Like most things when it comes to parenting, I had a magical pre-conceived idea of children's' birthday parties, pre-kids'. They would largely involve me drinking wine, chatting to other like-minded mums, whilst the kids' played games, laughed, joked and bundled each other. A happy scene indeed. For some lucky parents this dream is in fact a reality, but depending on the mood of your little cherub (which could change approx. 30.5 times within the space of a two hour party) this is unfortunately not always the case.
My daughter and I have been lucky enough to be invited to lots of her pals' parties over the years (no sarcasm intended), as well as having her own, and as a result I have come to identify five key characters that rock up to every do without fail.
Which kid is your's?
THE CLINGER-ON (My daughter's current party persona)
The party is in full swing, the kids are mid Hokey Cokey with Mr Custard, the mums are chatting and sipping wine (spirits if they're lucky) and where are you? On the sidelines, gently trying to prize your little darling from your leg and shove them amongst their pals, whilst glancing longingly at your now cold coffee. Sadly, you're more likely to rip a bulldog from his favourite bone then detach this kid from your body. That is, five minutes until the party finishes when they'll have the time of their life...of course.
THE HAPPY HOOLIGAN
You'll find this kid lingering by the presents, eager to rip open a corner / the whole bunch. They're throwing themselves round the dance floor like a man possessed, and they're the first one in the cake queue pushing the birthday boy flying. They LOVE a party, perhaps just a little too much.
THE RING LEADER
Who needs a party entertainer when this kid turns up? They're right in the thick of it, helping to organise the party games and making sure everyone is getting a turn (aka they're getting there's!) They'll be the birthday girl's best friend for the day, snagging a seat at the table right next to them, and there won't be a photo taken without them in it.
"It's my party and I'll cry if I want to..." Apart from it's not this kid's party, it someone else's. But your very own tiny tears is reluctant to let someone else take the spotlight, or more importantly keep the presents, resulting in a full scale meltdown just as birthday boy blows out his candles. A ground swallow you whole moment - I've been there.
THE BIRTHDAY BOY/GIRL
Your birthday babe has been looking forward to their special super-duper ultimate themed party for months. Their best friends have arrived and you've bagged the most sought after entertainer in town. You have all the key ingredients for a whopper of a celebration, but just as mum brings out the two tiered cake spectacular, candles lit, they (and the crier next to you) burst into tears. Why? WHY? Don't be disappointed. Being in the spotlight must be overwhelming for a little person, and the months/weeks/days of anticipation will understandably get the better of them, right?
But no matter what character you have at home, feel united in the fact that all parents will have pulled out the..."do you want to go home?" threat at least once during the party, or in my case, a minimum of ten times. But there is a silver lining (additional to the wine). These stories / photos / films will ultimately make great fodder to embarrass them with at their 18th and that makes me very happy indeed *rubs hands with glee *.