10 things I now know about hosting a 3rd birthday party

  1. Your child will be ill. The day before the party, your child will be in a strange and emotional mood. If you have a child prone to dramatics, that child will curl up on your lap the night before with your scarf stretched over his body in absence of a blanket, flutter his eyelids and feel his own forehead which he declares to be hot. With trepidation, you will dose your child up with Neurofen before going to bed, and start on the birthday cake, trying to keep an optimistic outlook. Your child will wake up with streaming eyes and nose and a temperature but declare himself to be well enough for his party. You will believe him because you have a Peppa Pig shaped sponge cake in the kitchen waiting to be iced as well as a fridge full of party food.
  2. Your child will wake up earlier than normal (at least an hour) and you will have to get up earlier than normal (at least 55 minutes). Expect to be up before 6am.
  3. No matter how many assistants you have, you will not be ready in time. Don’t expect to be dressed when the doorbell goes.
  4. Your child will sit by the door all morning, waiting for his guests to arrive. When they finally arrive at 2pm, your child will refuse to speak to any of them and glare at them when they dare to attempt to play with his toys.
  5. Cake making will not go well and will not look as professional as you envisaged when you looked the method up on the internet. No matter how careful you are, ready to roll icing will never do what it is told. Parts of the cake will be patched up with icing plasters and parts will be so thin it will be shiny and see-through. However, your child will be excited by your efforts. He will keep sneaking into the kitchen to try and lick the cake. You will stop him several times with his tongue a millimetre from the icing. Also, everyone will tell you the cake is marvellous even if it isn’t. All your struggles with the rolling pin and trying to unstick the rolled icing from the work surface will be well worth it when your child fills his little lungs and his little hamster cheeks puff out and he blows his candles out. Never mind the spit.
  6. Your child will make a random and unpredictable wish when blowing the candles out. He will probably wish for a dragon. A real one. In all other circumstances you would pray that your child’s wishes come true….but not this time.
  7. Your child will be stationed by the front door greeting guests. When he catches sight of a present, he will remove it from the parent’s/child’s hands before it is offered. Presents will be unwrapped at the front door in everyone’s way. He might say thank you; he might not.
  8. Dancing competitions don’t work.
  9. A lot of the food that you spent hours preparing will be thrown in the bin at the end of the day. Things children eat – crisps, fairy cakes, mini pizzas, jelly. Things children don’t eat – sandwiches with a variety of healthy fillings, fruit salad, cheese and pineapple, dinosaur biscuits (surprising).
  10. Birthdays are exhausting. Your feet, back and legs will ache. You might need to take a diclofenac if you want to get to sleep that night. But you will probably forget because you will need a drink or four once the party is over and will fall into bed early.

I would like to acknowledge the following people who helped to make Noah’s party a success:

  • My Mum who cleaned the flat from top to bottom
  • My Dad who blew up all the balloons and attached them to various bits of furniture
  • My sister who made the sandwiches and fruit salad that nobody ate
  • My husband who carried out my orders graciously despite being depressed about his enthusiastic barber giving him a GI Joe haircut
  • All of Noah’s friends (and ours) who helped us celebrate today.

Once again my Noah, Happy Birthday.

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