Hi! <Waves>

Funny and honest tales from a made-to-work Dad of three, wobbling, graying, and laughing his way through parenthood. Armed to the teeth with Nerf guns, full of pie, fighting a chocolate addiction, but genuinely honoured to be at least half of Team Parents (yay!).
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16 October 2017

His First Birthday Party Invite...

It was finally BabyBoy3's turn.
He has watched everyone else in the house go off to birthday parties.
And then come back with a bag of goodies and cake.
Finally. BabyBoy3 got his first birthday party invite...

Not that it will be his first party.
BabyBoy3 has been to lots of parties. He's always there for Miss6's and Boy10's parties.
Which he frikkin' loves as he gets to hang out with older children that are very happy to play with him.
And of course BabyBoy3 has been invited to many cousin parties, and close friend's parties.
Nope. This was BabyBoy3's first invite from someone we didn't actually know.
One of his mates.

Mrs. Amazing: 'Who's the invite from then?'
<Adjusts reading distance a bit more than I would like and feels quite old>
It says... Taylor Swift? HUH!
Mrs. Amazing: 'NO!'
That's what it says... Apparently there will be a plane waiting for BabyBoy3 and it will whisk him, and his Dad, off for an amazing two hour party... With Taylor!
Mrs. Amazing: 'What?' <Is not convinced> 'Give me that invite' <Snatches invite>
Mrs. Amazing: <Reads> 'That is not what it says at all...'
<Says nothing>
Mrs. Amazing: 'Right' <Reins in anger> 'In future, when I ask you for information, if we could stick to the truth and not your highly optimistic imagination that would be good'
Mrs. Amazing: <Gives me look>
...
Mrs. Amazing: 'Are you listening to me?'
Shh... Taylor's just asked me karaoke jam with her… <Is miles away, and happy>
<Starts belting out 'Shake It Off', with dance moves>
<Gets clobbered>

It was a good invite too.
Not that there are bad ones. (There are). But the party was totally BabyBoy3's thing. Huge indoor soft play area. Which is always fun.
I love them too. As long as I get to play as well. I've been to two rubbish ones that had big signs up saying 'No adults' which were rubbish. And smelt.
I hear the kids had fun at them. I just had to sit and drink tea. Which is cool, but I can do that at work. What I don't get at work is to dive down slides into ball pits.
This invite was to an adult friendly soft play area.
I BabyBoy3 was pretty excited.

(These tunnels are actually where knees go to die…)

The decision about which Team Parent (yay!) member was to take BabyBoy3.
Was quick and simple. As whilst I like soft play and scrabbling about and stuff.
Mrs. Amazing not so much. I was nominated. And happy to.
However as I said. This was BabyBoy3's first invite. His first nursery mate invite.
Mrs. Amazing, sensibly, had a few goals I should try and achieve.
As the Team Parent (yay!) representative making the first impression ...

Don't get thrown out for making children cry.
Don't get so hot and sweaty you get a headache. You are an adult.
Don't eat so much party food you get sick.
Don't be too weird to start with, not everyone get's your <Air quote open> humour <Air quote close>
Make friends.
And see which Primary school they are going to.

Fine.
The make friends one I was going to do anyway. It's good advice. The parents at the party will be the parents we may eventually be seeing every morning for school drop off.
It's a really good idea to get to know some of them now. Ready.
Maybe organise some play dates. etc...
This is our third rodeo child, and we try to learn our lessons well. Make mates when you can. The school yard can be a battle field, especially even for the adults.
And as for finding out which Primary school they are heading too?
Great idea.

When Boy10 was back at nursery.
He had two lovely mates. The three of them were the best of friends. It was really sweet.
Then they all went to different Primary schools. Which was hard on everyone. Boy10 went from being in a gang of bruisers at nursery. To suddenly being alone. And gangless.
And Team Parent (yay!) suddenly had parent friends that we no longer saw every day.
Which was obvs. not impossible to maintain those relationships.
But sooo much harder.

So ideally.
And I appreciate this may sound a bit cold and calculating. But whatev’s.
We're looking for friends for BabyBoy3 that in twelve months time will be starting school together.
Ideally that rock we like too.

Hi! <Waves>
PotentialParentFriend: 'Hi'
Nice to meet you, fun this party isn't it <Is all hot and sweaty>
PotentialParentFriend: 'Yeah the kids seem to be having fun...'
<Is eating tenth party food sandwich>
Er.. Are you a Star Wars fan?
PotentialParentFriend: 'Yes! Big fan'
Do you like cakes?
PotentialParentFriend: 'Love them!’
Bacon?
PotentialParentFriend: ‘My favorite vegetable’
Haha Will you marry me? ...
Er... What school are you thinking of sending er... thingy... to?
PotentialParentFriend: 'School A...'
Ohh sooo close... Excuse me… <Side steps away>
<Starts talking to next parent>

Anyhoo... the party.

