Lauren has recently turned 3 and I feel a sense of achievement. The terrible twos are over and now I can look forward to a happy, helpful little girl who just longs to please Mummy. So far, that certainly seems to be the case.  A couple of typical sweet things she’s said only today

‘I’m just NOT listening to you anymore Mummy’ and ‘Mummy, stop with all the nonsense and just do it properly’.

Anyway, of course, the birthday itself was a big deal and she had made it clear that she wanted to have a party. Fine, that can’t be too difficult I thought. I was right. It’s not. Unless you fret about every single aspect of said party to the nth degree.

During the week of party planning we also have some major decisions to make on our house renovations.

My husband asks ‘What colour frame should we have for the (ridiculously expensive) sliding doors?’

‘White will be fine.’ I say, not looking up.

‘You haven’t even looked at the colour chart.’

‘OK.’ I scan the colours. There are a lot of grey ones.

‘Yeah, white’. I say.

Now back on to more complicated matters. Where can I get a ring shaped cake tin? If I get it and make two and cut a bit out of each and stick them together, I can make a three. But actually, hang on, all the parents will be staying for the party, so they’ll need cake too. It won’t be enough. Do we put cake into the party bags? Hmm. The other problem is, I can’t bake. Look at cakes online. All personalised ones have to be ordered with 7 day’s notice. 7 days?!!! Ridiculous. Surely no busy mother can be expected to think about the cake more than a week before the party. Actually, I seem to remember feeling just as aggrieved last year…….

Right, forget it. Buy a cake that’s not personalised but is nice. Have a look around. £60? £60?!!!! I am pretty sure my birthday cakes as a child didn’t cost half that much regardless of inflation. And the portion size won’t even feed everyone coming.  Now feeling sick and so tired and just want to go to bed. Mumble to myself something about cupcakes and give up.

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The day comes.  Her actual birthday is combined with the party into one adrenaline-fuelled extravaganza. We have a nice family breakfast and then I try and keep Lauren calm and not give her too many instructions about greeting her friends as they arrive at the party.

At party venue, friends start arriving. Lauren starts talking in baby language and going round and round my legs.

I realise I am a total children’s party amateur; parents start handing me gifts and I have absolutely no where to put them. Lauren decides that she obviously wants to open them all on the spot, ripping the paper off and not thanking anyone for anything

Pressure dissolves as the soft play opens and a tsunami of children pile in. Volume reaches rock concert levels with screams and shouts of excitement (many from the parents!) and the next 45 minutes pass by with riotous fun. Then, the noise starts dropping, a few of the children get whingey, all have bright red cheeks.  Amazed we make it through the hour without any blood loss, we move on to party lunch.

I watch all the children tuck in and the other mothers controlling what their children eat. I think,

‘Hey. It’s her birthday. It’s a special day so she can eat what she likes, even if that is a Kit Kat, a whole bag of crisps, a big cupcake (one of my cake solutions), 3 jam sandwiches, 2 slices of cake (the other – a bought cake from Waitrose off the shelf and yes, it was fine)                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         a handful of grapes and one stick of carrot (mummy’s only victory). Well, the carrot clearly pushed her over the edge and she spent the rest of the afternoon sleeping and throwing up. The first time, she vomited all down my top.

One to put down to experience and no doubt it’s not the last time she’ll over-indulge on her birthday!


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