I am a party lover.
I used to love a good theme night; Mexican food, sombreros and tequila on arrival was a fave.
I loved to dress up, chat and mingle, sip some sparkling wonder juice and listen to some great music.
Get to bed late; sleep in late and feast on a cheeky, cooked brekky around lunchtime.
After a little lull whilst the kids were tiny, it seems I am now back on the circuit.
And it is going OFF, I tell you! WILD. Non-stop partying is being had.
Except this time I am the designated driver.
Instead of the great planning and preparation of old, I am now slapping makeup on in 5 minutes flat (if at all), and pulling on the same outfit from yesterday. End of. No fluffing, preening or shmoozing. No time.
You see, now I am tearing off my 3 year old diva’s dress for another identical Frozen Princess number (because she wants the one with the long, impractical train of course!) or desperately rifling through the cupboards for number one son’s favourite ‘party’ shirt (that he point blank refused to wear last weekend). Now I am tying hair ribbons on an excited daughter who will not sit still and emptying kitchen cupboards to find the sticky tape as I frantically wrap the gift bought last minute that morning. I am cutting and sticking frantically, whilst swiping off hands that have now decided they want said present and they can scream REALLY loud to show their genuine new found love for the latest piece of plastic.
We arrive and the party is pumping.
This season, the circuit has a few options :
It might be held at someone’s beautiful home, with beautiful white walls, beautiful white lounge suites and incredible vases and artwork. I am simultaneously hyperventilating with home envy, alongside palpable fear that it will be my child who breaks the first irreplaceable heirloom. I steer them fast outside.
Another option is an organised activity. Think a craft centre, a bowling alley or a play centre. Now these can be marvellous or manic. When a stranger swoops in and bundles the children off to do anything that occupies them for an hour, I see a flicker of the old party style. The parents gather in and actually manage a chat without being distracted by handing out poppers, soothing a crying child over a burst balloon, or reminding your child that ‘poo’ and ‘wee’ just aren’t the best conversation starters. However, if you are from the school of “Anxious Anna”, they may be sweaty armpit hell. The kids tearing around jumping, leaping, sliding, bumping and having an absolute blast. I, on the other hand, fake idle chit chat with the other parents, whilst fiercely scanning the crowd for my kids, imagining stitches, broken limbs or a jumping castle wee accident. I emerge two hours later with a migraine and a vision of chilled wine blinking across my eyes.
And then there is the park option. Free range kids, tree climbing, scooters racing wildly, snags on the bbq and often an adult esky under the tree. Fabulous fun, depending on the weather and the ages and temperament of your kids. Of course it can also be random, freakin’ chaos and I recommend a box of band-aids at the ready, front and centre with the tomato sauce.
Regardless of where you might be celebrating, the kids love seeing each other. There are tackle cuddles and shrieks and immediate hand holding as they bound off before the first “s/he won’t play with me” meltdown. But for us grown ups, it can be a little more challenging. Sometimes, I have headed along without knowing a soul and you really need to be on your game. Smiling, asking all the right questions, not referring to your wicked hangover or eating all the party pies before the kids get there. It can be hard. But more often than not, you find your people. This means you can breathe a little easier if you see it is your kid who is wiping snot on the birthday boy or has spilt his drink across the food table.
Somehow my kids manage to sniff these out before the ‘big’ announcement, and place themselves right up beside the birthday child, with the hopes of snagging a giant piece. This occurs before the Aunty realises the pieces need to be a lot smaller if this cake is going to make it around this crowd. We all must ooooo and aaahhh over the beautiful design and quietly lock in the name of the cake maker, ‘cos I sure as hell cannot produce something like that. (Then I google them later that night, look at the prices and plan to buy a Woollies cake, instead, and stick things on it for the glam factor). Layers of coloured frosting make a rainbow across my daughter’s face and I silently plead with my eyes as she continues to shovel that rich cake in, despite looking like she is about to fountain it straight back out at any moment. She’s no quitter, my girl, that’s for sure.
Cue mass exodus.
After the cake, you are free to leave, and I optimistically give the 5 minute call as my kids disappear into the abyss. Finally they are located, only due to the clever parental strategy of lolly bags. The only way to drag your child away from a party without the tantrum, is with the lure of these treasure bags and the promise of being allowed to have one in the car (or alternatively, the whole bag, depending on the level of your migraine and the traffic).
If you make it clear through the evening without a need for kids panadol, you are a winner! The Frozen dress may have now seen better days, but you are a survivor…until you realise that other party invitation on the fridge is for tomorrow, not next week as you had marked on the calendar.
Back to back.
That’s how our weekends roll.
Party, party, party.
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