Party political ponderings

Happy Birthday

Happy Birthday - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Not the kind you’re thinking of though. It’s way more complicated than that! From before they are born, you are arranging every detail of their special day. The birthday party shenanigans will be an ongoing project. For life.

Like a professional event manager, you are now a ninja at organising. Precision preparation. Award-winning party bags. Spotting present bargains, tying ribbon and liaising with other drivers and PAs (I mean parents).

You will qualify to be hired for the planning committee when the Olympics come back. If the Royal Family needs a hand planning Princess Charlotte’s wedding day, they can call on your expert logistics.

Whether it’s a farm, soft play centre, restaurant, cinema, science party, disco or magic show, princess-themed, mermaid-themed or superhero-themed… As long as it doesn’t involve 30 kids in a swimming pool (why did we ever do that?) then all will be OK.

Or a bouncy castle. There is one simple way to crush your child’s dreams - when they’re squashed and deflated right along with that bouncy castle. Two minutes before the party starts. I don’t care how ‘fun’ they are, the flat factor is too risky and gives me nightmares.

Am I meant to give full meals or just some food for parents? What about booze? It’s morning. I don’t want to be making hot drinks with all those children running around. What shall I cover the carpet with?

If they gave a fiver present, we have to remember to give them one of similar value. If they give a great present, we need to give a great present. If they asked me in advance what he is into, we have to ask them when it’s their turn.

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Then there’s the showing off.

Crispin donated a kidney for Comic Relief. Well, Theodore can make organic falafel. But Margot can sing the National Anthem with all the correct words. In Mandarin. To the staff in The Dressing Room, while I try on designer clothes.

Once Alphonso got out of his cot, cooked us a full English breakfast - with locally sourced sausages and fresh eggs from Willows Farm – and served it on matching vintage porcelain with ethically ground coffee. Then greeted the Waitrose delivery, while we stayed in bed, discussing whether or not to go to The Waffle House or that new place that used to be Pizza Hut for lunch.

Oh. Well, I stepped in puppy poo as I went to rescue the baby from being eaten and then toasted some old Asda value sliced white bread, so nobody would notice it was a day past its best before date. Then we had to walk round London looking for the car - because Husband couldn’t quite remember where he left it yesterday before he went out drinking. Then the kids were so crazy with boredom, that we did the fish fingers an hour earlier than normal and tricked them it was bed time at six instead of seven - such was our desperation to watch The Cube in peace, before we had quick average sex and fell asleep in separate rooms. I really want to say that, when everyone boasts about family life.

The party bags have to be filled with tat because children count on tat but it must be tat of superb quality. The parents must be able to tell it’s good tat. They should contain the right amount of sweets. Not so few his friends think we aren’t cool. But not so many that the parents think we have shares in Haribo. There needs to be a selection so those too young for jellies can enjoy a Freddo. But Haribo fans must get a Freddo to avoid sibling squabbles.

There will be no tears. Bubbles will ensure everyone is happy. As long as they aren’t those cheap bubbles where the sticks detach too easily from the lid and go inside, in which case, there will be more tears than at Auntie Flo’s funeral.

It’s exhausting. Such pressure. I am so not doing this party lark next year. We can all meet at the cinema.

As the last guest leaves, the postman arrives with 30 weird-smelling bouncy balls from Amazon. The ones that caused the pre-party obligatory ‘are they a choking hazard?’ struggle but were three quid so I ordered them anyway. Oh well. It’s fab to be organised and I can put them away. There’s always next year. Argh!