Thursday, 7 February 2013

The strange time warp of kids birthday parties

Parties, I've done a few.  Kids ones that is.

Not this time of year though.  My parties are all crowded together in the six weeks between the last week of April and the first week of June.   The girls birthdays are two days apart so if they both have a party, I do one the weekend before and one the weekend after, to allow equal opportunity for festivus action.

I know a lot of people who are doing the party thing right now, they're baking cupcakes for school, and suffering the invitation dilemmas unique to this time of year, old class mates? new ones?

With birthday parties I've always tried, but never really pulled it off.  I always feel like I've missed someone out, or forgotten some detail, or not talked to the parents enough, or the lolly bags are shit.

So little, and already a big sister of a 6 week old. 
I held Sarah's 4 birthday party 4 days before Issy's scheduled C-section.  I refused to let the Doctor deliver her at 38 weeks because I didn't want to be in hospital on her birthday so Issy was born at 39.5 weeks.  In her first, and possibly only ever compliant act, she hung in there until I was ready.

And somewhere in the next year her tastes become much more sophisticated.

Issy got the moon at two. 

My lowest point was Sarah's 5th, when in a misguided attempt to increase Sarah's social life (why the hell I wanted to do that I have no idea but it seemed important at the time), I invited 22 little girls to our house for an afternoon Fairy Garden Party.  It rained torrentially the whole time, and we had to cram 22 kids into our lounge room so Magical Fairy Skye Rainbow (an amazing woman), could take charge and made them all make wishes and do a magical fairy picture and magical fairy pass the parcel before eating their body weight in crap.  At least two cynical little shockers princesses came and told me they didn't believe in fairies and were bored.  And in my naievity, instead of telling them to shape up and rejoin the group, I tried to jolly them along, and find them something else to do, which ended up with them trashing my playroom.

The two hours went on for ever.

Which brings me to my point.  Birthday Party time, is different to normal time.  It's slower, much slower.  This is in direct opposition to the hours leading up to the party when you are trying to get everything ready, make the cake, clean the house, wrap the f**king pass the parcel etc.

I was still throwing handfuls of silver couchons at Sarah's Dolly Varden ice cream cake as the first guests arrived.  And don't even ask me about the piñata cake.  It was created in a time vortex where the hours before the party started vanished in the blink of an eye.

The shattered remains of the piñata 

Why is it Sarah's parties I remember with such fear and loathing?  It's a first child thing isn't it?  So much invested in them.   And no idea of what I was doing.  Poor first child.

We were both pretty happy with that one. 
Josh's 6th was a Rugby party in the park.  No mess, rugby guy came and ran them all around.  Easy.

Issy's 5th was a joint disco party with her bestie, possibly the easiest party ever.  Even the Dolly Varden wasn't as tricky.

Well, hello Dolly.
 Choosing cake time is approaching, I wonder what monstrosity I'll be talked into this year.  I forget everything about each party except for the cake.  Because it takes such enormous amounts of time and anguish.

Every year I swear to buy the cakes and every year they get out the cookbooks and start looking at their options.  How can I refuse?

I just wish I had more time to do it.