I realised something this weekend: I am officially a grown-up.
Not a pretend one, who goes to work and attempts adult responsibilities like paying bills. But an actual real grown-up.
It was during Frog’s 1st birthday party that this realisation dawned on me. After spending the previous 24 hours baking and cooking and blowing up balloons and making party bags, I was (rather unsurprisingly, I think) gagging for a drink. A grown-up drink.
But as the first guests started pouring into the garden my raging thirst for wine began to disappear. I was busy, you see. For the first time in my life I had not consumed a bottle of wine before the party had even started. For the first time in my life I actually poured other people’s drinks before my own. My, my, how the tables have turned.
An hour into the party, once the huge piles of nibbles were starting to disappear and the children had all had a go in the paddling pool, my thirst returned. It’s funny how 60 minutes of pouring drinks for others can reignite your own interest in the stuff. But then I did the typically grown-up thing of putting my glass down and forgetting about it. This has NEVER happened before.
By the time the last party bag had been handed out and the last cake had been eaten, I had only had about four sips of my white wine spritzer during the entire day. This is very unlike me and I’m more than a little disappointed in myself.
So, in my sober, grown-up state I was in a good position to learn a few things about hosting a 1 year old’s birthday party:
1) Expect nakedness
No amount of pre-party pampering and special birthday party dresses will tempt a 12 month old to keep her clothes on. Especially if a paddling pool is involved.
2) Let them eat cake
You may have cut up an entire cucumber and carrot in the hope that your child will consume at least a few vitamins during her party. But if chocolate cake, cupcakes, jelly and rice crispie nests are doing the rounds, you’re fighting a losing battle. Embrace the sugar rush and admit defeat to the mess.
3) Prepare for Baby Wars
Put two babies next to each other, with a plate of food, a cake and some toys and prepare for battle. Babies are hard. Marvel at their ability to head butt and bite each other in the battle for the cake or the pink sparkly toy. And then marvel at their ability to call peace the next moment and share in the love of said cake.
4) Don’t under-estimate the power of grandparents
Sausage roll baking, potato salad making and BBQ lighting is infinitely easier if you have grandparents on hand to help. They are also pretty handy when it comes to clearing up afterwards.
5) Buy a new fridge for the left-overs
A new fridge (preferably a walk-in one) will be particularly handy when storing the ten tonnes of left-over salad and BBQ meat after the party. Take heart from the fact it is only the 1st birthday party you’ll ever host and by the 18th you may have become better at calculating the amount of food needed for such an event.