We we're on time.
Mostly. OK we were a little late. I had carefully packed some snacks, Calpol, and most importantly some water for BabyBoy3.
And even better! I had not left the water in the car this time like all the times before!
#Winner.
I'd left it home. Bugger.
But I did have the Calpol which as BabyBoy3 was a bit poorly was needed.
I was also full of cold and had dosed up before coming out. Knowing that I had about a two to three hour window before snot started flying out of my nose again. Which would really hinder the mates making.
Good old disgusting but effective Lemsips.

(I was like this… just less boaty…)

I didn't know anyone there.
Not one adult or child did I recognise (except BabyBoy3 obvs. don't be a smartarse-bottom). But I knew that was the case. I had never actually met any of them before.
Me and BabyBoy3 walked into the party enclosure. Both looking pretty lost and confused.
BabyBoy3 due to his age. Me due to my… ness... <Motions to self>

Luckily.
The Mum of the birthday boy knew what she was doing. And as we walked in she saw us. And introduced herself…

BB3’sMatesMum: 'Hi! Is this BabyBoy3?'
Yes... And you must be the birthday boy's Mum? (Oh do please be...)
BB3’sMatesMum: 'Yes'

We then exchanged adult names (one of us did)...

I am Gryzoor Thwarken-Stein the Typer, third son by birth, as opposed to mail order...
BB3’sMatesMum: <Looks scared> '... er... I'm Karen (Alternative Fake name)... It's nice to meet you... was that Gryzoor?'
<Regrets opening joke> ... er… Gry will do... <Just goes with it>
<Plans not to mention this to Mrs. Amazing>

And then it expanded from there.
It's amazing how quickly people can go from strangers to being enemies people you know.
Just took a bit of courage from me, and them. It was a simple as saying ‘Hello’.
And I resolved the problem of not knowing which child the birthday boy actually was. By just being direct and asking.

... And which is your son... the birthday boy?...
<Guesses and points>
BB3’sMatesMum: 'That's your son...'
Uh huh... <Guesses and points again>
BB3’sMatesMum: 'That's me... It's probably best I just show you...'
<Nods>

It saved a lot of faffing about.
And was only slightly awkward. Having a cold made it easier for some reason.
And it saved me pretending I did know his name, and then singing happy birthday to the wrong child later.
Or during the happy birthday song having to mumble the child’s name as I didn't know it.
But by actually asking. I got the information I needed. Name and facial confirmation.
<Marks childs t-shirt with green marker pen with 'BabyBoy3's mate'>
BabyBoy3 was happy to see his mate too.

And BabyBoy3 had the best time.
Once he stopped hanging onto my leg. He even ditched me a few times. Which was weird.
Boy10 or Miss6 at that age wouldn't have let me out of there sight.
BabyBoy3 however is braver than they were and was very happy to head off with his mates on his own (With me watching him like a hawk from a distance). And then lose them in seconds, as they are three and don't pay attention to each other. Hillarious to watch.
He'd find them again sometimes. I had to point a lot other times.
Brilliant.

I met a lot of lovely people.
And their children (who were mostly lovely too). I wrote names and school plans into my phone. So I didn't do my normally trick of getting the info and then not being able to remember it for Mrs. Amazing.
Ironically most of the people I met and liked and could see us being mates with... Were not going to the same school as BabyBoy3. Boo.
Which makes it a bit weird planning to get to know people that’ll only be in our lives for at most a year. But it is what it is.
I shall be all Zen and grown up about it. Ish.
And start spreading nasty rumours about the other schools until they change their minds...

Two hours later the party was over.
I was hot and sweaty and full of party food. I'd been mistaken for the birthday boy's Dad only once. That was fun. And I had managed to consume five cups of tea. Good times.
With my Lemsip starting to fail and BabyBoy3 red cheeked. and starting to look a bit poorly pale. We headed off home.

BabyBoy3 crashed out in his car seat and slept all the way home. Whilst I sneezed all over the inside of the windscreen and failed to hear the SatNav as I was singing, like normal.
BabyBoy3 fell asleep holding onto his party bag.
His trophy of having been to a party.

It was his first thought when we got home.
Where was his party bag? I popped his out of the car and sat him inside the house, on the sofa, with some juice and his party bag. Where he sat playing for ages. Very happy.
Me helping him with the cake.

(There we go BabyBoy3…
I've tested every bit of cake for poison for you...
And it was... safe! You’re welcome...
<Collapses, is fine, but needs a snooze>)

When Boy10 and Miss6 got home later.
The joy BabyBoy3 had in showing them HIS party bag and HIS party toys was immeasurable.
Immeasurable.
Bless 'im.
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