So every December we go to India. But before that we have the kids’ birthdays. Technically Mimi’s birthday is in Jan. But I can’t imagine doing a party when I’m in India recovery.
Actually I can’t imagine doing a party at all, and in eight years I’ve done … two (I thought it was three, but I think this is actually the second).
I’m not a bad mother. But I’m fairly lazy and a product of my own experience. No I’m not one of those who didn’t have a party growing up. I had one, every year (thank you mum). Looking back, I realised I didn’t actually enjoy most of those. I twigged this looking at the stressed of expression on my face in photographs and then recognizing that same expression on Nene’s face at his first party. In fact, the kids haven’t shown much interest in a party, preferring the idea of Disneyland or a special treat with family instead.
This year, however, both said they wanted to celebrate with friends. Nene wanted to go go-karting but I was ambivalent. While Nene is adept at those things, I’m not sure every kid would be and I would horrified if there were an accident.
So I started trying to dissuade Nene from that idea because his bestie was the one I was most concerned about. Then Mimi said she wanted her own party with a balloon twister and an entertainer.
The thing is – one party is bad enough, but two?
Okay, here’s when I started to become Bad Mother. Not only did I convince Nene not to have a karting party, but Mimi to combine her party with Nene. The latter was harder than the former because Nene is my cooperative kid, and Mimi is not.
And then I morphed into Libran mom because no sooner had they agreed than I started feeling guilty. I started secretly looking into the go-karting party, talked to bestie’s mum and figured I could do it. Only when I went back to Nene with a yes, he said he didn’t want to have a karting party but a normal one. Ouff.
Luckily I had started this process a couple of months in advance – too early to book the room even. But I realise that’s what I need – enough time to agonise.
In fact, this time it was easier than my past attempts.
I had the entertainer down pat – Mini wanted a clown/magician and I knew where to get one that didn’t cost the earth.
Food was basically going to be pizza and chips, with a few things made at home. I did stress about sourcing fried rice for the Asian palate, but I basically delegated that to V.
I figured out giveaways and stuck to them.
I organised three games despite V’s exhortation that I should just leave those kids alone, Pink Floyd style. But no, every party I have seen that does not have some organised entertainment ends up in kids beating each other with balloons. Okay, so I did have a clown.
Anyway, in the end, the first two games were successful – the last, a treasure hunt descended into chaos. But later Nene said he would rather have games than not and one kid even asked if we could repeat the first game, so I feel vindicated.
The thing that nearly did me in – mentally – was the cake. So I do have a friend who makes gorgeous looking cakes, but V is not a fan of their taste. And these fondant confections are expensive. So he convinced me to just order from the local bakeries where at least if you compromise on look and taste, you are paying accordingly. And our observation is that kids don’t care very much about taste. I however felt totally guilty about not letting my kids have the exact shape of cake their heart desired.
V said he could not bring himself to feel sorry for kids who were having a rather expensive party with a hired entertainer.
I do see his point. In the end, Mimi had a unicorn cake that tasted better than expected and Nene had a poop emoji cake that everyone wanted a slice of. These were small so we supplemented with a large tiramisu that was not amazing.
All in all, it was a successful party. The room wasn’t overly packed as I had feared. The kids were largely entertained. I was not as hyper stressed as I could have been. I even wore a rather pretty white dress and didn’t get one stain on it.