by R. Abouzeid

Then the real fun started: Game time!

The staff had prepared egg-shaped papers and hidden them everywhere in the room for the most exciting egg hunt I had seen in years! All the children were assigned a specific color on their table (we were yellow) and had to look for the eggs with the letters "E", "A", "S", "T", "E" and "R" to make up the word Easter.

Photo by R. Abouzeid
Photo by R. Abouzeid

We actually were the first to finish and won and huge purple and green elephant which Mia promptly named "Barney". Not the same purple or green or even animal but all the same, Barney was born.

Photo by R. Abouzeid

Then there was a raffle and Mia being the youngest one, got to help super-lovely Dani and pick a name.

Photo by R. Abouzeid

And another young girl also picked... Mia's cousin! So we ended up going home with two gifts!

Photo by R. Abouzeid

Overall, and in spite of Mia's new-found hobby (namely, humiliating-mommy-by-screaming-in-public-like-she-is-killing-me) we had a lovely time (yes, we had some hormoneless moments).

BusyBox is a great location, managed by highly professional owners and staff who are also very kind, patient and friendly. I will definitely be taking Mia again, at a good time for her, like right after lunch so we can grab a bite at Roadster's on our way out just when she starts to get hungry.

I highly recommend taking your children for some fun, artsy, quality time together, not to mention the art pieces you would be taking home are just beautiful. There are so many choices and endless ways to use your imagination while getting messy and not worrying about cleaning up afterwards! ;)

And I promise it does not have to look like Mia's Mickey:

Double-sided wooden (Horror) Mickey Mouse by Mia
Photo by R. Abouzeid

Finally, I would like to take this opportunity to share with you a brilliant initiative open to all:

"Our annual Art Competition for Grades 10, 11 and 12. If you're in Lebanon and interested let us know! Our focus this year is to highlight the importance of charity among our children so all the participants' hard work this year will translate into a funding system for an NGO of their choice ... Stay Tuned to know more information about the selected NGOs and their domain of work and many more"

Two of our favorite NGO's are part of this beautiful project: SANAD and The Nawaya Network

Get your children involved! ;)

Bookmarks and useful info:

Mamma Mia

Find this blog on Facebook

No comments:

Post a Comment