On one morning over the weekend I like to have a nice relaxing bath. All going to plan this involves lots of bubbles, a cup of coffee from the machine with actual frothy milk and the Guardian weekend magazine.
However it very rarely goes to plan.
Pretty much as soon as i sink into the bubbles I hear the sound of elephant feet pounding up the stairs and a booming voice in the distance.
‘F where are you going, please stay down here. I told you Mummy is trying to have a nice bath’
‘But I just have to talk to her about something Daddy. It’s important!’
[Elephant feet recommence and grow steadily louder – enter eldest son]
‘Mummy I just need to talk to you about something!’
‘Ok, whats that?’
‘Um, um, um…Do you think Lightning McQueen or Francesco Bernoulli is the fastest?’
‘Yep me too! Oh…do you need some toys in there Mummy?’
‘But you’ve got nothing to play with! I’ll just put some boats in for you and, and do you want the fireman Sam that transforms into a fire engine in too?
On Saturday we held F’s 4th birthday party. It was the first ‘proper’ kids party we have actually done. It sounded simple enough. Hold it in a church hall to avoid mess, get a few party bags together, make a pass the parcel, buy some crisps, blow up balloons, bake a cake – job done!
How wrong I was.
I am too scared to calculate the number or hours invested, the number of pounds spent, the number of expletives directed at ready roll icing and the number of times I flicked myself in the forehead as punishment for deciding to throw said party when we could have easily got away with it for another year.
‘BUT HE LOVED IT!’ you say.
Yes, he did. He really did. But then again he also loved watching our neighbours dog take a sh*t in the street and in any case 4 days later the party has been totally forgotten. The dog taking a sh*t in the street has not – and that was free and not my mess to clean up.
Anyway i thought i would give you the lowdown on what i have learnt about kids parties over the last few weeks in case you are stupidly thinking of hosting one of your own: –
Every party needs a good theme. Our choice ‘poundland.’
Providing alcoholic beverages for your adult guests is a
good rouse to make you wandering around with a drink in hand look acceptable thoughtful and appreciated touch. Remember that every party needs at least one responsible adult host – don’t debate this, just don’t be that person. Instead, faff about drinking fake Aldi pimms and delegating tasks, it makes you appear important and in control.
We have been so excited for you turning four. This year you have more of an understanding about time and have been quizzing us on ‘how many sleeps’ for a little while now. It hasn’t been at all irritating though i promise ;)
I jest of course because I know we have been more excited than you, looking forward to seeing your face when you got your shiny red pedal bike. We considered taking you up to London or to do something out of the ordinary but when it came down to it we knew you’d prefer taking your new wheels out for a spin along the prom. You know what you like and you like what you know and there ain’t nothing wrong with that.
It’s summer and it’s a good one. Well I say good although its starting to feel a bit bad, because it’s getting rather relentless, It’s too HOT all the time. I’m sorry. How terribly British, to get a wonderful burst of weather and complain about it.
But you see It’s like being on holiday except all the best bits have been removed – no pool, no cocktail of the day and no kids club conga to come and take the small ones off your hands for a couple of hours.
Just lots of hot and lots of kids. And kids + hot = hot kid rage.
You try to do something nice like take them down to the beach but everywhere you look there is rage – sun cream application rage, someone else has a better bucket rage, hat rage, inflatable envy rage, sand in mouth rage, stone in Croc rage, someone holding your head under water for 20 seconds rage and flying ant landing on your arm rage (ok that one was me but!!!! get off my arm).
It always amazes me how many parents persist in negotiating with the rage, ain’t no body got no time for talking in this heat. Best to just stand well back and repeatedly hurl ice-cream until everything goes silent.
You can find a million and one web pages and books dedicated to listing what your baby should be doing and by what age. It’s almost as if people spend more time reading about milestones than they do actually trying to teach their kids the required skills to achieve them.
Mum: I’m panicking, I’m panicking! he should be clapping by now!
Other person who talks sense: Don’t worry all babies do things at their own pace.
Mum: But people are going to think he’s stupid!
Other person who talks sense: Well what does he do when you show him how to clap?
Mum: I don’t know because I spend all day on BabyCentre freaking out. Surely they just learn it from cbeebies anyway? They never seem to stop bloody clapping on that (true).
What i don’t get is why people are so concerned with all the boring, run of the mill milestones anyway. Yes clapping’s nice but I’d much rather have a timeline of events detailing when they might start to f*ck me over.
To be honest I couldn’t give a rats arse when my son masters the pincer grip, how about someone tells me when he will start nicking money out my handbag?
I was watching a TV documentary the other night and it started to reel off a list of personality traits that seemed oddly familiar: –
- Unconcern for the feelings of others
- Unnecessary risk-taking or impulsive behavior
- Gross and persistent attitude of irresponsibility and disregard for social norms
- Very low tolerance to frustration
- Incapacity to experience guilt
- Marked readiness to blame others
- Superficial charm
I repeated them to J and asked him ‘Does that sound like anyone to you?’
‘Yep sounds like F – why?’
‘Those are the personality traits of a SOCIOPATH!!’
‘He’s 3 – most 3 year olds are like that surely?’
‘I guess so but do most 3 year olds ask stuff like…‘
From time to time mummy gets asked to review things on this blog, usually she can’t be arsed. Her policy is to say yes to alcohol, food or holidays so when Domino’s contacted her and asked her to hold a football pizza party she was all like ‘great that will be one dinner i don’t have to cook then.’
The biggest worry when you get take out is always – are you sure you got enough?!
Lets get stuck into the kronie then!
We have an incredibly organised filing system in our house for important documents and miscellaneous items. It goes a little something like this: –
- The lift up lid box (aka foot stool) – lint rollers, tea lights, dusters, broken sunglasses and the digital thermometer
- The kitchen scales – nail files, keys, clip safe things, bits of lego and used batteries helpfully mixed with new batteries
- Kitchen table – magazines, nursery day sheets, unwritten thank you cards that will never get sent, gaffa tape and the latest Toys R Us catalogue
- Blackboard key tidy thing – parking permits, chalk, safety pins, blue tack, party invites, hair bobbles and Calpol sachets
- By the Printer – generally just a huge stack of various papers including bills, forms that need filling out, to do lists, the kids ‘art work’ and seasonal related goods such as the a panini world cup sticker album
- The ‘to file’ box – important documents that needs to be filed
- The actual file – a bunch of old documents that need removing from the file so that stuff that actually needs to be filed, can be filed
With hen do’s and impromptu girls weekends thin on the ground now most of my friends are mid 30’s there is less of an excuse to wangle a night or two away from the kids. That is unless your husband is massively indebted to you for the fact he will soon be buggering off to Brazil for 10 days (I may have mentioned this a few times).
Anyway In part payment me and one of my best friends sauntered off to Spain for 3 nights which was the longest either of us had left our children. I had wondered if we might miss them a bit – we didn’t. Here are a few tips to planning a guilt free break: –
1, Drink on the plane – revel in the fact you don’t have hand luggage stuffed full of Goodies oatey bars, a bra full of raisins and small people jumping up and down on your crotch. Consume as many small bottles of fizz as possible – just cos you can.