The Party

So yesterday was Squidge’s birthday. She turned an adorable four and my heart sat in my chest as prepared for the big day. This time four years ago she was struggling with me to come into the big wide world. A ten day labour that ended in an emergency C-section at 3.10am on Sunday night.

In the course of my musing I also had a side note – if she was born at three am on a Sunday night it’s also 3 am on a Monday morning so is she Monday’s child (fair of face) or Sunday’s child (full of grace) or is she both?

Anyway, I am ambling off topic here, a side-effect of post-party exhaustion I think.

So, in my previous posts I mentioned that I’d bought a bunch of Doctor Who goodies to theme up her party and that we held it upstairs at a lovely little coffee shop. I positioned the life-sized Doctor Who and Amy cutout just at the top of the stairs so everyone could see it. The effect was fantastic.

Her little face when she saw it was a complete picture and made every moment of anticipation worth it. Towards the end of the party her and M (the little boy she plays Doctor Who with – she’s Amy), were standing by the cutout and acting out their own version of the show. It was to die for. The fuzzy image above is a quick snap I got of Squidge under the cutout.

Anyway, what I didn’t mention before was that I did not know any of the parents coming to the party. We’ve only just moved to the area and so this was one trial by fire I was nervous about. Since I’ve moved to the UK I’ve struggled a bit with the other mums. They either ignore me, look horrified by me, or don’t really care one way or the other. For someone desperate (yes, desperate) to make other mum friends and get my daughter lovely playdates, this is not a great thing.

Obviously this isn’t all mums! I have some truly dear friends in my old town and my Person. But in this town there is nobody and my track record in the UK isn’t great. Basically my personality isn’t quite ideal for the reserved British human. They either love it or look terrified. I can be a little bit like an overenthusiastic and slightly damp puppy.

So, this remarkable inability to strike the right tone with the natives and a natural propensity for paranoia have left me somewhat twitchy. And this party was looming like a trial by social torture. If I messed up then it would be Squidge who suffered. How could I explain to her that the reason T or E couldn’t meet up for a playdate was because their mums didn’t like me?

Post party mayhem

Needless to say, it turned out that none of the mums knew each other either. The room was oozing with social awkwardness, a sharp counterpoint to the bouncy excitement of children on a sugar high. I have never felt so stressed. I did manage to chat to some of the mums and ultimately landed four playdates (result!) but there were moments I just wanted to crawl under a rock and die.

Unlike last year’s party that had many parents I knew attending, the last hour dragged a bit and I was absolutely gutted when everyone left at ten to 5. The last party I held lasted quite a bit longer and I didn’t really notice people going because I had family and friends there. Although having a grand total of two parties under my belt hardly makes me an expert on the etiquette of it all, I wondered if my party was so kak that everybody couldn’t wait to leave?

I tried to make it fun and exciting! We had cookies and veggies with dips on Doctor Who plates, two coloured juices in Doctor Who cups and dalek masks to growl through. Then it was pass the parcel and everybody won a prize. Although one tot (who’s parents just left her with us and went to the beach) just kept opening the layers on her one when I wasn’t looking and one tot (who’s mum was so standoffish her nose could probably have propped up Big Ben) kept crying whenever he didn’t win.

Then it was time to do pizza making (an activity provided by the coffee shop owner) and they LOVED that. Then it was musical statues which saw me reduce two tots to tears – my own and Standoffish Mum’s child – because they moved and I had to tell them they were out. I felt horrible! Nobody told me that musical statues could be so fraught!

I felt really awkward about making the child cry. Twice if you count that he didn’t win the Best Dancer competition either and that he thought he HAD won because the parents were calling out the winner saying “blond boy!” and there were two of them. Good thing that childcare is not my chosen career path I think.

So, other than feeling utterly miserable about everyone leaving the second I cut the cake and worried that the other parents think I am a complete idiot, the party went well… Squidge loved it. She loved every single minute (except the bit where I made her cry, obv) and is so excited about her playdates.

Birthday girl

I hope that the mums I suggested playdates to weren’t just being nice because I am SO excited about being able to offer Squidge the company of other children on weekends.

