Miss O’s 3rd birthday is fast approaching and she’s desperate for her very own ‘Happy-Birthday-To-You with PRESENTS!!’ (or ‘birthday party’, as it’s known to the rest of us ).
There’s barely enough room to swing a cat in our living room, and in any case I’m reasonably fond of my furniture pre-party-apocalypse, so the time has come to book my very first proper kid’s party!
Here’s what I’ve learnt so far:
1 – Start at least a month earlier than I did, as it turns out that 99% of the suitable venues (you know the kind I mean: wipe-down surfaces, areas for the children to repeatedly run into each other and trip over invisible obstacles, a slight whiff of despair) have already been booked up for the entire month of October by parents far more organised than me!
2 – What’s with the crack-of-dawn party slots at these places? I’m sorry, but I can barely cope with my own child at 9am, I’m certainly not letting her join forces with an entire mob of pint-sized mischief-makers at stupid o’clock in the morning…
3 – Ignore your husband when he suggests inviting ‘some of her friends from nursery’. Firstly, at her age, they’re not ‘friends’ so much as people she happens to be playing next to / rivals in the race to get to the slide first / snot buddies. Secondly, I’ve been warned by many a veteran of the birthday scene that once you jump on board the party train, it’s almost impossible to get off – all the children you invited will each have their own party that you in turn must dutifully attend, leading to an endless cycle of awkward Saturday afternoons sipping warm squash and making small talk with strangers whilst inwardly praying that your rampaging toddler (currently sky-high on life/sugar/the cries of that poor doomed little fecker who just tried to touch her favourite cuddly) doesn’t vomit all over the bouncy castle…
4 – Do not Google ‘children’s party decoration ideas’ unless fully prepared to be bombarded by Instagram-worthy zoo tableaus constructed entirely from balloon animals and ornately hand-embroidered bunting strung together with unicorn hairs (may have slightly exaggerated that last one). WHO HAS THE TIME??!!
5 – Similarly, do not under any circumstances ask your toddler what kind of cake they would like, imagining that this will be limited to ‘chocolate’ or ‘whichever best suits your budget/skills/timescale mummy’ (I can dream can’t I? ). They will almost definitely pick that three-tiered Paw Patrol monstrosity complete with fondant canine heroes and ‘surprise’ sweetie filling they saw on YouTube once. She seems to have mistaken me for Mary Berry, or a gazillionaire. Either way, you’re having a giraffe love!
Whatever happened to the simple pleasures of partying on down with Ronald and those shifty-looking hamburgers on legs in your nearest McDonald’s basement, or lobbing a few sausage rolls in your guests’ general direction and hoping for the best??
It’s fine, I’ve totally got this… (send wine, ASAP).