We’re all partied out

I was reading the rather bonkers story about a 5 year old being given an invoice for missing a class mates (presumably now ex-mate) birthday party in the Telegraph, and thinking this just about sums up the whole kids birthday party thing to me. If you’ve not read the story, do and bear in mind, even if what the invoicer says of the invoicee- “they had my details, they could have contacted me“- it’s still as mad as a brush to actually put an invoice in a five year old’s bag and then threaten the small claims court for the princely sum of £15.95. It’s also bloody mad to spend £15.95 a child on a sodding birthday party too in my book.

In this context, our weekend of parties- I took Ned to a 3 year olds party in the local community centre, and Fifi had a few screaming 6 year old girls round for her birthday immediately after- must seem small fry in the scheme of things but parties are stressful nonetheless. It obviously didn’t help wifey much as I spent large chunks of Fifi’s party hiding upstairs attempting to do a system transfer between a Nintendo 3DS and a New 3DS, when I should have been crowd controlling in the sitting room.

We’ve done hire the hall parties for the kids before and even had one at soft play but I can’t really face it going forwards. Parties cost a fortune, are an opportunity for everyone else to play a bit of one-upmanship (“The trapeze artist at Seraphina’s party was truly special darling“) round here. Heaven forbid that the kids just simply enjoy themselves. So for Fifi’s 6th, we let her invite a few friends round for popcorn, pizza and a movie. They had a bit of a disco afterwards and everything was good. Of course it was still stressful; any house with that number of small girls in it isn’t going to be relaxing, especially as it had been snowing on and off for a large part of the day- the idea of being snowed in with a gaggle of small girls gave me a nervous twitch.

It probably comes across that I’m mean and determined to sap the joy for my kids life. Well, fairs, fair, they’ve sapped a degree of the joy from my life with their incessant lack of sleep, endless bottom wiping requests and general acts of random violence against my genitalia. Joking aside though, I think with kids parties we’re in danger of doing the all too common modern malaise of chucking money at something to make up for the fact we don’t want to spend time actually interacting with them.

I’d much rather have gone out for the day somewhere with my family when I was little than had to play a carefully orchestrated game of pass the parcel where every child must have a layer of paper to unwrap with a small bag of sweets in between each and every layer. Perhaps it’s just me though, I was always happiest in my own company when I was little.

Still, if I take one thing from the weekend, it will be what Barbie said in some second rate animated film that Fifi was watching the morning after the party. For no discernible reason a bunch of small fairies were helping a load of girls at a princess prep school when Barbie came out with these words of wisdom that would have made a producer on CBeebies proud: “No-one can make you feel not good enough- you have to let them make you feel not good enough.”

I shall repeat that to my kids the next time I politely turn down the request for a party…