Friday, 8 February 2008

Forward planning

It's about that time of year that we begin to plan Isla's birthday party. It was news to us, she isn't four until May, but we were informed via her daily bulletin of how old I am and when I will be four that her party was imminent. She's planned most of the details herself, who will be coming, what she will wear and what she would like for a present. Obviously princess is the word that appears most upon her list of anything to do with the party. Only princesses are to be invited, she will dress, most appropriately, as a princess, she would like a princess castle for her present, and I mean a proper castle i.e large, for the garden and able to house at least the eight princesses coming for the princess tea. It's going to cost a fortune.

Thank goodness Jack is too young to understand parties. For Isla's first birthday we invited twenty five (yes that's two-five) adults and any child we could think of under five. We had a barbeque, I handmade all the burgers (with different herby/spicy fillings), all the kebabs, concocted marvellous pasta salads (both wheat and gluten free varieties), bought oddbins' entire wine stock and threw her the party of a lifetime. Oh how we slaved, our daughter's first year was to be marked with aplomb, everyone should remember it, not least Isla, the apple of our eye, our raison d'etre. It was a roaring success. Apart from for Isla who spent the entire day sat on the path eating my car keys. She remembers nothing. If we ever ask her about it or show her the photos her only question is to the tune of why I had dressed her so hideously.

So whether it's the memories (or lack of in Isla's case) of all the hard work we put into Isla's first birthday and how thankless the task was, or it's just that second child syndrome that people keep telling us about, we're not planning much for Jack's first birthday. Not that we aren't as proud of him or love him any less, it's just that we'd like May to end without having to remortgage the house. Again. Luckily his birthday is four days after Isla's so we can tag it onto hers. I haven't broached this with Isla yet, I've run out of courage to be honest. I know for a fact that boys are not allowed to be princesses (according to the Royal Charter of Princesses tacked to Isla's bedroom door), so the only way would be to introduce a sort of prince theme. I could dress Jack and his only invited friends Luca and Bradley (because I like their mummies) as pirates. I'm sure they wouldn't mind an eye patch, and rubber swords are ever so chewable. They'd look quite the team sitting together chewing away, not a clue as to the special occasion that they are part of.

Then again, he doesn't actually know its his birthday does he? Who's to say either way? We could just skate over the whole event, let him sit at Isla's birthday in normal clothes (hurrah) with a piece of toast (it's all he eats anyway). He'll never know! Even when he's older he won't find out, haven't we proven already that no matter how much effort you put into your child's first birthday it is, for them, a truly forgettable experience. We could take lots of pictures of him in his 'party outfit' (dungarees) and tell him they were the height of birthday fashion in those days and that toast was the thing to serve. Best of all it'll cost nothing. Nothing! Ahhh that's the kind of party I want, a free non existent one. If only we'd thought of that four years ago.

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