Why I will never be a decent party planner

A tangled mess of party streamers.

Somehow or other, Xander is going to be six years old next week. Naturally, we’re really looking forward to his birthday but are already dreading an important part of it. His party.

You see, I have come to think of it as an escape room game. I have two hours in which to avoid letting him down. If I succeed, then we can go home.

Until now, we’ve gone for relatively small gatherings. These have taken place either in my parents’ massive garden or nearby places that take care of everything.

This year, however, is the first that we’re throwing a proper party. If those who haven’t RSVPd yet *cough, cough* all turn up, we will have over 20 excitable five and six-year-olds to entertain.

Having helped out on a school trip recently, I’m not fearful of the number of them. It’s more down to the fact that the celebrations we’ve hosted so far have been a bit shit. Dylan’s pirate party for his fourth birthday is a good example.

A sleepy little boy dressed as a pirate.

I dressed up as a pirate by wearing a muslin – yes, one that had seen plenty of baby dribble – as a bandana. The music was via YouTube on my phone and I lost my audience with the games in the first five minutes. Yes, he’s asleep in the picture above, but he may as well be wincing.

With a marked increase in attendance, there will be many more witnesses this time. As I mentioned earlier, I don’t want to let him down or, indeed, embarrass myself in front of fellow parents. No pressure then.

The thing is, I think he might be well aware of this. Last week, he wanted to read a particular book with me. Penguin’s Hidden Talent features a moment when the eponymous character realises that the celebration his friends have thrown for him isn’t very good.

It could be that Xander chose it due to a bit in which a fox burps the alphabet, of course, but he’s a very astute little lad. I’m therefore assuming that his choice of bedtime reading was a warning.

So I’m determined that we’re going to do better this time. We’ve hired a hall that should keep everyone contained. I’ve ordered a wireless speaker so that the music can actually be heard. And the party games… okay, we’re still working on them. Some strictly timetabled fun will be on the agenda.

It goes without saying that we’ll also be laying on the traditional birthday party tea featuring copious amounts of beige stuff and one plate of sliced carrots and cucumbers. Which will remain untouched.

So, on the face of it, we should be okay. But I’m me and that’s what I’m worried about.

It’s just two hours. How bad can it be?


  1. Tim Bonner

    I know how you feel. We’ve generally done things like hire a magician or go to soft play. It takes the pressure off a bit.

    My son had a football party this year and that went down like a storm. My daughter has decided this year she doesn’t want a party. She just wants to go out for a meal as a family. I didn’t show the relief in my face when she told me, I don’t think so anyway!

    Enjoy the party. It will be a blast.

  2. Marg

    What you need is a retired primary teacher who loves a bit of anarchy. Oh, have I RSVP d yet?? That’s what grandparents are for!

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