Birthdays. They are now a multi-million pound industry and the peeps at the top have really tapped into the children’s market. Every shop and supermarket has something that could be a party thang and there are companies that produce every kind of tat to do a “theme”. I always remember when I was getting married, people kept asking me what my theme was. The theme is Wedding FFS. What theme could I possibly want? Star Wars, Thomas the tank engine, Knightrider, ruddy Frozen? No, it’s a wedding. The theme is wedding. I was also badgered about a colour scheme. No- I don’t have a colour scheme. One was inflicted upon me but by that point I didn’t give a shit and just wanted to focus on the important bit: getting married. Very similar to a children’s party: it’s a birthday. When I was a nipper my Mum hired the church hall, we had Mr.Rainbow who did a Punch and Judy show that condoned domestic violence, he fashioned a balloon into a phallic looking dog and then a Super Ted cake came out. Party bags were distributed filled with toxic shizzle from China and some furry stickers and at least one child had to be picked up early because they’d chundered in the salmon pink toilets that were colder than the arctic and smelt of Jeys fluid. Job done. That’s what I call a party.
When we started out on the parenting journey we had agreed not to go mental on the party front. Now, I don’t mean the two of us going out until dawn and crashing through the door, throwing our clothes in the hallway having been dropped off in an Uber. I mean children’s birthday parties. The thing is, as my sister once said, “When they’re really little, they won’t remember it anyway.” Exactly. Of course they won’t. However, when our small one turned one we ended up having the whole family over but we had to decamp to a local tearoom as our flat was too small and it ended up being a very formal high tea. She was one. This year was no different. All the grandparents wanted to be involved so I decided to have them to ours. We have a garden now and the temperature was above 16 degrees so we shoved everyone out in the garden. However, I also decided to do a party for her little friends from childcare two days before. I finished work early the day before so embarked on the party shop. I decided to go to Tiger. I started out sorting out gifts for the party bags. Only five of them. Just five I thought. The problem with Tiger is you see that it’s a pound and you grab 5 of them and so it goes on... Oh, there are some cool string lights, they’re only a fiver. Look, ladybird bunting. Great, she loves a ladybird. Ah, ladybird cups. Cute. Behold, ladybird plates. Hold the phone, there’s a packet of puffy sparkly stickers? Shove ‘em in the basket. I get to the till. There’s other shit in there that I can’t even remember picking up as I had been swept along on the Tiger tidal wave. How much…..? 40 cocking quid!!!??? I need a sit down and a flat white forthwith. No time though as I have to do pick up of said nipper. Nipped in to H&M to buy cute sparkly hair clips and a sparkly cardigan. Then hot foot it to the balloon shop for a giant number 2 helium balloon. £10 plus another 2 for the weight. I still had the food shop to do the following morning. Another £30 went piff, poff, poof into the air. That’s it, we can’t eat for the rest of the month. We also bought a cake. It was a bumble bee. The good people of Waitrose had done a mighty fine job on it. I feel no guilt. If I had made it, there would have been crumbs, frosting, burns, blood and tears, Oh, and a bin. Mostly a bin.
So, I start to decorate the table and put everything out. Ladybird bunting- check. Ladybird cups- check. Ladybird plates- check. Red table cloth- check. Red knapkins- check…….SAY WHAT!? I’ve got a sodding theme. And as if by magic, I fell into the party theme sink hole. I had also put everything symmetrically out on the table in a very OCD kinda way. Like 3 under 2 year olds are going to give a shit about a bowl in a fan formation and four balloons balanced “just so”, two either side. I’m going to blame this flaw in my ability for rational thought on the recent bout of sleep deprivation. You could also argue that I am totally under my daughter’s spell and would pretty much do anything for her. I need to go and get a sodding grip. When she’s three, I am going to book a table at a Harvester and she can bring one friend. I am going to insist on John Lewis vouchers and she can watch an episode of Peppa Pig as a treat. Yeah, that’s exactly what’s going to happen. Who am I trying to kid.
The thing is, she was so excited about her little mates coming round that I thought she would burst. They had an amazing time running around the flat and eating cake and trying to throw themselves off the sofa. Both of her amazing childminders were there and then she was surrounded by all of her family two days later. That morning, she brought her party dress into our bedroom and demanded to wear it with her sparkly tights. My husband had also bought her the most beautiful pair of navy party shoes. She loves them. She was running around looking like something out of an Edwardian novel. What can I say, I got myself a party gal. She can already do “Cheers” and say “Pub” so my work here is pretty much done. So, I am going to start saving for birthdays to come. I just have a feeling we’re going to be seriously out of pocket. And she’s getting into Frozen. Heeeeellllpppppp!!!!!!!!