Thursday, 16 October 2014

Room 101 - first thing in there? #Kids' Parties.

Cast your mind back. You are 6, maybe 7. You are carefully scrawling 8 or ten friends' names on a  flimsy 'pack of ten' invitations which you will then hand out to your classmates with a swelling sense of pride. It's your birthday and my god, you're gonna party. There will be sandwiches that you'll be forced to eat, lots of crisps and cocktail sausages, followed by some buns and then a home-baked cake that took poor Mum 2 evenings to make and ice. Badly. You'll enjoy one hour of pass the parcel, musical statues and chairs with a bit of blind man's buff or pin the tail on the donkey and then everyone will go home shattered and sweaty with a slice of that cake, glued to a soggy napkin, sugar rushed to the eyeballs. Fabulous. Job done.

Now? Dear god, no mother on earth would be braver than the one that suggested a mere house gathering with a tape deck and balloons for fun! You can't get away with just that. Oh no - you'd better do something BIG and preferably original. Go karting, dodge-balling, archery (YES indeed), some animal man who drapes himself in snakes and chinchillas, mountain scaling, indoor skiing, bowling or some rare form of dance - are all expected.

Invites - email, texts, are followed by the paper kind. I have heard of one party where the kid had a gift list. (* eye raise *). The party is a two hour affair, which will involve some exciting activity, a poor exhausted entertainer (or both) and will be followed by a catered spread fit for a king. The kids naturally won't touch a single cherry tomato or carrot stick (who fecking would when you can stuff your face with crisps??) and will gorge on all things sugary. Then out comes the cake - no wobbly two tier affair with melted icing - nope, this will be made by some cake specialist person and will have a dragon, a castle, turrets, a knight and an army. It will weigh and cost more than your wedding (cake).

Then comes the BANE OF MY LIFE - the fucking goodie bags. Gone are the days of a simple piece of cake and a rubber or pencil as your 'thank you for coming to my party and having a great time at my expense' gift. Now, it is a book, or a toy, or something that usually costs MORE than the gift the kid brought for the birthday boy/girl. Getting 20 of these together is like paying for Christmas.

All of this for your 4 YEAR OLD. They will never even remember the party in years to come, but your bank manager will.

Since when did kids' parties become such 'events?' I mean, who the FUCK started this all? Whoever she is - I want to get that clearly demented (obviously loaded with TOO much time on her hands) mother and well, shout at her. A lot. Because it is an extraordinary expense to pay for your kid, on top of a present, and don't get me started on how much time it takes to plan/arrange -  and at the end of it - what will they say? Well, my son, after said animal man party on his 4th birthday (replete with spiders, a skunk, aforementioned snakes and chinchilla and many lizard things) whispered sadly, 'but Mum, he didn't bring a frog...'

At that point I nearly gave him into care.

It is insane and yet no one stops it. No one is brave enough to make their kid the laughing stock of the class by simply having a party where the kids eat some buns and pretend to be statues. We all moan about it and yet we feel powerless. It is like all the hen night rubbish that goes on these days - who thinks it is fine to ask your mates to cough up for a week in Ibiza just because you've found the love of your life, eh? INSANITY. What happened to a few swallies down the pub the night before the big day??

Now we all know I am one for a party and I like merriment as much as the next person. But something has got to give. Will it be me? Of course not. Sproglette is having her first party in Dec for her 4th, replete with a dance instructor type to exhaust the beasts, an all singing all dancing cake and I must get started on sourcing a rare unique toy (26 of them) on ebay for the party bags.....



Anonymous said...

Now Suzanne

I have 3 children, boys as it happens, but 3 of them. Count them. Yes I do. I know. Anyhoo. You must blaze the trail! You must! Just ditch the whole overblown ridiculousness of it all, and this can be done by one simple thing, guaranteed to make your (at home, simply done) kids parties go with a swing. Do you know what that is? Shall I tell you?


You must offer some form of festive drink to the parents when they arrive. Bucks Fizz is always good, or a mimosa or something, depending on time of day. Then switch on the tape deck to something 80's in vibe and everyone will have a blast. The children would have anyway, and the parents will love you forever and you will have started a trend. We always, always offer light booze. Always. No matter what time of day or night. Our parties always are fantastic. Only once have I ever had an entertainer - and he really was brilliant, 1/2 an hour of magic tricks, just fantastic and dirt cheap - otherwise it's your pass-the-parcel, treasure hunt etcetera. And booze for the parents. I do a very small goodie bag, but it's literally sweeties of some kind, a balloon and some bubbles or a bouncy ball or similar. Follow my lead. Alcohol. It is what you need for all parties.

Crummy Mummy said...

I hear you. My son's 4th was filled with Pimms and it went down a storm. As Sproglette's is just before Xmas - we are thinking mulled wine may be the way forward. I am certain it is. You have 3 kids - YOU ARE INSANE. But yes, I concur. Alcohol is the way forward. x