I’m glad that my kids are so young they don’t realise how totally unorganised I am when it comes to their birthday parties. The first one I ever held no-one ate my homemade cupcakes as they looked liked something my one year old had made himself (the words of a dear friend of mine)! One party I did at home I had nothing planned because I simply assumed that the kids would round like lunatics (as normal) in their superhero costumes…ermmm ten minutes in and they were reading books in the bedroom and sitting playing quietly, I kid you not it was not at all what I expected, although the parents loved it.
J was five in March and we had a small party for him in a church hall nearby. We kept the numbers fairly low (as opposed to inviting the whole class of 30) and booked an entertainer. Mr Pineapple Head had been recommended by so many parents in Brighton (they enjoyed him as much as the kids) and he really lived up to our expectations. He laid the room out so that all the kids sat on the floor in a semi circle and then the adults behind on chairs. He captured their attention so quickly and they were quiet throughout; simply mesmerised by his traditional jokes, slapstick humour and amazing bubbles.
The show went on for about 45 minutes and after this the children sat down to a birthday lunch. One mum kept pointing out to me that there weren’t enough plates and cups. I had only catered for the children invited and not their siblings (even though I knew they were coming). I was pretty chilled out about it as there was tons of crockery in the church kitchen but I did feel a little like I was being judged for my poor organisational skills.
Anyway, so far so good…. kind of. D made a grand entrance with the cake that had these fountain sparklers on I had bought from Paperchase. I had seen one at a party a few weeks before and thought it brightened up an otherwise ordinary looking chocolate cake. The thing was; D in true style put all three fountains on the cake and lit them. The second he opened the door from the kitchen to enter the hall the fire alarms went off. We all laughed a lot initially but then realised there was an hour to go with the party. The problem we had was that we couldn’t turn the alarm off and it was very very loud. Someone called the church warden who was on answer machine, so they then called the vicar at home who kindly came down to help us. D in the meantime had grabbed some tools from the back of the van and dismantled the alarm to dull the sound of the bell.
The vicar arrived and I played down the “candles” on the cake claiming I had no idea why the smoke alarm had gone off, worried I would be fined, especially when the fire brigade arrived….
The kids thought it was fantastic and literally chucked the pass the parcel that we were trying to play with them, even though no-one could hear the music through the fire alarm. The vicar not only made the fire fighters pose for photos with the kids but he made them sing happy birthday to J. They looked slightly mortified but, hey who can argue with a vicar?
We had nearly aborted the party when the alarm hadn’t stopped but in the end it turned round to be one we will all remember and J was so pleased with it all. What was the best bit for him? The fire fighters singing to him; no need for an entertainer next year then. The worst bit; in all the rush and panic I hacked up the cake to put in the party bags (which I didn’t have enough of) and forgot to keep a piece for the birthday boy…oops.