On Saturday we held F’s 4th birthday party. It was the first ‘proper’ kids party we have actually done. It sounded simple enough. Hold it in a church hall to avoid mess, get a few party bags together, make a pass the parcel, buy some crisps, blow up balloons, bake a cake – job done!
How wrong I was.
I am too scared to calculate the number or hours invested, the number of pounds spent, the number of expletives directed at ready roll icing and the number of times I flicked myself in the forehead as punishment for deciding to throw said party when we could have easily got away with it for another year.
‘BUT HE LOVED IT!’ you say.
Yes, he did. He really did. But then again he also loved watching our neighbours dog take a sh*t in the street and in any case 4 days later the party has been totally forgotten. The dog taking a sh*t in the street has not – and that was free and not my mess to clean up.
Anyway i thought i would give you the lowdown on what i have learnt about kids parties over the last few weeks in case you are stupidly thinking of hosting one of your own: –
Every party needs a good theme. Our choice ‘poundland.’
Providing alcoholic beverages for your adult guests is a
good rouse to make you wandering around with a drink in hand look acceptable thoughtful and appreciated touch. Remember that every party needs at least one responsible adult host – don’t debate this, just don’t be that person. Instead, faff about drinking fake Aldi pimms and delegating tasks, it makes you appear important and in control.
The present table
Always a contentious issue. The present table may also be referred to as the object which represents what an evil b*tch of a mother you are.
Any games you have planned will be well and truly trounced by the allure of running up and down the room screaming like a crazy person. I’d allow at least 30 minutes for this. I’d also allow time for strange spontaneous activities such as making hedgehogs out of melted ice-cream and frazzles.
Are you enjoying your party poppet? Well yes, yes i am. Can’t you tell by my exuberant face?
Planning the party tea will make you feel like an idiot, fact. Calculating how many loaves of bread you need to make 22 kids 3 sandwiches each is enough to push you close to breaking point. And no, i still don’t know the answer. All i know is that you will make too many sandwiches as no kids come to parties wanting to eat sandwiches. Putting the trays of sandwiches down first to encourage sandwich consumption will be met with extreme disgust. It’s a party, they want to inhale cheesy puffs and mainline sugar. End of.
I think this was the good bit, the bit where you realise it was all worth it. Four little flames reflected in a pair of happy sparkly eyes. Then before you know it, its been chopped up into little pieces and doled out to hungry mouths. All that work for 30 seconds?! It might then seem like a good idea to go around showing people pictures of the cake on your phone in a rather pathetic attempt to validate the 6 hours you spent making it. Probably best not to, if you can help it.
Party bags (AKA f*ck off time)
Handing out party bags will almost certainly leave you feeling physically violated, which is a small price to pay for the sight of the backs of your guests heads exiting the building. Be sure to offer an apologetic glance at the parents as they leave, sorry for all the e numbers that will keep them up till midnight, sorry if any of them choke on the cheap crap you bought on ebay etc.
Turns out not many people go to kids parties expecting to get drunk so taking home 1.5 litres of pimms and a case of beer is a small victory. The only other good thing is that throwing and/or attending said parties offers a 99.9% effective method of contraception. Feel happy that you have helped people make an important life choice. More kids = more kids parties so no, definitely not.
That’s it really. Sitting here now, enjoying beans on toast for dinner (again) because we can’t afford anything else.
Bring on 5!
**************P.S. I have TWO books out now! You can nab them on Amazon here or in all good bookshops and supermarkets :)