How to plan the perfect kid’s birthday

This week I’m delighted to introduce a new addition to my blogs.  ‘Surviving Motherhood Tips.’  You’ll find a new one at the bottom of each post.  I’d love to hear what you think so please do leave a comment.  I also now have a ‘subscribe’ button so sign up and never miss a post again.

As you know, I live in an imperfect world so it’s rare for me to have an opportunity where I can use the word perfect.  And mean (3)

But I’m going to be brazen, go out on a limb and say that we’ve just had a perfect weekend.  And then accept I’ve jinxed myself and we won’t be having another for a very long time.  That’s ok, I’ll take the risk.

Beaver has turned four.  Unintentionally, it’s been a celebratory weekend of epic proportions with a build-up of a similar nature.  Like a festival without the rain.  More Lollibop than Glastonbury, obviously.  There has been a new bed, trip up the Shard (that always sounds so wrong), a birthday bike, a family party and an E.T. cake (yes I managed one, sort of).  All this was before her actual birthday.

I have no idea how four became such a landmark birthday.  I can only think it is tied up with her starting school in September and because we’ve left it so long before giving her the ‘landmark’ presents like a bike and ‘big girl’s bed.’  I certainly can’t keep this momentum up every year and I don’t hold out much hope for Godivy.  I already have a feeling I know what her first bed and bike will look like.

Even Beaver found the celebrations to be a little epic.  ‘Happy Birthday,’ I said yesterday morning.

She looked at me a little wearily.  ‘Is it though, Mummy?  Am I actually  four yet?’

‘Yes,’ I said.  ‘And I think you’ve grown an inch.’

‘I am bigger,’ she said.  ‘I’m all grown up.’

Beaver has spent all weekend telling anyone that will listen that she is grown up now.  She says it with such conviction that I wonder if it is true.  Is my work here really done?  She certainly seems a little different.  More considered, balanced, self-aware.  Has the egotistical mania of the threes simply disappeared overnight?  Or have I just drunk a little too much Pimm’s this weekend?

There is suddenly a sense of reasoning where there was none.  ‘I must have some quiet time before we go to the splash park,’ said Beaver sensibly as I laid out the birthday plans for her actual birthday.  ‘We can go after I Can Cook.‘  As if she were the adult and I the child.

So, I am looking at her in a new way.  Expecting a little bit more because I know she is capable of it.  And because an articulate four year old throwing a tantrum is nowhere near as ‘cute’ as a less verbose three year old.

But more than anything this weekend, I felt proud.  Proud of the little girl that she is becoming, despite me and all the mistakes I make.  I want to hang out with her and hear what she has to say because she knows about things like flying fish.  Stuff that suddenly becomes really interesting when she’s the one telling it.

We rounded off Beaver’s birthday weekend with an al fresco pizza.  It felt wild for a Monday night, sitting outside at 7.30 PM with the girls in tow.  How tame our ‘wild’ has become.  And I asked Beaver what her favourite present was.

‘My Tinkerbell and Rapunzel,’ she said without so much as a glance at the shiny new bike with the shimmery tassles and princess bell, sitting by her side.

Ahh.  Perhaps not so self-aware after all.

Surviving Motherhood Tip#1 – How to plan the perfect kid’s birthday

  1. Have a party at home for extended family/godparents
  2. Then share a party for friends with a child from nursery/school
  3. Choose a venue that caters for children’s parties and leave all the work to them
  4. Spend some one on one time with the birthday girl/boy – there’s nothing a child wants more than your undivided attention (not even a bike, apparently)
  5. Break from routine and have a family birthday dinner, even if it is midweek.  Children are never too young to appreciate that time together
  6. Drink wine.  And plenty of it.  It’s your celebration too, remember.  And it makes those glasses just a little more rose-tinted


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