Saturday, 8 August 2009

Party preparations

So I think amidst my blogging breakdown (and slight pom pom obsession) I may have forgotten to mention that it's Renée's fifth birthday party tomorrow (which could trigger a real breakdown rather than a mere virtual one...we shall see). She won't actually be five until the end of next week, but what with husband being away on a surf road trip (thinly disguised as a week's work), we've had to bring the party forward. Call me naive, but I decided to invite her whole class of 30, not wanting to exclude anyone and also, hoping that as it's the Summer holidays, most people will be away and only half of those invited will be around.

Trust me to have picked the one weekend when everyone is at home. Well, 25 out of the 30 anyway.

So this morning, in a mild state of panic at the prospect of having to entertain 25 five-year-olds inside my own home, I decided to stock up on party paraphenalia from an out-of-town Supermarket which I've never actually been to, but which I've heard sells not only food and drink but all manner of bits and pieces needed for party games too - sacks for sack races, plastic eggs and spoons, bean bags, bunting. You name it.

The thing is, there's nothing worse than visiting a Supermarket you've never been to, when (a) you're in a hurry, (b) you have an unbelievably enormous amount of items to buy and (c) you have a small child with you who's favourite words are 'I want', followed by everything in the store.

It really isn't all that pleasant.

Add to that the fact that it was a very warm Saturday morning and every other Mother and their screaming child had decided to shop at that precise moment and you can just about imagine the tranquility of the scene.

And this is where I revert to the present tense, just to get you in the mood.

The whining cries of 'I want' are emanating from all four corners of the shop. Everywhere I turn there is a red-faced toddler in the middle of the worst tantrum of their life, and an equally red-faced parent wishing they were anywhere but here, and I CAN NOT, for the life of me, locate one item that I have come in for.

My urge, of course, is to turn around and drive straight back to the comfort of my home, but I am a Mother and I have a Mother's responsibility to throw a fantastic birthday party and I can't succeed in doing that without my sacks and plastic eggs.

So instead, I walk from aisle to aisle, scanning every shelf for at least one item that I can cross off my rather lengthy list, swearing to myself never to set foot inside this hideous place again and soldier on. A toddler in the sweetie aisle has just thrown themselves on the floor in front of me, so I hastily back away, narrowly missing the teetering jelly beans with the edge of my trolley.
And that's when I hear a child being told off by a voice full of hatred and malice. I wonder what this poor little monkey has done to warrant such a verbal battering.

'Get out of my way. Pesky child'.

I turn round expecting to see a small toddler cowering under the onslaught, but instead there's a rather elderly-looking woman in some sort of motorised transport and she's looking straight at me, almost frothing at the mouth with distaste.

'You're in my way, you menace. Move. Can't you walk in a straight line?'

I look around and around and then I realise that it must be me she's talking to.

'Erm, obviously no I can't you bloody old woman', I want to shout. 'I have no idea where I am, what I'm doing here and I wish I'd never come, but thanks for making me feel even better about myself. Now toddle off and leave me alone before I really give you something to moan about.'

Of course I don't actually say that. She does look rather old. And she's probably infirm.

So I just stare incredulously at her, take a deep breath in and continue on my way. As does she, muttering under her breath as she goes.

Should I have been flattered that she had referred to me as a child? Stupidly I felt quite shaken by the whole affair. Violated even. But if that's what I have to go through for my children, then so be it.

Wish me luck for the party. I think I may need it...


  1. How rude! Was she a baddy from Scooby Doo? (Pesky kids).
    GOOD LUCK for the party!
    And Happy Birthday Renée x

  2. Happy birthday Renee!

    Good luck with the party. And if it all gets too much for you, pour yourself a stiff drink and hide in the wardrobe. Hope it goes well though!

  3. Good luck! Just think - even though it will be really hard, at least you will get a good blog post out of it.

  4. Oh good luck darling. I'm sure it will be wondrous. Just turf then all out into the garden with said sacks and plastic eggs - they'll work it out. One word of advice - only serve the ubiquitous high-sugar snacks, chocolate and fizzy drinks just before the party ends so that the parents, rather than you, have to deal with the fall out of multiple hyperactive 5 year olds...Xxxx

  5. Don't you just love old people!
    Hope the party goes really well....did you invite the old woman, she could have kept the kids entertained!

  6. Old people think they own the bloody world! At least the hoodies of the world have some of luck with you huge challenge, don't worry too much about the other kids,just make sure Renee has a fab time:-)

  7. Well it just goes to show that there is a hell and you were definitely in it. I do not envy you in the least - and am equally starting to question your sanity in even attempting such a venture...what were you thinking?? A sure sign of madness in the extreme. It is why these overpriced internet party stores were invented surely - to ensure that you are a mother who only reads about this type of torture and never has to actually experience it first hand.

