Modern parents think that parties are all about the venue - that they have to hire an auditorium and pay for a professional in a leotard to perform tricks with a spinning ball. Don't fall into this silly trap. It's costly and you're setting yourself up for a fall. If you think meagre at the start, no one will be disappointed.
Take the kids - as many as possible because chaos keeps them occupied - down to the local field with a huge ragged skipping rope (it doesn't have to be ragged, but these things tend to be worn out from overuse - tying the kids to the stairs, hanging them from trees etc.) Order the children to skip, whilst you find a comfortable tree stump to relax on. Don't worry if it's a cold day. The kids will skip faster to keep warm. And you can take a hip flask.
|In the old days, children's parties revolved around|
an old rope and a tree stump
If you get bored watching the rope go round, sneak back home leaving a trail of breadcrumbs for the children to follow. If you're tired, lead the trail to the door of your neighbour and shoot off home for a cuppa. After several hours the parents will arrive to collect their kids, only to find that you don't have any children at your house. You can then ask the neighbour to sort out all the mess whilst you go run a bath.
At this point, I normally find that someone gets testy about the lack of games and party bags to take home. If you feel bad about this, tell the children that the game is to find their treats in the kitchen. Hopefully they'll head for the fruit bowl (seeing as the cupboards are empty) and they'll clear out those rancid satsumas.
Whilst the bath runs, you just have time to whip out the homemade cake and slice it. Surprised? Did you think that baking was the domain of the pushy parent? Is it heck. Pushy parents wouldn't risk some hellish psychedelically-iced creation. No. I take a huge pride in producing something on the day that has the children backing away in horror. Then when everyone leaves, I scoff the cake.
Next year when I give the invitations out, everyone will be mysteriously out of the country and unable to attend. So it'll be just me and the kids, and our neon dinosaur cake. Now that's what I call a perfect party.
See you again soon.
Next time at the cushy parent: how to improve your fat child's self-worth by installing funny distorted mirrors around the house to make them look thin, if a little stretched.
Cath Weeks is author of The Mood Ring, available to buy at Amazon.