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Great weekend! And learned a new trick...

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Great weekend! And learned a new trick...

Post by Sunrise on Mon Dec 12, 2011 11:05 am

Just had my biggest gig ever last Saturday - a big neighborhood Christmas party where after the two hours I was booked for were up, I wound up staying on another hour and a half - the kids were done, but the adults were all half-smashed by then and they wanted to be painted too! WOW it was fun. Now I know why everyone likes painting in clubs and stuff where the patrons have had their inhibitions...ah...smoothed over.

I am still figuring out this whole line management thing - it's just ME at gigs; I don't have a line manager - my kids aren't old enough to help yet and I don't want to pay somebody else. There were probably 50 kids at this party and for a while there was the usual crunch, where parents were coming up and just sticking their kids in anywhere (is it unreasonable to expect people to at least NOTICE that there are already 12 kids around a table and which end of the group I am taking the next kid from?). I heard a few moms start grumbling about their child waiting so long or having other kids stepping in front of them, etc, and I could feel some of it directed toward me. One of them said something about having to be a "mean mom" and a light bulb went on in my head.

I turned to the two or three who were standing there and said, with a smile, "That's an awesome idea, actually. If I could get a couple of you to be 'mama bears' for a minute and keep these kids in line, that will make this whole thing run smoothly. I can't keep track of where they are while I'm painting, and if they wander off or get out of line I have no way of knowing who comes next."

It worked like magic. Suddenly instead of adversaries they were allies. Every time somebody new came up they would point out which way the line was running and where the new child should stand, and when a kid tried to crowd to the front or leave the line they got put right back in place. It was win-win because there was nothing else for the parents to do - they would have just been standing around talking anyway and they might as well do it there beside their child instead of twenty feet away while their kids push my table around, fight over my photo book and argue over who was next.

It wouldn't work everywhere but for that particular venue it was a great solution. Interesting - it's all in how you approach them. I'm sure this is nothing new to you old-timers but for me - I have a tendency to get defensive, which would not have been helpful in this situation - getting the snippy moms on my side was a huge breakthrough.
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Re: Great weekend! And learned a new trick...

Post by Psalmbook on Mon Dec 12, 2011 11:13 am

Great save! I'll often explain that while I'm face painting, the most important person in the world is the one in the chair in front of me. My job is to make them feel special & I'm great at that. But, I can't see behind me(I know I have 5 kids & I still haven't grown eyes on the back of my head). This means I don't know who's next in line. If someone could just keep them in line & make sure no one's skipped it would make things run much more smoothly. It works like a charm!
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Re: Great weekend! And learned a new trick...

Post by anniel on Mon Dec 12, 2011 11:23 am

Love that idea...had two chairs set up for the "next in line" kids last night, had line control, and still heard heavy sighs...Totally wanted to remind the mom that face painting was not obligatory. (Seriously, where was she when the event started on time, and I had no line?) Should've put her to work for me...

Get this: she was the one who had the 13 year old cousin stand in line, and then shoved her 3 little kids in front of him AFTER he was in my chair, demanding he let them go first. I was floored, and as I turned to regain composure...I realized from the looks of everyone else (family company Christmas party) that this was a standard MO. Kept my mouth shut, did fast & furious on her kids, a detailed Chewy on the 13 year old & walked away last night with a 33% tip...
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Re: Great weekend! And learned a new trick...

Post by Sunrise on Mon Dec 12, 2011 11:44 am

I like that wording, psalmbook. I should print a sign so I don't have to keep repeating it!

Sometimes at parties I feel like the parents think I am there to babysit. This particular event it was obvious it was a party for EVERYONE, not just the kids - but still, just because the party is for you, too, doesn't mean you get to let your kid run wild and not pay any attention to what they are doing.

What makes me laugh are the ones who try to discourage their kids from doing it at all. "Oh, look, honey, look how long the line is. You'll have to wait behind ALL THESE KIDS." and then when their kid is finally in the chair the mom is exclaiming about how she can't believe they waited so long. Lady, if the kids want it bad enough, they wait - it's YOU who don't want to stand here for ten minutes keeping their hands out of my glitter!

