Usually, Pink’s birthday is on my radar by mid-April, but this year, because it was my 40th,and we had made a big fuss about my birthday, I woke up one morning a couple of weeks ago and realised that despite her regular updates about how long it would be till she was 6, I had done ABSOLUTELY NOTHING about hers. Her actual birthday is 17th May. I checked the calendar. We were booked to go camping for my oldest friend’s 40th the weekend immediately after Pink’s birthday, and then one of her classmates, whose birthday is a day or so after hers, bagged the Friday evening tea time slot, which I could just about have managed, even with camping. We had a lunch date yesterday – so this morning it had to be.
I’d secretly like to be able to write a hilarious blog about what a complete and utter disaster the whole thing was, but in fact it was probably the best party I’ve ever done. I did feel like things were heading for trouble as I was icing her birthday cake last night – already full of cold and feeling lousy, I realised that the heart-shaped Victoria sponge, filled with cream and raspberries (frozen and defrosted) and covered in pink buttercream didn’t look like a heart at all – more a bottom. It wasn’t just me. By 10 p.m last night, my fears had been confirmed as both the Husband and the Mother in law had also commented that it looked just like - a bottom. I managed to find an appropriately pink ribbon to tie round and get over that hurdle, but I felt increasingly hysterical as 11 o’clock approached and the balloons I’d purchased with the promise of being ‘rabbit-shaped’ looked more like breasts when inflated. Mind you, given that I’d just been outraged by reading about the latest Ann Summers advertising campaign, I should have been thankful they weren’t vibrator shaped... Anyway, it made no difference in the end.
|just imagine how it might look, without ribbon and viewed from the other end...|
I have had varying success with birthday parties. I have done them ‘joint’ with other children, in church halls with ‘trophy’ birthday cakes (fortunately for you all, I wasn’t blogging the time I spent 15 hours making a Thomas and the Troublesome Trucks for Blue’s 4th Birthday. It was magnificent – I do say so myself – but he was ill then, and I felt like he had to have the best cake ever. Unfortunately, nothing has ever quite matched up since, and I get out a bit more these days). Blue is now at the stage of ‘birthday treats’ rather than parties, which suits me fine, but Pink was definite. She wanted “A party at home”. With pass the parcel, musical bumps, musical statues, musical chairs and pin the crown on the princess. Well, at least she was organised.
She was totally excited about the new dress I had bought her yesterday (I should say that without exception, ALL her clothes are hand me down, so when she said that what she really wanted for her birthday was to go shopping for a new party dress for her party, I felt I could hardly refuse), but in a first, there were no sulks about not winning the games, and no “meltdown for no reason” during the party.
We did cake decorating – butter cream available in 3 horrible colours, plus sprinkles – assorted, some sugar butterflies and some wafer daisies. The games went well, and the weather was good so we could have regular running outside. We also had lunch picnicking in the garden. I had suggested to Pink that if the weather were good, we could have had the whole party at the park, but she wasn’t having that. How would we play pass the parcel? From my perspective, picnic in the garden was the next best thing.
I have done Annabel Karmel style party food in the past, and have learnt those bitter lessons, so to feed 12 children, we had: 5 rounds (i.e. 10 slices) of Hovis ‘best of both’ (no homemade bread – as I say, I have learnt - but I still can’t bring myself to buy pappy white, even for a birthday party. I am middle class, you know) of ham sandwiches and 5 rounds of grated cheese. Carrot sticks and cucumber sticks, cherry tomatoes, 40 cocktail sausages, medium meat content, 6 packs of Sainsburys assorted potato crisps – 3 ready salted, 3 cheese and onion. The cakes that the guests had decorated earlier plus 24 mini fairy cakes that the mother in law and I iced, and the Husband decorated, last night for sweet stuff, and the cake...
1p.m. came round blissfully quickly and then everyone had gone home. And now I am here drinking my honey lemon and whiskey, about to go to bed and wondering if that might actually be the last ‘birthday party’ I ever do.
“Thank you Mummy” said Pink “It was a perfect party”. Picked me up more than the paracetemol did. Can I go to bed now?