Thursday, 5 April 2012

Two hours of happiness

The weekend saw Number One Son’s birthday party. A childless friend wondered why we put ourselves through the ordeal. As most parents know, it is not truly an ordeal. True, finding a venue, ordering a bouncy castle and dealing with catering take time but it is all worth it when excited happy children sneakily snap a ‘whatsit’ or two or excited guests come down an inflatable slide or beaming toddlers try to catch bubbles.

I must admit we passed a couple of party conventions. I did not even consider doing party bags since it is fiddly, costly and requires you to know exactly who will be coming. We ‘owed’ parties so I wanted to catch a wide selection of nursery mates and friends and to give some open invitations to some groups of friends. I also prefer that the siblings can join, too. It is easier for everybody and if you are paying for the venue and the bouncy castle it is nice to use it to the maximum.

All the children in Number One Son’s nursery group are really good mates – naturally along the boys and girls lines – and enjoy each other’s company. Thus, this birthday party was not about the presents but giving our child some quality time with his friends. A few had been waiting for days for Number One Son’s party. A few good friends could not make it due to a chicken pox epidemic going through the nursery and local elementary school. One of them was really spotty when I took some left over cake over for consolation.

As a chief organizer – yes, this normally falls on to me; guess who organized the honeymoon – I learnt a few new things (to be fair, Archaeologist Husband did keep eye on health and safety and the inflatable bouncy slide in the party while I spread the food onto the tables). For example, Tesco doesn’t do party sandwiches but Sainsbury’s does and the selection is good and they platters are relatively cheap. Tesco’s off-the-shelf cakes are the best and the easiest way to have too much good quality chocolate cake on a budget. Sainsbury's fruit shoots are apparently the only ones with sucralose only without aspartame or Acesulfame K or nasty colorings (why are these bright colourings, banned in the Nordic countries, still used in UK is a mystery to me). Why bother with crudités when grapes and strawberries are popular and give you an impression that your child is eating something healthier than just crisps and cake. Crisps from Aldi are rubbish but their ‘holahoops’, ‘whatsits’ and tortilla chips are good. However, the nasty food surprise of the day gong goes to the Tesco veggie vol au vents that were truly awful, acidy and sharp. No wonder Number One Aunty did not want to take any home...

The bottom line is that with a bouncy castle hardly any other programme is needed. We had a bubble making machine since the mini-mes are still too young to truly pass the parcel without wanting to keep it all but everything would have probably been bumping happily along otherwise, too. Nothing beats a good bouncing with your mates!

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