We’ve done it!! Survived another February, that is! The wintry weather wasn’t the problem, nor the depleted post Christmas bank accounts (although they didn’t help matters!). I’m talking about emerging relatively unscathed from a month of birthdays, birthday parties and half term holidays. All those years ago Nic and I failed to foresee the chaos which would ensue from deciding to make babies in the Spring. Must have been seeing all those cute lambs skipping about that made us get broody at that time of year. Lambs don’t insist on birthday parties for the rest of the flock though! You can see where I’m going with this now.

I was initially filled with trepidation when Sam declared he wanted his party at home this year, but as I got into the swing of planning it with him, I started to warm to the idea. He’s quite wise for his age and I think he had realised that he would have more fun with less friends in an environment he could control, as opposed to running about with his whole class at Jungle Gyms. He had some quality male bonding time with his best friends and I think it’s helped him day to day at school too. For us it was 2 hours of controlled chaos, as we were besieged by 9 boys and 3 girls (who exercised more than enough girl power to hold their own!). Being a control freak I had organised them into 3 groups doing a kind of game circuit, switching between the Wii, Scalectrix and table football. The time flew by and before we knew it we had parents turning up to witness the battering of the pinata. The day was topped off by the now obligatory sleepover – not all 12 thank goodness – just 2. I’ve come to the conclusion that boys, although more boisterous (or “boysterous”) are much easier to manage than girls. More on that later.

After several years of a less is more attitude from Abigail towards birthday celebrations, I was taken aback when she insisted on a party for her whole class at the community centre. I thought we’d exited that phase and had expected to be taking a few select friends to the cinema, followed by pizza. Somehow I found myself agreeing to a Wild West themed party, with the catering and entertainment to be provided by yours truly. Sorting out the food was the easiest part, although I agonised over whether there would be enough sausage rolls, chocolate fingers, token healthy cucumber etc. The bouncy castle was the star attraction but we had to appoint bouncers to manage the numbers and keep them from maiming each other. The craft activities kept them occupied for all of 5 minutes and I had to do some improvised games for the final 20 minutes, having already run out of prizes. It was actually a great success according to Abigail and her friends, but I never want to put myself (or Nic) through that again. Party organisers and children’s entertainers are there for a reason.

In another moment of complete madness I had agreed to 5 girls coming for a sleepover the same evening. In a sado-maschistic way I sort of enjoyed it – watching Abigail as the centre of attention doing all the girlie stuff that I don’t remember ever doing (applying make up to each other whilst blind fold?!). And they were, for the most part, self-sufficient, not needing or wanting any adults present (so I resorted to eavesdropping instead). I lost count of the number of little tearful spats, complaints of “it’s not fair, I don’t have a Go Go pet / lip gloss / Hello Kitty teddy”. I also stopped counting spilt drinks, mashed in popcorn, french fries, sticky lolly sticks on the floor. The three fat ladies show was absolutely hillarious – Nic and I were in stitches and have encouraged them to do it for “Wincham’s got Talent” at school this month. The only moments I didn’t enjoy were at 12.30a.m., 1.30a.m. and 2.30a.m. and I don’t think our little house guests were very fond of me then either! Have you ever tried shouting in hushed whispers?!

But as ever, we did have fun, the kids loved it as evidenced by the photos and it’s over for another year. In years to come when they are celebrating their birthdays at the pub with their friends, we’ll look back with rose tinted glasses and say how wonderful it was.

By Jane Burkinshaw. Share this post by clicking on one of the Share buttons on the right hand side. I’d love to hear your comments too!

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