Well I have survived the two year old birthday party! 2 days on I still feel a bit bamboozled but all went well!
Our little man will be two in just a few weeks now and we hired a local hall for all of our family and friends. I had no idea how much goes into a kiddie party and have new respect for my parents who endured countless parties on my behalf. Jack Flynn at 23.5 months has social circles which is simply incredible when you consider how long he has been on the planet. We have various baby friends, school friends, family etc etc and we are blessed that they are all involved in Jacks life but how on earth do you combine everyone?!
At first I thought that I would have several small parties per Jacks social circles, but that just started getting out of hand in terms of time and money as there are so many people he socializes with on a weekly basis. I thought of a Thomas the Tank Engine day going on a steam train but it got so complicated with numbers and who was going to sit in which carriage I was on the verge of a nervous breakdown (yes it doesn’t take much to tip me over the edge post baby).
The hall idea was my last ditch ‘lets throw everyone in one room’ idea and I have to say it worked marvellously! The whole day cost us approximately £75 and although I was truly, hand on heart exhausted after 2 hours I can say I really enjoyed myself, and more importantly so did the birthday boy, although he was completely oblivious to the whole concept or that everyone was there to celebrate his 2nd milestone.
The hall is a local village hall, we went to poundland and bought banners, plates, cups and tablecloths. Perfect, I have to say, spending any more than a £1 on each of those things is in my mind just frivilous, the kids didn’t care two hoots at that age and the job was done. Everything was pirate themed and it was great.
I was worried about my next party plan but it really worked and hopefully will set a precedence, I asked everyone coming to bring a dish. I thought this might be controversial and might cause some offence, ‘please come to my party and please bring food’ but it brought out the Delia Smiths and the Mary Berrys of the neighbourhood and to me, it had a real community feel about it, there was plenty of delicious food and it was a real talking point!
I avoided party games like the plague, some kids are fabulous at doing pass the parcel by the age of 2 but the only way I could get Jack to partake in this ritual at a recent party was to sit with him with a bowl of crisps and to keep offering him one every time he threatened to move.
There were several CD’s on my Mums little CD player that kept the munchkins amused, I was given these a few a few days before the party, of course I had to listen to them cover to cover to make sure there were no skips, I now can’t hear Row Row Row Your Boat without wanting to vomit but then that is one of the hazards of having a toddler.
How to keep the darlings entertained for 2 hours? My husband wanted balloons but as my asthma means I have a ridiculous level of puffability and the fact that I still, at the age of 32 still can’t tie a knot in a balloon meant that they were out. I set myself a budget of £20 and I scoured the charity shops, I picked up things that I knew were Jack geared so this mainly centred on cars! Cars, megablocks, a massive amount of baby toys for the under 1’s and a colouring station was set up with crayons and paper. It all seemed to go down very well, it didn’t matter if anything was broken as there was no sentimental attachment and the kids had fantastic fun. Of course the downside for me is that hundreds of tiny cars are now parked all over my living room…….
Party bags were my pressure point I must admit, gone are the days when a child is happy with a piece of cake wrapped in a white paper napkin, what to put in a party bag for 15 children between the ages of 3 months and 3.5 years?! I opted for: a piece of cake, a chocolate Freddo, a little ball, a colouring book and some bubbles. For the tiny ones, the Freddo and the bubbles were replaced with baby biscuits and some bathtime pals. Total party bag cost for 15 = £11.
Thankfully Down the Rabbit Hole bakery, a lovely friend offered to do the cake – chocolate construction – looked almost too good to eat! I even forgot candles and those were already thought of! Thank goodness! Perhaps not for my husband holding the cake though!
Despite my pre-party nerves the night before it was a wonderful day with wonderful memories. I am so glad I have a year off to recover now though! 🙂