I spent most of last night plotting this post and how I would write it. I wanted to share the funny and sad moments of the party. The fact that I felt like it was a huge flop. The squirly nerves I suffer from whenever I’m in a social situation nowadays (I used to be so comfortable with meeting new people but the coldness of some of the people here has really changed that). And in the end it has, I think, been a bit of a deranged ramble.

Funny moments: Three kids sneaking up on Doctor Who cutout in case he started talking to them, all the kids wanting to go for a wee at the same time and me being the only one who could do it, M arriving in a Doctor Who bowtie (melt).

Sad moments: Child from foster family just left alone and becoming increasingly quiet and withdrawn throughout (I was gutted by how old her eyes looked)

Dark funny moments: Making children cry because I told them they had moved in musical statues. Stand-Offish Mum telling me that her son doesn’t know who Doctor Who is because, “We don’t approve of him”. Oh, well, have a Dalek mask…snort.

Idiot moments: Forgetting the two glasses of iced water for the heavily pregnant mums (gulp), giving Doctor Who stickers to Stand-Offish Mum’s child as compensation for his losing musical statues and then remembering what she said (above).

Happy moments: Looking at my child dancing with her arms outstretched, a huge smile on her face, in complete abandon, inhibitions to the wind. Every last moment of stress gone in that instant.


8 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. CMcKane
    Jul 25, 2010 @ 18:04:17

    Wow! I didn’t know they had so much merch for Doctor Who parties… I’m moving to the UK now 😉

    I think you are incredibly brave to host the party. Not only were these parents strangers to you but you already were nervous about making mommy friends. To me that just shows what an awesome mommy you are and Squidge looks like she had a blast.

    I think giving the crying boy the stickers was the funniest. Wish I could have seen his mother’s face afterwards!

    Visiting from SITS feed 🙂


  2. Tamsin
    Jul 25, 2010 @ 18:36:20

    Oh, thank you, thank you! Your words are a complete balm to my battered soul. His mother’s face was a picture of horror. Needless to say, no playdates arranged there. hahaha.


  3. rainegendron
    Jul 25, 2010 @ 18:49:50

    I can’t really comment on the ins and outs of kid parties as I don’t have any myself. However, I DO think you are the coolest mom to have a Doctor Who themed birthday party. It’s even cuter that your daughter plays “pretend” Doctor Who with her own “raggity doctor” just like Amelia in the show.

    I can just hear the little boy one day when, just like Rory, “you used to make me dress up like him.” Too cute!

    As long as the kids had fun, that’s what matters.


    • Tamsin
      Jul 25, 2010 @ 19:06:02

      Oooh thank you! I totally adore the fact that she’s so into Doctor Who that she plays Amy with her own little doctor. Ha! I laughed my head off at your Rory reference. Genius. And, you’re absolutely right – it’s whether the kids had fun or not that truly matters. A nice slice of perspective there.


  4. Kerry
    Jul 26, 2010 @ 04:29:51

    Bokkie! The party sounds totally divine – and loved your descriptions of the children and their mums.
    I happen to have two of the most gorgeous boys in the history of ever, and they would be available for playdates anytime… you’ve just got to get here, is all… 🙂

    So glad you’re blogging again, it’s fab to catch up with all that you’re up to, and to see pics of your beautiful daughter!


    • Tamsin
      Jul 26, 2010 @ 06:05:07

      Aaaah, bokkie! Thank you for visiting. Yes, it is going to be hard for Squidge to choose between your two for future husband (grin).


  5. SuzRocks
    Jul 26, 2010 @ 17:57:15

    Apparently I’m going to have to google Dr. Who- you think being a nurse and all, I’d know who he is. Your daughter is absolutely adorable! And if she had fun, that’s all that matters. I totally would’ve had fun- you said you served cake, right?


  6. zeemaid
    Jul 27, 2010 @ 21:43:47

    Wow, what a tremendous effort you went to for your gal. I think it sounds like you did a great job. I wouldn’t worry about what the mums thought. Everybody is different and not all parents are going to click. It’s hard making new friends among the mom groups.

    I also learned the hard way that doing things like musical chairs is not a great idea. There is always going to be a sensitive child in the group. Better off just planning fun things to do instead of making them contests. The plus is you don’t have to give out prizes. 🙂


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: