What is it about kids parties?

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We went to a kids birthday party today. There was booze. A definite must for any kind of party including more than two kids running around (by this standard you can enjoy a glass of wine during a playdate too, but test the waters first! You don’t want to waste offer wine to the wrong mother…). It was pretty chilled out with food being cooked on the BBQ and the kids were playing outside supervised by attentive parents. An event that both children and parents could enjoy. But we have quite a few kids birthdays lined up this spring, including one for our own children, and these toddler birthdays are for me a completely new experience which has created a whole new set of worries!

Number 1: The Venue. There seems to be a great deal of pressure to host these parties at hired venues. You know, soft play (AKA the shit & vom bug breeding grounds), sports halls and even pubs and restaurants with children’s areas. I mean when I was a kid I don’t think anyone hosted a children’s birthday party until we started school at least, and even then it was at someone’s home for a couple of hours and we ate some hotdogs and played some games and went home. Which brings me to…

Number 2: The Stuff. Party bags for example. I don’t understand this tradition. Sure, it’s nice to leave the party with a bag full of bribes but is it really necessary? Perhaps somewhat hypocritically as a receiver of the party bag I appreciate it, but as a host… Not so much. I don’t see why you should have to buy more stuff than what is really required, like the paper plates, the plastic cutlery, the napkins, the balloons, the party hats (if you’re the fancy type), the decorations… It’s not like parents already have a huge carbon footprint. Oh, wait…  *sobs*

Now the final and biggest contributor of my children’s party anxiety…

Number 3: The guests. Who do you invite? Do you go for the all-or-none approach to nursery and school friends, or do you select a few of the ones (whose parents) you know, just close family or do you go for the everyone-and their-grandmother’s-invited package? Now, I understand that this is where the venue comes into play. Do you really want to invite a bunch of people you don’t really know into your home, but surely by that standard you’ve invited too many anyway? Do you sense my anxiety?! *hyperventilating*

Next weekend we will be celebrating our girls’ birthdays, at home, and the guest list is restricted to two BFFS, close family and our friends with kids (there’s a limit to how many times you can invite your childless friends to birthday parties where they feel obliged to bring gifts for your kids, again, when you won’t attend any of their birthday parties and general late night socialising). I don’t think there will be any party bags, but there will definitely be booze for the adults. And maybe a massive pot of hotdogs.

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