It was Baby Girl’s birthday party today. We weren’t going to do one for her, but I panic booked the village hall three weeks ago in a fit of mum guilt and there we go – party on the horizon, no time to plan it but it was happening. End of.
This party is the third we’ve thrown in the same village hall. And it couldn’t have been more different to the very first party we had in that village hall just over two years ago. That party was the first one I’d ever put on of that kind – Frog’s fourth birthday party, a rainbow themed event. It might not have been meticulously planned down to every detail, but it made me realise that things don’t have to be Pinterest perfect to be perfect. Indeed, take Pinterest out of the equation and sometimes you get a higher level of perfection.
Baby Girl’s party had no entertainer, no homemade decorations, no colour co-ordinated food or specially prepared bunting. It was full of balloons and snacks bought in haste from Home Bargains. The party bags were generic plastic ones, full of generic plastic tat (sorry to anyone who ended up with a whistle – pot luck for parents, that one). There were a few grapes and cut up bits of token cucumber, but the main event was the non-Instagrammable birthday cake and the Party Rings. This was certainly not worthy of a styled up birthday Pinterest post.
But you know what? It was perfect.
Know what you need to throw the ideal kids’ party? Willing friends, a few toys, a wide open space for them to run around in and music. And perhaps a chocolate cake and a few sandwiches. That is literally it. You don’t need colour-co-ordinated party decorations – toddlers don’t give a crap about that stuff. You don’t need a styled up party table or an expensive party entertainer. You don’t need themed food or a cake that you stayed up til 1am to bake.
At Frog’s first village hall party I stayed up til gone midnight making the Pinterest-perfect rainbow layer cake. I spent weeks fretting over party decorations and ended up making a load of my own. I got up at 6am on the day of event to make homemade pizza and decorate said pizza in a rainbow theme because someone on Pinterest suggested this was a “must” for a successful party.
I wish I’d saved myself the hassle. Frog enjoyed that party but her happiness wasn’t heightened by the pretty food or homemade decorations. All she cared about was the cake (and, to be honest, she probably would have preferred a chocolate one I bought from Tesco) and the fact her mates were there. Which is exactly all Baby Girl was bothered about today.
Life isn’t Pinterest. Half the time we get in a state about organising a kids’ party to Instagram perfection it’s because we a) want to impress the other parents b) want to impress our Instagram followers c) we want to prove a point to ourselves. Is it because we think our kids will have a better time with artfully decorated fairy cakes over Party Rings bought from Home Bargains? No. At least, not in my case.
Please remind me of this next year when I inevitably worry over Baby Girl’s third birthday party.
PS. Prosecco for the parents is always a good idea.