Elizabeth wasn't sure about what she wanted to do for her friend party this year but when we were kicking around ideas I suggested high tea at the Chateau Laurier and getting all dressed up. So that's what we did. She invited six of her closest friends - five from school (Bianca, Maddie, Olivia, Olive, Samia) plus her friend Ruici. Well, technically I guess Olive has switched schools now? Anyway they all knew each other as they all came to past sleepover parties.
I was amused to hear that most of the girls don't really like dressing up, though they all did so to please Elizabeth, and some of them like makeup and hair, just not fancy dresses.
Elizabeth's friend Ruici came with us to church and then we walked over to the hotel afterwards.
The tea was suitably fancy and I was extremely excited that they were able to accommodate gluten free (originally I figured I'd be stuck watching them eat). The waiter brought out a tea menu and it was hilarious watching the girls try to figure out what kind of tea they wanted. Elizabeth ordered creamy earl grey, but was disappointed by her choice as it was a different kind of earl grey than what we usually get with quite a bitter aftertaste. She tried it with three lumps of sugar and discovered that there IS such a thing as too much sugar. After some whispered consultations I taught her that one is allowed to ask the waiter for things such as a new tea cup. Samia was charmed by this notion, and ended up asking for three or four new napkins. Elizabeth didn't need to ask for new tea because everyone was trading around teapots. I heard that the berry tea was particularly nice.
I was pleased to hear a fair amount of French - possibly because most of them heard me give a big spiel about the importance of taking every opportunity to use it last time we went skiing... No matter the reason, I appreciated their efforts.
I think the girls all felt very grownup despite some pranking that was going on (eg one girl went to the washroom and the others hid her cupcake to see if she'd notice is was missing. She noticed immediately.)
Elizabeth got a special cake at the end with a chocolate happy birthday, a candle (which she clapped out) and flourless chocolate cake covered in gold leaf. The girls were all very impressed by the eating of real gold.
The party was scheduled from 1-3pm but we'd pretty much demolished the tea by 2pm so we moved to the lobby to open presents. Then the last half hour the girls spent playing some kind of pretend game where I mostly tried to make sure they weren't physically taking apart the hotel ("But there is something under this carpet") or getting us kicked out. There might have been some pretending to "spy" on various people and also some of them were pretending to be snobby rich kids that went to a private school? It was a bit weird and totally charming and also hilarious that they were trying to be so grownup while basically playing house in the hotel. The hotel staff were very patient with them.
Overall it was a great outing and I enjoyed it a lot despite a few moments of where did my baby and her friends go? They ARE growing up too fast. We had a lot of fun and Elizabeth is thinking that next year maybe she'd like to have a sleepover at a hotel. We'll see...