kiddies' party time has mum rattled
The party is looming. The invitations have been sent out for my son's third birthday party and just over half of the invitees have replied.
I have no idea whether the others are coming, but I have bought in enough food and drink to feed and water a small army.
The clown has been booked and all the good furniture and china has been locked away safely.
I am praying that the weather will be nice, and that it will not rain, so that at least half the kids can be banished to the garden if needs be. I have also arranged for our rather boisterous dog to be minded by a neighbour in case he gets overcome by excitement and gives one of the tiny partygoers a friendly nip on the leg.
Am I calm?
Am I heck. Some of my friends think I'm stark raving mad to invite 20-odd kids around to mine.
"You should go to a play centre," one insisted. 'Then they can run around all they like and not break anything."
I wish she hadn't said that. Now I have visions of reckless three-year-olds arriving armed with baseball bats so they can smash everything in sight. I am having nightmares about being ganged up on by tiny terrors. I am breaking into a sweat imagining the whole thing.
Then again, why exactly am I worrying? Come on, it's ridiculous! The party is only for two hours. Two hours! And I have friends helping, so it's not like it's going to be me against them, is it? And if the worst comes to the worst I can lock myself away in the bathroom and count the minutes until their parents collect them again. I am joking about that last part, of course. I mean, even I wouldn't do something so cowardly!
I think I could do without all the scaremongering though. I mean, you do hear the worst stories! I remember when I was a teenager hearing about a party where the parents were away and the TV got stolen. But we're not talking about teens here -- just harmless tots. Nonetheless, people are still making me feel nervous.
"My son was at a party last week where all the children were crying," an earnest friend told me. "And one poor little fellow even fell off the climbing frame and broke his leg."
"Yes, the mother had to bring him straight to A&E. It was a disaster!"
Okay, I had factored in slight falls. After all, children of that age do fall as they tumble around but I certainly hadn't been thinking of broken limbs!
I am beginning to have sleepless nights now. I am wondering if I should pretend to have a contagious disease and call the whole thing off.
Then again, why am I fretting so much? I was an air hostess, for goodness' sake! I had to help take a couple of hundred drunks to Ibiza on a Friday night when I worked for an airline. I had to calm down crazy passengers halfway across the Atlantic. I had to cope with people vomiting into sick bags and handing them to me. Surely, if I could do that, I can do absolutely anything.