At the beginning of January Lucia turned five, which in my head seems much older than four and a lifetime away from three, she is now actually a proper bona fide walking talking little girl. I admit that it must be a bit crappy to have a birthday so near to Christmas, people trying to amalgamate gifts etc but so far this hasn’t happened to Lu which is good. She was meant to be born on my birthday in April which I was furious about as I’m not good at sharing (might be the whole only child thing) but as things turned out she was a January baby. The other thing that is a little rubbish about winter birthdays is that the weather is always shit and so out doors stuff is never a option but who am I kidding, even if her birthday was in July there is no guarantee of sunshine.
Last year was the first time idid a ‘proper’ party for her. I rented the village hall, made sandwiches and played pass the parcel and all her nursery friends came, I had loads of super kind friends who helped me do it all and a wonderful time was had by all.
This year was a tad different. Let talk about school party politics. Lucias’ Reception class has 60 children in it, they are then split onto four sets of about 15 and each set pairs up with one other, so really she spends most of her school time with 30 kids. We were all given the names of these children at christmas time, I think with the aim of knowing who we needed to write christmas cards to so I had my invite template. I asked Lucia who out of the list she wanted to come and then added a few others that she had left out as they are nice children and she had been invited to their parties. Phew. I also invited some of her friends from nursery who she is still in touch with. I gave the invites to the teacher to put into the bags and then waited for the RSVPs – which never came. Why? So frustrating. By the morning of the party I was expecing anything between six and 30 children based on the number of RSVPs I had received. Friends with older children who’ve ‘been there done that’ assure me that this is totally normal, for me it was totally frustrating. So i erred on the side of caution and catered for 30, in the end i think it was about 12 children but they included Lucia’s most favourite friends so she didn’t notice how few children there were. It was only looking back on the photos that I noticed as most parents stay for coffee and made then hall look fuller than it actually was.
What a potential emotional nightmare? As adults we fret that no one will turn to our parties , imagine how a five year old would feel if no one showed up?
So to cut a long story short it all worked out fine in the end. My super friend S, who is also a chef, bought and made all the party food and drove it over and set it up, she also made the requested unicorn cake. R, my other super friend, came early and helped set up the tables and C & D, Lu’s god parents helped decorate. I put the older children to good use and had them blow up the 40 balloons – twith the aid of a hand pump – I’m not Cruella de Vil you know.
I also found this amazing company online called Boxed up Party, you choose from a number of themes on offer, rainbow unicorn was perfect for me, and then choose how many children and they send you a box containing all that is needed, cups, napkins, table clothes, plates etc, I also ordered the ready made party bags, it was fantastic, great quality stuff and really cost affective, believe me I shopped around for ages and they still came in as the best value. I orders additional mini bubble bottles for the party bags but they had leaked when they arrived so I couldn’t use them but the company gave me an immediate refund and a apology which was fantastic. I cannot recommend them highly enough. Ps they haven’t paid me to say this, I’ve never come across them before but I do love a one stop good qulity shop and thought I’d pass the info on.
Is there a secret amount of competitiveness going on re children parties and entailment? I’m not sure, Lu has been to parties where parents have hired people who do the whole shebang, entertainment, bouncy castle, games and food, I think its sensible considering how much it costs to do all the parts separately. But I had not arranged any entertainment, I have no excuse, illness, pooryliness blah bah blah. Three days before the party I was in the midst of starting to accept that I would have to do all the party games ever to keep five year olds entertained I contacted a parent at Lu’s school who does entertainment at parties and begged for help, she was booked for the day but put me in touch with a colleague who could help and snap, it all fell into place. She did a neon disco games theme, the children loved it, they danced, ate, ran round, made a mess and then all went home. Horray.
In our bath that evening I asked Lu if she had enjoyed her party, waiting to bask in the glow of parental victory but she said no, it was boring and where was the teacup roundabout? I shall explain. The village hall, where Lu had her party, is also where the Summer Fete is held and on the green in front of the hall there is usually a teacup roundabout ride Lu clearly imagined it would be there for her birthday too – ooops. I think I need to up my game next year. After her comment I did actually look up hiring teacup roundabouts for next year but at an average £750 plus it is not going to happen!!!