    As for the old lady, I am quite frankly speechless. Next time surreptitiously spill olive oil (it doesn't have to be extra virgin) along the next aisle she is heading towards and watch her careen out of control into a stack of tinned tomatoes (if you are feeling especially gracious I guess you could ensure it was the toilet roll aisle).

    ps. loved your previous post about people nagging you to update. So funny. And don't get me started on the pom-poms...

  8. Good luck! And, also, are you completely stark-raving bonkers? I was stressed with four children (and the potential for six) at Rosemary's birthday. I cannot imagine ever being able to deal with a 'proper' birthday party.

    It's funny how some people feel that, as they get older, they suddenly develop the right to be rude and jump queues and so on. And the right to generalise about the terrible behaviour of the youth of today! That said, I've also met some absolutely amazing, randomly lovely and generous older people, so am very wary to generalise myself about the older generations.

    Rosemary quite often comes out with the phrase 'Naughty teenagers', which I can only imagine is coming from my mum. Every time she says it, I reiterate that no age group is all naughty or all good or all anything. But she still comes out with it. Must have a word with my mum about that - and a gazillion other things!

    Happy Birthday Renée! Have a wonderfully happy party and lovely day on the actual birthday. What a big girl.

  9. what a rude old bint!! I would have given her a mouthfull you are so much more controlled than me lol! Good luck with the 25children you've got coming!! You are very brave! have fun and stay away from any more old ladies xxxx

  10. i'll be an old lady one day, probably sooner rather than later. so look on the bright side. at least she gave some warning there and didn't attempt to mow everyone down from a seated position on a zipalong buggy. when we all get one, that's going to be very tempting to do, don't you think? happy partying!

  11. Hope that party went well. What we suffer through for the pleasure of our little babies, eh!?

  12. Sorry I'm catching up on all my daily blogs, so a very Happy Belated Birthday to Renée!! Hope she had a wonderful party?? Oh and I'm loving those pom poms ;)

  13. Hope it all went well. You must be exhausted today.

    Why do some people (young and old) think they have the right to be rude to people?

  14. Okay, a) you invited the WHOLE class? and b) you're having the party IN YOUR HOME? Did you not read my posts about fifth birthday parties? I wish you good luck, a crate of valium and a good bottle of red once they've all gone home. Good luck, my friend!

  15. Sandy - 'Pesky kids' - I knew it rang a bell somewhere...! Yes, maybe she's a secret Scooby Doo watcher. Old bag... Anyway, party was FAB. Everyone happy.. Thanks!

    notSupermum - Thanks honey. Would have loved a drink before and during the party, but I saved it for afterwards instead! It was unbelieveably brilliant (thanks in no small part to the weather).

    Mwa - D'you know what - it's really strange but sometimes the most exciting events give you the worst blog posts. And the little odd moments that hardly even figure make the best stories. Party was amazing, but don't even know if I'm going to blog about it...We'll see...

    Mamma Po - I did axactly as you said darling - and it went like a dream. Weather was amazing - thought there may be a few cases of heat stroke, but luckily we were spared. All sweeties saved for the end and everyone was happy!! Think I may become a children's entertainer now!

    magnumlady - Now that's a thought - yes, they could have thrown custard pies at her or wet soapy sponges or something!! But no, sadly she didn't make the invite list. Strange lady - She thought I was an out of control youth zig-zagging all over the aisles. I think she may need glasses...

  16. allgrownup - I know - she really was unbelievably rude. I was so shocked. Took me a whole day to get over it! Party was fab thanks - exhausting, obviously, but great. Renée had the best time and I think all the other kiddies did too...phew!

    Nicola - Love your comments - I know - I have absolutely no idea what I was thinking - it was a total moment of madness sending out the invitations and I did it in a rush because it was the end of school term and they needed to go out...I should have thought about it a bit longer. Having said all of that, unbelievably it was fantastically successful...just call me children's party entertainer supreme!! You may be able to hire me if the price is right!!

    And as for the old bag - there will not be a next time because I will never ever go to that supermarket again - it was way too big for me and it would take me at least 10 more visits to work out where anything that's that. Although, yes, definitely an aisle with cans in I think...

    And as for the pom poms - now don't get me started either. I hate to admit this because I am, quite franly, devastated, but Renée has now admitted that she doesn't actually like the pom pom that I spent all bleeding day making. I sigh at the ungratefulness of children. Can't help but still love her though - I think that's what they call unconditional love - there's a thought. Might write a blog post about it...

