Last Friday we were at a local park with friends, celebrating a kid's birthday party. It was a stellar party - there was cake, cake icing, cheese flavoured yummies, yummy flavoured yummies and, oh yeah, stray kids no one knew shoving all these goodies into their cute, freeloading mouths.
The four year old girl had taken up prime position in front of the half eaten cake for about five minutes before she was noticed.
A lot of whispering behind hands and subtle pointing of fingers occurred before we finally had it sorted she didn't belong to any of us.
"Sweetie," said one of the parents. "Where is your mummy?"
She answered us between mouthfuls of cake. "She's gone."
"Then is there someone here who's looking after you? Someone you know?"
"Yep," she said. She switched her attention to the biscuits.
"Umnn, maybe we better go find them then?"
"No, it's okay," she said, grabbing a handful of Twistees and shoving them all in her mouth at once.
"But this isn't your party," she was reminded.
"That's okay," she said. "I don't mind."
Shortly we worked out how she came to be at our table. Her name, and not a common name by any means, was the same as one of our friends kids, so that when our friend called her daughter over for some cake this girl also answered the call, thinking she was being invited to a tea party.
Several minutes later she was presented, still chewing on cake and lollies, to a woman she pointed to at the far end of the park who was chasing after a couple of kids.
"Lose something?" the woman was asked.
"Ah! Thank you," she said. "Her mother's gone home for a minute. I'm watching over her while she's gone."
Doing a great job too.
And, amusingly, she continued to do a great job for about fifteen minutes, after which the hungry little cherub was back sitting between two of our friends and asking for more cake.
Only this time she brought a friend.
Kids grow up so fast these days. We didn't start gatecrashing parties till we were in our late teens. Next time we have a party for a seven year old we might have to look at hiring security. Or buying a bigger cake.
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