It was the geekdaughter’s 4th birthday last week, and I have a terrible confession to make. I didn’t organise her a birthday party. I intended to, I really did, but then I kind of got a bit “jammed” trying to make a decision about what kind of party it would be, and so nothing actually happened until it was far to close to her birthday to get anything sorted in time.
You see, this is really the first year she’s had an opinion about parties. For previous years I’ve simply had an open house, invited our family plus her guide-parents and their children, and we’ve just had a chilled afternoon with a few nibbles. But not this year. No, this year she’s been very opinionated about parties. And party games. For example, as we travelled home from a friends birthday party a couple of weeks ago which had been held in a local play barn she turned to me and said “Well, it was very nice Mummy, but it wasn’t a proper party because we didn’t play ‘pass the parcel’!” She’s also starting to express an opinion on who she should have as guests, which is starting to include children I don’t know from nursery. And I’ve come to a rather alarming realisation…
… I don’t like children’s parties. Or maybe, more accurately, I can’t face organising or hosting children’s parties.
OK, OK, call me Scrooge, call me a spoilsport, tell me I’m ruining my daughter’s childhood by this, but I have discovered that I find the whole party thing really difficult. It seems that at age four we’ve arrived at the stage where party invitations expand from just the children of your parents’ friends into the new world of friends from nursery. We’re slap-bang into the middle of making those difficult decisions – does one simply invite every child from her class at nursery, or do I believe her when she tells me who she wants to come and who she doesn’t? Especially when she’s telling me that one of the girls she doesn’t want to invite is the one that we’re told that she spends most time with at nursery! Then we get into the tricky world of party venue – again it seems that this is the age where the “play barn” type party is common. We did consider this for a little while, but not only was the cost very high but an invitation from another girl in her class at nursery arrived for the day after we were considering, and at the same venue. So we ruled that out. Leaving a choice of attempting to hire a hall at the last minute, or having it at our house.
I wrote the hall idea off straight away, as being too short notice. So that left the “having it at home” option. Now, I’m not the tidiest of people at the best of times, and I must confess that since going back to work at the end of May, tidying up and sorting out are things that I just haven’t been able to find the time to do. I can keep things ticking over, but just don’t get a chance to attack the “bigger projects”. So we have bags of baby clothes in the lounge that I need to do something with at some point. We need to have a good sort out of toys and get rid of a load of the baby stuff plus cut down the amount of stuff we keep in the lounge. We can get everything tidied away at the end of the day OK, but we could be doing a lot better. And whilst I’m happy for my friends, who know me and know what to expect, to see us as we are, I’m a bit more worried about the impression I’d make on the parents of the geekdaughter’s nursery friends. Couple that with a load of screaming four year old running around my house, plus the stress of attempting to run and organise party games, and I’m really not keen. And don’t get me started on party bags…!
Due to our lack or organisation this year, I’ve managed to get away with a “birthday treat” instead of a party this year for the geekdaughter. We invited our closest family friends, plus kids, to the cinema and then for pizza afterwards. Sadly the cinema fell through as the film had not been delivered, and the alternative that was being shown was not at all suitable for a four year old. So it was a fun afternoon in the local park followed by pizza instead. We all had a lovely time.
So I’ve dodged the bullet for another year. However this problem is not going to go away, and I’ll need to get a bit more organised about organising her fifth birthday party. Maybe I should start planning it now…