The wait wasn't that bad, anyway. I got through 50 kids in two hours. Still working on technique but I got the speed down! Laughing
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Re: Great weekend! And learned a new trick...

Post by HillbillyDiva1 on Mon Dec 12, 2011 12:01 pm

Great speed, I did somewhere between 35 or 40 kids yesterday at Santa Train with my Daughter and another painter just as busy. Lost count on the reindeer I painted. In 3 and a half hours.
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Re: Great weekend! And learned a new trick...

Post by MeeMee on Mon Dec 12, 2011 4:32 pm

Awesome! Lots of times at parties there is always a older girl who wants to hang around asking questions and basically distracting me. Next time I'm going to try putting them to work organizing the little ones. Too simple to not have thought of it, before. Dah! Thanks for sharing.
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Re: Great weekend! And learned a new trick...

Post by Fun2Play on Mon Dec 12, 2011 6:17 pm

When the situation calls for it, I put a number on the inside wrist of each child/person who wishes to be painted. Sometimes I double up but it's no big deal if I do. I tell everyone that it saves them from having to wait in line so they can go do other things. So far it has worked very well for me. It will probably only work for contract events, not PPF... but I've been told by so many people it's a really great idea. Of course I didn't come up with it myself... it's just another lovely gem I have picked up on this forum Smile
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Re: Great weekend! And learned a new trick...

Post by maggie on Mon Dec 12, 2011 7:15 pm

Hahaha that is a neat idea! I have moms stand next to me and write names of the kids on the list, they have offered themselves to do that.

LOL MeeMee, don't you love them lol And what is this for? and what are you doing next?, and what color is that? and why are you using a sponge?...lets put them in charge of the line Smile
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Re: Great weekend! And learned a new trick...

Post by Kat's FacesForFun on Mon Dec 12, 2011 7:55 pm

LOVE IT!! Thank you for the tip!
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Re: Great weekend! And learned a new trick...

Post by jolenebox on Mon Dec 12, 2011 8:18 pm

What a great idea! I had a birthday party of about 20 kids. Their mothers stayed in the kitchen and the kiddos crowded around the table and if I was bumped in the butt once I was bumped a dozen times!!!! I usually let the kids draw numbers for a spot and that just made it worse I think. I am working on # 4 and # 12 ask for the 15th time if its her turn yet!!!!!!
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Re: Great weekend! And learned a new trick...

Post by maggie on Mon Dec 12, 2011 8:21 pm

Hahaha Jolene. Hmmm There's got to be a way to come up with some kind of self stick pager that buzzes when is their turn.
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Re: Great weekend! And learned a new trick...

Post by Sunrise on Tue Dec 13, 2011 12:44 am

I like the numbering them idea, but it wouldn't have worked for this party. It was too loud and they were running around everywhere. Last thing I'm going to do is make the kid standing in front of me wait even longer so I can track down some other kid from heaven-knows-what corner of the house/yard.

jolene, lol! I don't mind getting bumped in the butt as much; I can't STAND when they lean all over my table. Even adults do it. I wind up with water sloshed everywhere every time somebody shifts their weight.
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Re: Great weekend! And learned a new trick...

Post by a face painting mom on Tue Dec 13, 2011 10:02 am

Oh I am with you Sunrise! I hate it when they bump my table or lean on it! It is not meant to hold up a person, it is meant to hold my things! They even lean on my fat max...I have and a kid try to sit on it!
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Re: Great weekend! And learned a new trick...

Post by CottonKandyClown on Tue Dec 13, 2011 10:24 am

This is one of my pet peeves! The parents complaining! Ugg!The kids could careless if they are standing there for an hour! They just want their little faces painted Smile I'll have to remember this one this weekend!

Sometimes, I'll suggest each child to remember a number and that goes pretty smooth as long as the parent of the tiny kids remember their numbers Wink Although, some party parents don't care and don't take my suggestion! Ugg!

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Re: Great weekend! And learned a new trick...

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