Sunday, 14 February 2016

Your Child's Birthday Party in 10 Stages

1) During the preceding week, you will threaten to cancel the party (and, in fact, your child's whole birthday) at least 172 times. The evening before - when a tantrum over not being allowed on the CBeebies app coincides with has-anybody-bought-the-mini-rolls? panic - you'll resort to making fake 'phone calls' to warn the other parents that the party is likely to be cancelled. Cue hysteria.

2) You will make too much food for the crap party buffet. Granted, nobody ever eats the egg sandwiches or the token vegetable sticks but you can't face displaying an entire table of beige carbs. If we're being honest, the kids are only there for the Haribo. The foamy hearts will disappear in seconds. The carrot sticks will not.

3) Parents are never sure if they are allowed to tuck into the crap buffet, so deem it safest to hover with uncertainty near the sausage rolls. [There is self-preservation logic to this - the first child's party I ever went to I missed the briefing for rookie parents about it being the kids' food and piled a plate up for myself alongside one for my toddler. It wasn't until I was three bites into a cheese straw that I realised none of the other parents were eating...Oh. The. Shame.] The trick is to overfill your child's plate by 50% and then legitimately 'save wasting it.'

4) You'll unnecessarily worry whether said parents are having a good time. Has anybody offered them a cup of tea? Does she know anyone here? Why isn't the bloody Disney CD working? [The reality is that no adult is expecting to have a riot - it's Sunday morning in a church hall supervising bouncy castle play and making small talk with a friend-of-a-friend's-friend, not bloody Glastonbury].

5) Kids in superhero costumes and princess dresses will overheat and become red-faced and sweaty (but no they wouldn't like to take any layers off). Instead, they will down a plastic beaker of squash as if they have spent a fortnight in the desert, before wiping sweat from their brows and charging back towards the inflatables.

6) "Happy Birthday" will start feebly at least twice before somebody has the gusto to sing it like they mean it. Colin the Caterpillar will make a guest appearance at this stage.

7) At some point during the celebrations (or shortly after) the Birthday Boy or Girl will have a meltdown over something ridiculous (somebody stole their yellow balloon and although there are four more yellow balloons they need that exact yellow balloon back or they will go batshit crazy). People will nod in agreement that they are 'just over excited.' You will then need to read out the riot act about 'not showing off.'

8) Cards and presents will get separated and you will end up back at home opening presents  from anonymous benefactors. Having started off with the intention of writing 'Thank You' cards, you will soon realise you don't know which present you are thanking them for and end up sending a generic thanks via WhatsApp instead.

9) The Haribo sugar-high (which I recently read is mythical but I'm standing by or my entire childhood - based on the legend of the Blue Smartie - is a lie) will crash before teatime. The witching hour with zombified staring and/or whingeing children will prove painful.

10) Finally, you will eat leftover cocktail sausages and mini scotch eggs for tea and find yourself grinning at the happiness of your now-four-year-old who has gone to bed with Ninja Turtles stickers stuck to his pyjamas. [We're living stage 10 right now, Happy Birthday Henry Bear].



21 comments:

  1. Ha! We lived through all this last week. I was also fool enough to make the birthday cake, despite seeing that other parents had shop-bought.I suspect I was judged on both artistic merit (failing) and trying too hard.
    Oh, and there was the 11:45pm tantrum the night before his birthday because it wasn't quite his birthday yet and it was too long to wait til 6am to open presents. We had to open one and then read the books to him until he finally fell asleep at 1:30. He then woke us up at 5:30 for the rest of his presents.
    Thank you for the knowledge that or not just us.

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  2. All true! We had nearly all 10 steps last Saturday for our little man's 4th Birthday! Step 1 was repeated pretty much every hour for a week and Step 8...well that had me reaching for the wine!

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  3. this was us last weekend, but I spent far too many hours trying to create a healthy looking party food table. I had strawberries (halved of course to avoid a choking danger), carrots, cucumbers and even olives! Fucking olives! We'd been to so many sugar free and healthy parties I was felling the pressure. However, I made the cake and covered it with shop bought green fondant icing... I fear this superceded any of my efforts to create a 'healthy' feast as having only eaten one slice our child's poo was green for 3 days! I have spent the past week dodging parents and looking at the floor when dropping our son off at nursery! Green poo gate is upon me. Next year we're going beige, beige is definitely the way forward!

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  4. After reading this I'm tempted on springing my four year olds birthday on him on the day. Hopefully with absolutely no build up, we will skip step 1. Costco do the most fabulous cakes so after shelling out a meager £12.99 on that badboy I'll be a little less stressed over the hoard I've somehow invited into my own home. Wish me luck for the 28th!

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  5. Happy birthday Henry spiderman bear!!!!!

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  6. Aww I call my eldest Henry bear too!! 💙
    Every word is true😂

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  7. Ruth would have perfectly behaved children, who were grateful for their beetroot cake with maca sprinkles. There would be no presents as they would adopt an albino turtle instead. Ruth organised a juicing party for her child's 3rd birthday and all their friends would come.

    Ruth's children would be in bed by 7pm so she could crochet until her 9pm bedtime.

