It was equal parts chaos and joy, but worth all the mess to hear the house filled with little-kid squeals and giggles (well, except when the squeals turned more scream-ish and there were too many monkeys jumping on the beds). It was a sticky, sugary, dough-y mess, and everyone got their hands dirty. By five-and-under standards, a rockin' good time. Plus of course all my kids' toys are like new to their playmates, and everyone knows, as one mom remarked, that other kids' toys are the best toys.
The house was a something of a mess of course when it was all over, but parents pitched in a bit before leaving, and for once I really didn't mind picking up after everyone -- perhaps because, as a working mom, I don't do this sort of thing every day. Mrs. Don Draper of MAD MEN I am soooo not.