Monday, 12 November 2007

Party preps

How many sleepless nights, panic attacks and hot sweats can a party for a one-year-old cause? Hundreds, if you are ridiculous like me. Tom tells me I need to get a grip. I tell him he is treading on very dangerous territory and if he doesn’t shut up he can organise the bloody party himself. With a baffled look, Tom says: ‘OK, how hard can it be?’

The last time I felt like this was when I was organising our wedding - writing guests lists, designing invites, going on diets, deciding on menus and music, buying pretty dresses, presents, balloons etc. I admit that comparing the organisation of a wedding to that of a first birthday party does seem a little over the top – and as Tom says, maybe I have got things slightly out of perspective.

I have been imagining that Betty and her one year old friends are going to get upset if they don’t like the prizes they are given. Tom gives me a reality check and says they will only be interested in eating the wrapping paper and pulling each other’s hair, and won’t give two hoots about the toys… ‘As lovely as they are,’ he adds.

I bought a pack of modelling balloons, and then phoned Betty’s godfather and asked if he would be the children’s entertainer for the day. He told me that he had never attempted making poodles and dinosaurs out of balloons before and was a little worried about it. I reassured him by saying that there were some instructions on the packet and that if he arrived early he could practice beforehand. Tom pointed out that as Betty and her friends are all fairly young, it wouldn’t really matter if they were given the balloons unmodelled, or even uninflated.

I am using the wedding cake stand that Tom and I made for our wedding, and plan to have different types of cake on each layer – chocolate cornflake cakes, jam tarts, flapjacks, fairy cakes, brownies, butter biscuit hearts, and I have recruited all members of my family and friends to make them, as of course, everything must be homemade. Having said that, I did buy a little Smarties chocolate cake that fits neatly on the top layer. The other night, after a couple of glasses of wine, it looked very tempting perched there on top of the stand, and I threatened to eat it, but Tom put me on a guilt trip and told me that this was the start of a slippery slope. At that point, thankfully unknown to Tom, I had already eaten a giant bag of Dolly Mixtures that were supposed to have gone on top of the fairy cakes.

I am lucky that Tom brings me back down to earth every so often. He keeps reminding me that if I am this worried about Betty’s first birthday party, what am I going to be like in the lead up to subsequent parties when she is old enough to start bossing me around and having tantrums if I don’t get the colour of the icing on her cake quite right, or she doesn’t like the outfit I am wearing, or she demands that I lose weight?

Betty’s party is one week away, and I think that everything is in order. I have made a big banner fashioned out of an old sheet which says ‘Happy Birthday Betty’, and instead of the dreaded party bags, I have made personalized gingerbread hearts, which I will hang from branches. I have also tried to make our house look a little tidier. I asked Tom if he would mind if I started decorating the house with balloons and banners. Tom said that would be weird and he didn’t think he could live in a child’s party for an entire week.

17 comments:

Beccers said...

Wow, sounds better than ANY party I've ever had/thrown! Just make sure you have plenty of battery/film for the camera and someone to video the blowing out of candles!

Frog in the Field said...

Deep breaths now Elsie Button, steady, or you'll have one of your turns!
It will all be over in a weeks time, book your takeaway, get your favourite wine in. It will be just fine.
When Betty is 5 or 6, parents will shove their children through the door and run for it, so enjoy the help of other parents while you can.

Lou said...

Wow!! We are far too similar! I have just been writing about exactly the same thing! The nightmares and waking up in a cold sweat have started for me too! I am sure that Betty, you, your family and friends will all have a fantastic time as it sounds so wonderful. I'm not so sure about mine but never mind!

talavera999 said...

Very funny post, as always.

i love the fact tom didn't think he could live in a child's birthday party for a week! And eating Betty's party Dolly Mixtures... shame on you!

peachy said...

Elsie you are a nutter!

Stay at home dad said...

Blimey Elsie! What a commendable effort - I hope you're not disappointed if they all sit around crying and over-wrought... But it will be lovely for the grownups and photos either way!

Iota said...

Don't invite any mums who refuse to give their children anything but fruit and healthy snacks, will you? Then you and Tom will be eating cake for weeks. Or was that the plan? I like the way Tom remembered to add "as lovely as they are". He's really got the measure of this supportive husband lark hasn't he?

dulwichmum said...

You are just the best mother Mrs Elsie Button! I am thoroughly ashamed of myself.

Jen said...

Elsie, we are living parallel lives. My son's 1 yr party is this week. However, I am the sane, rational one, and everyone around me are loons.
Don't stress yourself! It will go great...or it won't and it will be a great story. : ) Seriously, enjoy the day! Can't wait to here about it.

Suffolkmum said...

It sounds like it will be great. Love the idea of the cake stand with the different cakes on it. I'd be impressed by that! I have a ninth birthday party to organise on Sunday - as someone said above, parents just drop and run now - and nine year old boys make a LOT of noise - I'll be thinking of you!

Pig in the Kitchen said...

Elsie B, Betty is a lucky girl. I FULLY understand the party mania - although I think you have taken it to new heights - it will be your baby's first ever birthday, of COURSE it's a big deal. I might just add a teeeensy word of gentle, well-meaning caution; if you raise the bar impossibly high for the first event, what will you do next year? What will you do when there are more little buttons? One thing is for sure tho, i think you have pretty much ensured that you will trigger every other mother's 'i'm so crap in comparison' neurosis...
Hand-sewn toys? I'm off to kill myself right now!
Pigx

jenny said...

I did the same for Oldest's first birthday party more than 5 years ago (5 years!?!). We invited 50 people to come to her party and we had it all planned, set up tents in the backyard because we had a tiny house and there was no way 50 people could fit inside at the same time. I had a menu figured out weeks before the party and it was all going to be homemade, nothing catered or bought. Spent the week before the party doing food prep and decorations, and then on the big day, a day that should have been lovely and hot and perfect, ended up raining, windy and colder than average. It rained all night and the water pooled on the tents' roof, causing it to collapse under the weight of the water, the yard turned muddy and the decorations washed away. Sob! We were rescued by my sister who lived 15 miles away and graciously let us have the party at her brand new, just built, bigger house where everyone was forced to remove their muddy shoes before entering the house. Quick calling in the morning with new location and directions saved the day! We had fun in the end.

All I'm saying is this, make sure you have a back-up plan!

Frog in the Field said...

Elsie Button,
Have you, also erased me?
I didn't even mention party bags!
Have a fab time

Amandeep said...

All the very best for the party Elsie!! It all sounds very exciting! Hope you have a blast!! Looking forward to hearing all about it!!

And a very very Happy Birthday to Betty!!! God bless you both!! :-)

s.j.simon said...

lol. did you know that chocolate was banned in switzerland for many years. read this

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MummyMummyMum said...

Sounds amazing! I love the idea of homemade Gingerbread hearts! You do realise I am going to use all your ideas for Baby H's party next month!