Tuesday 8 June 2010

How Does It Feel, Ten Years Older

In a couple of weeks it is going to be The Tweenager's birthday. He is turning seven going on seventeen. Since we have been on holiday on his past two birthdays, we have decided to let him have a party. This was a big decision on my part because I can't stand all the shenanigans around kids birthday parties - unless it's a party where I only take one of the kids and I don't have to get involved, be fun or help clear up. My idea of a perfect children's party is where some form of entertainment distracts the kids for two hours and I can sit with a coffee and OK! magazine. Or even better, a celebration where my child is taken out for the afternoon leaving me with a reduced number of afflictions.
The Tweenager's bash will be a football party where The Husband will referee twenty manic seven year olds and I will attempt some crafts with the invited girls. Thank goodness there is a bar at the venue. I am avoiding party food and instead ordering in from the local pizza delivery. I was very comfortable with the whole idea as The Tweenager is most excited until I spoke to a friend of mine who is throwing her son a football party this weekend. She has enlisted her brother who is a professional football coach to train the boys and her BFF to paint faces, make jewelry and do gorgeous things with the girls. And get this - instead of party bags she has commissioned football medals for all party goers. Suddenly I am feeling like Crap Mum. I am usually pretty secure in my role as mother until somebody comes along to show me up and expose me as being, well, just plain rubbish.
The thing is, I just can't be bothered with children's parties. What happened to balloons, pass the parcel and a slice of supermarket cake wrapped in a napkin? It's fine when the kids are little but once they reach school age, it is much more fraught.
Aside from any parental competition to throw the best bash, I hate all the politics over who will come. Some schools have a policy that everybody in the class should be invited which I think is kinda fair but it does mean much expense - that's twenty nine presents I have to sacrifice my child benefit for. The Tweenager has come up with his list which I have amended to include all of my friends' kids (girls - even though "girls have germs") so I thought I was pretty safe. Until this morning when The Tweenager received an invitation to a party the week after his from a child we haven't invited. Oh the guilt, I don't want to be responsible for making a seven year old feel like Billy-No-Mates.
And then there is the issue of extras. I am drawing the line at brothers and sisters. If The Tweenager had his own way, little tantrum Tommy and moody teenager Joe would be invited. He would also like the lollipop lady, the man at the petrol station, his Beavers leader and the weird kid from the fair. Not gonna happen. And if parents decide to stay - do I have to feed them? Will cloudy apple juice and stale pizza cut the mark?
I am also very aware that I am going to be in charge of twenty something hyped-up super-wired seven year olds. It's all very well your child being invited to a party but it always ends up being your turn. I'm preparing for the kid that cries, the kid that breaks something, the kid that does a smelly poo - well that covers my three, but what about the rest?
I'm hoping that my friends, starved of social engagements, will decide to stay and lead me into The Battle Of The Birthday Party. That way if I do get accidentally drunk there will be someone to drive me home too.
The Tweenager may be turning one year older, but for me I'm aging by at least ten years.

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