PARTY ON, PARENTS - IF YOU CAN AFFORD TO PAY FOR IT, THAT IS...
The teacher in my son's school has a rule. She will give out party invitations, but only if the entire class has been invited.
Personally, I think this is a great idea. No child should ever feel left out of a party. Even as adults we don't like to be excluded. I'm sure all of us know that horrible feeling of not be invited to a wedding or significant celebration from somebody whom you considered to be a good friend. It's not nice to be left out at any age. But children feel rejection hugely. They don't understand it.
Parties are expensive to host as every parent knows. Everything from the invitations to the balloons to the food and drink all adds up alarmingly fast. But if you can't afford a party, it's best not to have one at all, or restrict it to family members only so that nobody gets hurt.
Now, my son gets invited to a lot of parties. In fact, he has a far better social life than I have. There are 28 children in his class, so that adds up to a lot of party invites.
Gary's own 6th birthday is in a couple of month's time and I honestly don't know where I could fit everyone in my small apartment. Maybe we will wait until Easter at least and hire a trampoline and hope to God that it doesn't rain.
Children's parties have become a lot more sophisticated than when I was a child. Back in the day, you were content with running around the garden, participating in treasure hunts organised by the party boy or girl's parents or partaking in a dance-off. Games were simple, such as playing 'pass the parcel', 'musical chairs' or sticking a tail on a paper donkey while blindfolded.
But goodness, things have changed an awful lot. Many of the parties are fancy dress so you can either be a princess or a pirate.
Magicians who also face paint and make sausage balloons are also in high demand. I tried to book one last year but he said he'd a two month waiting list and couldn't accommodate me. A two month waiting list? Jeez, I must be in the wrong job, I thought. How do I sign up for the nearest magician course?
It's hard to know what to do when it comes to your child's birthday party . If you hire a party venue with catering they need to know exact numbers and most parents, in my experience, do not RSVP in time. I think it's an Irish thing not to RSVP at all, or else leave it to the very last minute.
If you host a party at home, you worry all the time about vases being knocked over or orange juice being spilled on the good carpet.
There's always at least one child crying and missing their mum, and there's always a near riot at the end when it's going home time and the party bags are being dished out. It's almost easier to host a bash for adults. At least with adults, if you serve enough alcohol, most people are going to enjoy what they remember of the party.
Children are a lot more discerning.
They've got high standards. And nobody parties like a junior infant.