Party Planning, Or: Surviving Primary School Politics

Izzy will soon be 6. This is wonderful, she’s excited and it means I have managed to keep her alive for much longer than many people thought I would (to quote one of my dearest friends, Mr Smiley, upon discovering I was with child “Ha! Blondie, you have the maternal instinct of a breeze block”).

The downside to having school age children who are excited about an upcoming birthday is the party. Who to invite, what to do, food to serve.

I know I’ll be frowned upon by some for my belief that party food should under no circumstances include anything healthy. To my critics I say – suck it up! It’s a party, eat pastry and processed meat and white bread and things on sticks and ‘crisps’ that are some sort of maize and loads of cake and sweet treats. It’s meant to be fun. If my beloved Auntie Ann is reading this she will be screaming at the screen and probably ringing me to complain, I usually buy her a little bag of salad to keep her happy. She accepts that she’s in the minority at our family parties.

My main issue with parties is who to invite. I know this to be true for a lot of parents. Mums at the school gate discuss plans in hushed tones so that the parents of the uninvited don’t overhear arrangements, they apologise if you get wind of an event your child hasn’t been invited to, they have pre-prepared excuses or just avoid eye contact. To be honest I’m not that bothered. The idea of a whole class party scares me and since Iz moved into year 1 and is in a big new class with different kids that I don’t know, I guess I’ll just let her choose her own guests. It’s her party!

This got me thinking about her party last year. She chose 10 friends from school and we decorated cupcakes 😀

It began as one of those things that seems like a great idea and too late I realised that 15 kids aged 5 and under decorating cupcakes was probably going to be chaos. It ended up being a pleasant surprise and a massive success. And a little bit chaotic.

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Obviously, the cake was going to be a big deal. Princess Isobel wanted a castle. Only complaint was that there was no fairy princess on it, not a bad response from my most harsh critic.

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I was suitably impressed that all the Mums and Dads got involved (some of them seemed to be having a little bit too much fun, possibly sneaking too many sprinkles….) I just got loads of cans of icing, loads of sprinkles etc in glass sweet shop jars, coloured fondant with mini rolling pins and cutters and threw it all on tables with vanilla cupcakes. I made each child a little icing plaque with their name on and they had 4 cakes they could decorate and box to take home 🙂

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I did spend ages making tissue paper pom-poms and gathering interesting cake decorations together but in the end it was worth it. I really did need help from my Mum, Auntie and cousins though, there was a lot of arranging and helping children with icing and tea making and brushing up! Everyone had fun and one of the Mums from school even mentioned it to me this week and asked if I was doing the same this year. Sorry to disappoint but, no, I have asked The Princess and she wants a dinner party! They grow up so fast…..

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