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>> Thursday, 11 October 2007

I’m in the middle of kid’s party hell.

Pretty much all of Boy #1’s class (of 14) have birthdays in September and October; add that to the families we’ve kept in touch with from NCT, and you get the Perfect Storm of birthday parties. We are in the eye of the storm right now with none for a few days, but we’re right back into Hurricane Katrina this coming weekend; we have parties on Saturday, Sunday, Monday and Tuesday.

On Wednesday I may well be checking into the Priory.

The parties this year tend to fall into one of the following categories:

Gambado parties. This is a swanky play-centre in Chelsea Harbour with the latest in kid-centric entertainment, and a jungle gym big enough to lose a battalion of kids. This is nice in theory but when your 21 month old wants to join in it can be a little tiring - Boy #2 is so over the ball pit, apparently, and the slides, ropes and stairs are just his thing. Great.

There are also kid-sized dodgems, 5 fenced-in trampolines, and a mini-carousel. What happened to British bulldogs in the park? I always leave Gambado with a headache… And by the end of October we will have been to 8 parties there. They are clearly doing the right stuff with their marketing.

Home parties. Great in theory, but given the weather recently, can be a little claustrophobic with 20+ kids running round. The mum at a party I took Boy #1 to on Tuesday couldn’t contemplate having the children + assorted mothers in the house for a whole 2 hours so started the party in her local garden square. It was raining. A lot.

Alternative’ parties. We had one of those for Boy #1. Again, great in theory but always a bit of a gamble. We’ve got one on Monday at a theatre centre in Battersea. Am looking forward to it’s not being Gambado, but not to the traffic on the way back across the river…

‘Lord of the Flies’ parties. Not too many of these so far this year, but we had one on Saturday. These are always in basements, for some reason. At this one the entertainer was an hour late and the children amused themselves by running screaming round the room like a pack of feral chimpanzees. By the time we left both Boy #1 (dosed up on pizza and too much cake) and I (dosed up on too much diet coke) had a headache.

Husband pulled a classic ‘man about the house’ trick in the evening. After 2 weeks of having 4 boxes of wine towering next to the kitchen wall, he finally came good on his promise to put them away. Fantastic. However, he lost all brownie points when he came into the sitting room later and asked ‘Did you see the kitchen?’. Lengthy silence, into which I think I was supposed to drop praise and gratitude for clearing up the boxes. Think that the next time I do the washing I will ask if he’s seen that…

This reminds me of a joke a friend sent on e-mail (Sammie, you know who you are). A man arrives home after work to find his children still unwashed and in their pyjamas, the house a tip, and nothing done since he left. Chaos reigns. He finally finds his wife, in bed, reading. “What happened?” he asked, expecting some horrific tale of woe. “Oh”, she said, “you know how you usually get home and ask me what I did today?” “Yes…” he replied. “Well,” she answered, “today I didn’t do it.”


Sam I am 11 October 2007 at 19:22  

I still laugh at that joke!!

I hate childrens parties with a vengence - especially when I am the hostess.... I am thinking of bribing them next year with the offer of money to spend at the toy store instead. Terrible I know!

Frog in the Field 11 October 2007 at 20:29  

Good God Potty Mummy, give them all my business card!!!
Awfully well written, marvellous can I use some of it in my Newsletter??

Potty Mummy 11 October 2007 at 23:43  

Sammie, me too. It's my favourite (along with the Womble's 'My dog's got no nose...' classic). And the toy store idea? Do it. It will definitely be cheaper...and a lot less stressful.

Hi Frog, hurrah, you're talking to me again! Feel free to make use of the post in your newsletter (and would love to see that some time - does it go to all your customers?). It's all grist to the mill for a fellow blogger in my mind...

Pig in the Kitchen 12 October 2007 at 08:09  

Ha! I almost bite my tongue off when my hubby points out that he's just wiped the work surface...i fear that if i started retaliating I might never stop!

Parties are madness aren't they? Thankfully not too many on the horizon for us at the moment. And as for play places and potty training...never a good mix!

Potty Mummy 12 October 2007 at 11:58  

Hi Pig, you're right; part of having a successful (?) marriage is to know when NOT to say what you're thinking... And parties and potty training? Disaster. Am not looking forward to Boy #2 starting the same round of experiences...

david mcmahon 12 October 2007 at 23:51  

Nice work - and I'm glad your husband cleared up!

I'm a Dad as well and as a boarding school boy, I'm completely house-trained!

Frog in the Field 13 October 2007 at 11:15  

Oh, I'm always talking to you Potty Mummy, I've just not blogged much at all the last two weeks, I've been suffering from Insomnia for so long I was failing to function at all.
I now have sleeping pills and can now do more than just download orders to shove at my postman.
I can send you a newsletter if you wish.

Potty Mummy 13 October 2007 at 18:36  

Hi David,

thanks for taking a look, and glad to hear there is something to be said for boarding schools. But house-trained? Would your partner agree with that? (Not sure I am, by the way...)


sorry to hear about the insomnia, hope you're starting to feel the benefit of a full nights sleep. And yes, I really would like to see a newsletter; can I get it from your (professional) site?

The Rotten Correspondent 14 October 2007 at 02:57  

Thanks for stopping by my blog. You should come back again when I'm not feeling so dire!

Kid's parties are something else, aren't they? It seems like no matter what, someone leaves with a headache or vomits in the ball pit or steals the birthday boy's new toy and won't give it back. Feh.

When my kids were smaller the big place to go was a pizza place that had gaming areas and such. The parents loved it because they served beer. Everyone was happy!

Potty Mummy 14 October 2007 at 14:16  

Hi Rotten Correspondant; thanks for the visit and beer at kid's party? Sounds like a great idea. Must get onto it for next year. And in the meantime perhaps I'll just bring my own to those we're going to over the next few days...

Mya 14 October 2007 at 17:30  

If I manage to throw a kids' party without either a: an unscheduled visit to casualty b: someone sticking a plastic fork up the cat's bum or c: the house catching fire; I consider it a success.

Mya x

Potty Mummy 14 October 2007 at 18:53  

Hi Mya,

can I add d)? A friend was at a party last week (in Gambado mentioned in my post) and two mums had a fight. A physical fight. Not what you would want at a successful party.

They were clearly from south of the river...

Tattie Weasle 14 October 2007 at 22:09  

Know those parties so well - not too many of them as class only 11 and NCT group all gave birth in the spring... but it's building up! Also starting on The Littlest's beginning to feel under presssure to have a proper party for him too starting to sweat about it and it's not until May! He'll be 2....

Potty Mummy 15 October 2007 at 10:38  

Don't do it Tattie! Surely 2 is the last birthday you can get away with not having a party? At least, that's how I view it. Maybe it will be a hot topic for the boys when they are in therapy years from now... "and she never even threw a 2nd birthday party for me!" - and maybe not. I think not.

Cake and presents at home with the immediate family is so much less hassle - and much more retro...

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