    Tasha - I know - I really think I may have had a moment of madness when sending out the invitations - the true horror of the situation only ocurred to me whilst I was walking round the supermarket. BUT, but, went amazingly well. All kiddies very happy and I am now working my way through left-over birthday cake so I'm happy too!

    And old people - yes, I try not to generalise either - but this was truly shocking - I actually think I was shocked speechless - I just couldn't think of anything to say because I couldn't believe she was speaking to me. Odd woman...scary though that she was able to generalise about the youth of today - including me as one. How wrong was she?!!

    Amy - I know - so unbelievably rude. I think I was more shocked than controlled which is why I couldn't say anything - I kind of just stood there staring at her thiking that she must have made a mistake...surely no one could shout at little old me??? Stupid old bag...

  17. Grit - Oh darling - you do always make me laugh. Yes indeed - I guess I should have been grateful that she didn't mow me down - I think by the time I'm that old I will have amassed so many desires to do things to people that I may have to stay inside...

    White Ocre - Party was great thanks - really very good and amazingly fun (even for me)!! And I know - the lengths we go to to make our children happy - it really is mind-boggling!

    Chinese symbols - Yes indeed - my thoughts exactly - and if only my keyboard had access to the right alphabet I could tell you that in Mandarin...

    Liz - It's ok honey - I am way way behind on my reading at the moment - it's impossible to take tme off blogging these days - you miss out on too much. Renée had a great party thanks - it went unbelievably well - thanks in no small part to the weather which was amazing. And we're not speaking about pom poms anymore - Renée admitted that she didn't really like it...I will not cry!

    Maddie - Thanks so much - yes it was fantastic - and I am exhausted today!! I think I need a week off - but alas, no chance! And yes, I have no idea why some people can be so rude - I guess my indecision in the aisles must have really annoyed her!!! My pet hate is rude people - so I think we may have clashed a little!

    WM - I know - I really don't know what I was thinking...I did read your post - and I must have had a moment of madness when I sent out the invitations - in fact I was thinking about you for awhile leading up to the party because I hadn't had RSVP's from a few people - and I remember your frustrations. The annoying thing is that it was the Summer holidays and I didn't have everyone's numbers so I had no way of contacting them... Too annoying! But party was great - weather helped a lot - we just did races in the garden, etc. Want to do it all over again now (NOT)!! xx

  18. Sounds like my idea of the 7th circle of hell. I'd've probably had a breakdown LOL!

    Hope the party goes well after your efforts!

  19. hmmm what an odd little lady. I don't know if i could have bitten my tongue like you!

    Best of luck with the party!

  20. Oh dear what a hell of a day! And you've still got to throw a party for 30 kids the day after - how you didn't just run off and hide i don't know! Your house must be HUGE if you were even to contemplate entertaining a whole class full of hyper five year olds - your nuts!
    Hope it all went well, we too did Mimi's party a few weeks early to ensure none of her school friends forgot all about it - she turns a big five on sunday! I can't believe my baby is half a decade old, where does the time go? Happy birthday Renee x

  21. How bizarre! Mind you I am looking forward to being old and very rude myself, must be liberating! Happy birthday to Renee

  22. I think this episode could be called, "Party by Misadventure," or "Misadventure by Party," or something like that.

    Congratulations on surviving both a daunting undertaking and an incredibly rude individual!

    Next time we have a party, I'll hire you as the planner.

  23. Insomniac - I know, I know - what on earth was I thinking?? Thakfully it turned out fine... more than fine in fact. Thanks to the weather we all stayed in the garden and played games. It was perfect. Something small next year though I think!

    OP - Totally odd - I think the only reason I didn't say something was because I was so shocked and she whizzed straight past me before I managed to regain my composure. But party went well - she was the worst thing about it!

    WoB - I know - can't believe 5 years has passed in a flash...happy birthday to your Mimi. What a big girl too! PS - house not huge - just hoping and praying the weather was good so we could have it in the garden...and it was - not sure what we would have done if it had rained. Didn't have a plan B!!

    dd - Yep, when you're that old and miserable you have to find something to get your adrenalin going - who knows what we'll be like!!

    Rob-bear - Yep - I'm liking those - much better titles than mine. Think I will consult you in the future... Very odd woman - am still in a state of shock wondering if I dreamt it...but maybe she'd had a bad day!!

    Yep, party planner extraordinaire - that's me!! But next time I think I'll organise something a bit smaller!

  24. OMG what a mean old tart. I don't know what I'd have done. Quite possibly the same as you hon, but if I was having one of those days I might have said something else. Tsk.

  25. Jo - I wish I had said something else - anything else...but I was just so shocked. But what could I have said though? She was probably deaf and she was scooting off and I would have been calling after her - it would have been far more of a spectacle for no real gain. But yes, silly old, very strange boot.