When your child starts school, you may as well cancel any weekend plans for the rest of the school year due to the 29 birthday parties you will get invited to. You want them to make friends (and secretly want to make friends yourselves) and so you go to all of them. This is great until May rolls around and you would rather put your head in the oven then see another bloody balloon.
As they got older, they’ve chosen their friends, you’ve clocked the naughty kids and discovered the parents you get on with, therefore making this party malarkey a whole lot easier.
Until then, my advice to you is: Don’t go to them all.
My little Turderoo is what we call “a sensitive soul” aka an emotional freaking wreck. Here is a list of things he doesn’t like:
Lots of people, new people, grown-ups, loud music, loud shouting, darkness, being separated from me, dancing, competitions, face painting and people dressed up.
Yeah. Happy fucking birthday to you random kid I’ve never heard of. This party better be worth it.
The party etiquette is a little confusing at this age too – do you leave them? Do you stay? How much do you spend on a present? Can you just not go because you can’t be arsed or is it more polite to make up a lie? Can you bring toddlers? Will they be fed? And fed enough that I don’t have to feed them or awkward-time feeding where it’s after lunch, not quite dinner so I still have to cook after this?!
From what I’ve learnt being a Reception mum:
Stay with them. Especially if you also wield “a sensitive soul”.
They will be fed. If not, the sugar from all the Haribo that gets doled out will sustain them until midnight.
Bring toddlers but do not expect food/goody bags for them – that would be rude.
Present buying; If it is a kid you’re child has no particular interest in, up to £5 generic craft/colouring crap is fine. If they have proclaimed their marriage to said birthday girl/boy, up to £10 with consideration to their personal interest is fair. Also use recyclable paper. People seem really into that these days.
Oh and never underestimate the power of a goody bag. A little bag containing cake, sweets and Chinese plastic tat that breaks immediately will make your little one’s bloody day. Never forget it – I learnt this the hard way after leaving it in somebody’s car – you will never hear the end of it.
It seems plastic medals, cake and bubbles and 100% winners on the goody bag front. Once got a pair of themed socks which was very much appreciated.
Did not appreciate mini jigsaw puzzles (I mean, really?!) or Maom sweets (who can actually chew these let alone enjoy them?!)
Essentially, a party is a winner if nobody cries. Once Turd, Turdette and then I all cried at a party. Not my proudest moment. He got freaked out by a dressed up pig while she whinged and moaned (for like a continuous year) and at this point instead of comforting him like a normal mother, I lost my shit and then cried with guilt. Received some judgemental looks in the process but hey-ho.
He got a plastic medal.