In his first year at school my son had about 25 party invites.
Ok so I’m exaggerating slightly, but I don’t think I’m far off the mark.
During one month, he had an invite pencilled in for every weekend, plus two midweek.
It comes to something when my son’s social life totally outstrips my own.
A nice weekend away in the countryside? No can do; Molly has a clown party slap bang in the middle of Saturday and Jake is having a Go Cart party with bouncy castle which will cut Sunday in half.
And don’t even get me started on the whole party bag thing.
I did not know stress until I found myself circled by 12 eager and very insistent children demanding to know where their party bags were at my son’s 3rd birthday.
By the age of three they know the unspoken party rules – fun, food, sing Happy Birthday, party bag.
And heaven help you if you deviate in any way shape or form.
Last year I was interrogated by a little girl who had scoped out our house the minute she arrived and couldn’t see any sign of said party bags. She was insistent that I tell her whether or not they would materialise any time soon from some hidden goodie cupboard.
And she had the look of a child who would have her mother call a solicitor if she doesn’t get her bag of bootie.
This weekend we had a double whammy of children’s parties – my son at a football party, my daughter at an indoor soft play area (gah!).
Hubby and I had to divide and conquer and when we converged back home we pooled our party bags to pour over the latest pile of cheap crap we had acquired to litter our house for the next few weeks.
Pickings were slim. The chocolate cake was, of course, smeared over the back seat of the car, the radioactive sweets sucked then stuck to the carpet, the various wrappers littered the parcel shelf.
The plastic crap in our haul was a yoyo which will break the minute you so much as look at it, a giant bouncy ball (“look at the stars in it mummy”) that will probably lead to mummy breaking her neck as it’s left in the hallway, a mini maze game where you need to manoeuvre the balls into the holes and a mini, bright green highlighter pen (cause that’s an ideal thing to give a naughty 3-year-old).
But by far the gift to elicit the biggest ‘wow’ was a pale pink mini tube of lipstick.
I want to drag that mummy who put a lipstick into my daughter’s party bag by the ears to my house and show her the devastation her ‘generous’ gift has had.
I could forgive her the stress she caused as I was forced to watch helplessly from the driving seat as my precious girl started gnawing on the toxic sugar pink stick, ingesting all kinds of cell-frying chemicals as she missed her lips by a country mile.
And I admit it was quite adorable watching her turn all girly as she popped her lipstick into her strawberry-shaped handbag, proud as punch.
But that feeling evaporated this morning as I awoke to the sound of hubby’s voice raised about four octaves in shock. I instantly knew Mia’s days of make overs were, well, over.
Bored of putting the lipstick on her lips, our versatile little girl tried to redecorate the bathroom wall, the soap, the flannel, the white doors, her brother’s bedroom wall and finished off with a flourish on her new white wardrobe.
I mentioned the whiteness of everything, right?
(All of which did not go down well with hubby who spent 30 minutes in the garage trying to sort out which colour paint pots were used on which walls. I’ve heard him swear twice, then shout from the depths of the garage: ‘whose room did we paint Thai beige? And why the hell would we buy a paint called beige?’).
My children have brought home some gorgeous party bags in the past. Party bags that, to be frank, probably cost more than the gift we wrapped up and handed over.
And I’m thinking of Frog in the Field specifically when I talk about this sort of bag.
These were not those sorts of bags. These left an inky reminder on your hands after you had held them for more than 5 minutes and the contents will find their way into every available crevice in my house as they invariably get broken/forgotten/bored of.
So fess up. What’s the worst toy/sweet/gift yours have brought home in their flimsy little plastic bags?