The stresses and successes of our first big birthday party

Months ago, when we asked the boys if they’d like to go to Disneyland or have a party for their birthdays, they made the obvious choice.

We were off to Disneyland.

We got planning, booked the flights and scoured the internet for the best deal on a hotel. It was all set.

But as the weeks passed, filled with friends’ birthday parties, cake and bouncy castles, they started asking about their party.

The party that wasn’t happening…

And so, we were conned into planning a trip to France, as well as a joint third and fifth birthday bash when we got home.

To be completely honest, the trip abroad was far less stressful to organise than the party! Partly because Stew takes great delight in packing and organising passports.

We spent what felt like nights on end looking for bouncy castle companies – specifically for one that offered a disco castle with a slide – debating party bags over sweet cones, and making lists of things we needed to buy.

It was a bit like planning a wedding, when you say the date and are met with an awkward silence as they realise you’re not giving two years’ notice.

After finally booking a hall, we realised the disco bouncy castle was enormously tall and needed a much bigger room. So we were back to square one.

And, after deciding on giving out sweet cones (and buying everything we needed), we realised that party bags with sweets and a superhero mask worked out way cheaper. The masks were amazing, to be fair, and a complete bargain from Amazon.

The man in Morrisons was far from impressed though when I walked up to customer services and asked to return 33 bags of assorted sweets!!!

By the time today came, I was so nervous. The boys were really looking forward to it – it was the first thing both of them mentioned when they woke up – and I didn’t want them to be disappointed.

We’d gone from nine attendees at the end of half term, to 34 confirmed guests. I was worried that nobody would come, that the hall wasn’t big enough if everyone did come, and that the six people who hadn’t replied to the invite would turn up and we wouldn’t have enough party bags or food to go around.

We go to so many parties, and I’d never realised how much planning goes into it!

It was a mad rush to get the hall set up, and I had a minor panic that the table cloths we’d bought didn’t stretch along the five tables we needed to fit everyone in. We were on the verge of a mad dash to Tesco for more, when school friends started to arrive.

That was it, we were thrown into the party, and hoping for the best.

As the hall filled up, I started to relax. The boys were beaming, and their friends all seemed to be having a great time.

Everyone who said they would come did, and I felt lucky that the boys have so many lovely friends.

The disco castle was fab, the cake was better than we could have imagined, and the wiggle we hadn’t even hired were a hit! The biggest boy and his classmates raced around in them for most of the party, and I’ve already had a request for one for Christmas from the littlest boy.

It might just be a birthday party, but for them it was the best afternoon they could have asked for. They didn’t stop for two hours, and when people started to leave, they ran back and fore handing out party bags and thanking them for coming.

An hour making 80 sandwiches was worth it, nobody complained about the table cloth shortage, and the embarrassing Morrisons incident all worked out when everyone left wearing a superhero mask.

We had two tired, but very happy little boys going to bed tonight. One with a rainbow cactus glitter tattoo and festival paint on his cheek, and another who cuddled me in and said thank you for the cake.

I’d call that a success. Until next year, boys!

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