The idea of a children’s birthday party fills me with horror. The idea of a soft play centre on a busy Saturday makes my teeth hurt. The idea of socialising with school gate mums who, quite frankly, terrify me is traumatic.
On Saturday we took Miss Rose and Z to a children’s birthday party for a nursery school child at a local soft play centre.
Not only was the traffic horrific but we had to threaten the children repeatedly with not going to the party at all if they didn’t stop being naughty. Eventually, after some shouting from the boy and some sulking from the girl, we reached an accord, and in slightly irritated tension we arrived.
Inside we were greeted by the smiling mother of the birthday girl, who gratefully accepted the spangly slippers I’d wrapped from Miss Rose and the sparkly headband I’d wrapped from Z, and then the kids vanished into the soft play centre.
“Drink?” asked Jonathan.
Glancing around I observed assorted school gate mums clutching their smoothies and costa coffee cups, chatting amiably as their children screamed maniacally.
“Wine,” I said, for this was one of those soft play centres that is truly the holy grail of children’s birthday parties. It was attached to a pub.
When Z’s mother arrived, she too opted for a glass of wine, and together the three of us huddled in the corner, drinking our booze and eating crisps.
Little girls in flowery dresses and lacy ankle socks with ribbonned braids ran past us with Miss Rose in her jeans, t-shirt and scruffy short mop of hair in tow. Little boys jumped and crashed with Z roaring”DIE!” at various hanging foam strips as he beat them to death with his fists. Baby Boo watched everything suspiciously, scrambled over to a foam mounted mirror, and proceeded to snog her reflection.
We sat in the corner, drinking wine, and eating crisps.
When the meal time came Miss Rose announced that she loves carrots but doesn’t like the cooked ones. Z was fuming that baked bean juice had contaminated his chips and tried to insist his mum or Jonathan sucked his food clean. They refused. And drank more.
I had moved on to coca cola, but guzzled it enthusiastically, aiming for a suitable caffeine buzz.
Overall the party was a resounding success. Tantrums over wanting to be bought toys from the grabber machines, and howling wails of despair at having to leave aside, it went well. We survived it. The kids had fun, the birthday girl was happy, the parents I did interact with were pleasant. Indeed, I managed to get into a conversation with a lost looking father about how one of the four year olds in the world now is the next Mark Zuckerbourg so we should try and be nice to our kids in case it’s them. No other reason, obvs.
So far I’ve avoided all children’s birthday parties, and I am not keen to repeat the experience. However, it was doable. It was survivable. And it made our children happy, and what really is better than that.
I’m hoping Miss Rose’s birthday requests continue to be going out for curry, however, because that is far more my idea of a good time.
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Thanks as always for reading, and I’ll speak to you soon I hope!