    Yeah, Ruth's children wouldn't eat the fucking birthday cake (that had taken hours because she'd seen a rainbow cake on bloody Pinterest that would be a cute surprise) for breakfast on the morning of their birthday causing their mother to screech into Tesco and buy an emergency tray bake.

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  8. I chuckled as I read this - very familiar. Then, when they start school there is a new minefield - not knowing whether parents will stay with the kids at the party or just "dump and run". The parents of the badly-behaved kids (the ones who kick Mr Marvel in the shins and pop the other kids balloons) are ALWAYS the ones who dump and run. Then there is always the "needy" kid, usually a girl who just wont join in the frickin games but latches onto you as the adult in charge, demanding attention for a hurt knee (that you can't see a scratch on) or endless drinks of water, completely sucking up your attention as you try to run pass the parcel at the same time...http://www.mummyofinvention.com/2011/06/party-tips-for-five-year-olds.html

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  9. Yip really looking forward to Sunday the 13th March for my boys 4th birthday party! Overheating superheroes, inflatable action and all boys = meltdown!!! I'll be ready for them (Erm well I'll try)

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  10. I well remember the year we finally admitted defeat and took them all to McDonald's. They ate everything and behaved reasonably well. I wrote a cheque and walked away. As we got to the door my best mate said 'turn round' so I did and smiled at the troup of teenagers with black sacks and buckets of soapy water, clearing up after 10 seven year olds. Bliss, all I had done was make party bags and buy a cake

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  11. Happy birthday, Henry. Hope you had a good one and that your mum didn't read you the riot act *too* many times. Or that she had wine readily at hand. Or both.

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  12. Oh my gosh this is soooo true!
    We had a huge party for my son last year. I did fruit cocktail sticks (like one of those eighties hedgehogs) and it was the parents stood eating them at the end while the kids bounced away living on a sugar high.

    We lived on beige food for at least two days following and this year I swear we are having no party. Instead, I have offered him a day out at Angry Bird Land AKA Light Water Valley.
    Thinking about it logically I am now in the mind set that a party may be easier as it would avoid the travel sick which will happen and the whinging about all the merchandise he will no doubt want on top of the birthday gifts.

    When I was a kid it was a plain sponge cake with a candle and a tatty foil wrapper pinned around it , maybe a day out to Blackpool with a friend is I was lucky ...
    Now it's 35 kids and endless entertainment, shit it's like organising a wedding, actually that was probably easier!

    Loving your blog, just got back into the whole blogging thing myself and am now awaiting amazons delivery of your rather girly looking book. Rach x

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  13. Excellent & completely honest post - that takes bravery. I have Four young children & love them to bits. However, at times, I think I'm a bad mummy & doing everything wrong. When out in public, I worry that people are negatively judging my parenting & think I am a bad mum. It drives me mad at times. I suffered from post natal depression after my first & received quite a lot of criticism, so I think that this has affected my confidence. Thank you for posting this :).

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  14. Agh step one! The amount of fake phone calls I've made, and my eldest at nearly 7, is just starting to cotton on..... Any advise what I can use as threat with no intention of carrying out but seems convincing!?!

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  15. I have all this to come my daughter will be 8 in 3 weeks and I have left it until the last minute to organise so the Hollywood pamper party she wanted is fully booked so I either have to brave 10 little girls doing makeup and nails in my dining room �� Or bribe her with McDonald's and her friend to stay over

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  16. Ah, memories of my own birthday parties way back in the dim and distant 1960s. We lived on a farm and all my mother did was chuck all the kids outdoors to play on the (in retrospect, lethal) farm machinery! She did make an exceedingly good birthday tea, though.

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  17. This is entirely unrelated (to hell with blog etiquette) but today I unexpectantly had the afternoon off work. I dressed in my work gear, dropped my 15 month old cherub at the mother in law's as usual, came back home, got into my pyjamas and read your book from cover to cover whilst drinking a Riberetto (Ribena and Amaretto duh). It was FUCKING AMAZING and I only felt a very very small ounce of guilt, which was instantly overcome by steaming the floors. High bloody five. Thanks for a great afternoon!

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  18. After years of organising painstakingly pinterest worthy parties, this year for my 2nd daughter's 4th birthday I bought a helium cannister, blew up 100 balloons and left them to it. Made tea for the parents. Ham sandwiches, cheese sandwiches, fruit on skewers- (somehow more appetising than than unskewered fruit) and a cake.

    Most successful party ever.

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  19. After reading this I'm tempted on springing my four year olds birthday on him on the day. Hopefully with absolutely no build up, we will skip step 1. Costco do the most fabulous cakes so after shelling out a meager £12.99 on that badboy I'll be a little less stressed over the hoard I've somehow invited into my own home. Wish me luck for the 28th!
    Happy Birthday Messages

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  20. I have a massive burn on my wrist from the oven while making the last three layers of a six layer rainbow cake (trying way too hard) and I had no time in the four hour pre party panic to put anything cold on it at all. As usual though I took on way too much and the first people to arrive had to help us set up. Panic panic panic!

    I tend to avoid the tired from sugar tantrums by being in the same state myself and putting us all in front of the TV.

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  21. Wishing you all the best that life has to offer party on your birthday. May you always stay happy and blessed!

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