Post traumatic pass the parcel stress disorder

Last year there was a poo on my daughter’s bedroom floor, this time it was vomit on the living room rug. These things might pass without remark at a first birthday party, where a nappy leak or a baby’s milky sick are to be expected, but my boy had four candles on his cake on Saturday. He’s a big boy now, and so are his friends, which made for a sizeable clean up operation; with an eventual decision to buy a new rug.

My friend Anne pointed out, “Louis isn’t very good with spinning,” just seconds before the carpet was decorated with regurgitated party rings and cheese straws.

I wanted to ask why Louis  allowed himself to be pushed into a stomach spinning frenzy on our Ikea swivel if he’s, “not good with spinning.”

Instead I went to look for the carpet shampoo. I value my friendships, even when my friend’s kids don’t value my floor coverings.

It was still a good party. I belive that birthday milestones should be celebrated by parents as well as children. After all child rearing goes unrewarded most of the year – so why not celebrate parental efforts on anniversary days?I feel like I’ve worked harder to bring my kids up, than they’ve worked to be brought up. All they have to do is play and stuff,  if I listed everything I’ve had to do this would be a very long blog post.

So while the kids got stuck into sausages on sticks and drank orange squash, I was chatting to my friends and handing out beers and glasses of fizzy wine. So far these joint grown-ups/kids celebrations have worked well. I’m lucky enough to have mum-friends who like it this way, and my boy hasn’t  yet noticed that I control his guest list.

I guess these boozy relaxed kids parties won’t last, by next year we’ll have reached the stage where  parents see a party invitation and chuckle with joy at the thought of  three hours of free babysitting.

I already notice the changes. This was the first year where I’ve been busy organising party games and activities. It was fun, even if I have revised my opinion of pass the parcel.  Isn’t pass the parcel the cruellest of all party games? It seems designed to turn sharing and patience into toddler extreme  sport. The challenge seems to be to test the mettle of the weaker kids, to see if they break down into materialistic monsters. It involves taunting children with gifts presented, then taken away, until they cry, and the music stops, and you give them stuff. If they take this as any kind of life lesson we’re all doomed.

Another party activity involved icing that’s  like play dough. I thought kids could model flowers or animals and decorate a cup cake each. Instead they plonked fat random wodges of icing on the cakes, and demanded that I mould yellow rubber ducks for them. These yellow ducks would each have eye colours to reflect the child’s favourite colour. At first I was flattered that they liked my yellow icing ducks, but by the time I  made the tenth duck it was unrecognisable as a water fowl, and I  got snappy if they wanted any eyes at all.

While I was model making I would look out of the window and see my friends in the sun drinking wine. But of course I was enjoying time with my boy and the other young party goers, and all our new friends in the duck family.

I was back at work  today, feeling shortchanged on the weekend. Although my boy’s party had been good I had spent most of Friday  and Saturday shopping, cooking, cleaning, duck-making, wrapping ten layers of pass the parcel, and soothing ten kids suffering from pass the parcel disappointment. I wonder whether this might  be some new syndrome? Post traumatic pass the parcel stress disorder..? I think I’ve got that.

Monday was my work anniversary, although it’s not  usually an occassion I celebrate. I  work at PokerStars and on the 12th of September 2001 I signed up to play poker, little knowing it would end with it paying my mortgage and giving me bundles of career satisfaction.

My work day anniversary was easier than my son turning four. I sat at my desk and got busy with stuff that made sense and caused no tears, and there was no poo or vomit or chaos,  and I wondered what my boy was doing at the childminders. My boy was four years old and four days and I was missing his special day, well isn’t every day special when you’re four?

I do love my job and I have to work, but sometimes I miss being a full time mum. Like most modern parents (and pass the parcel players) I wish that I could have it all.

Still, I could celebrate my boy’s four year and four days special day when he came home. I could make yellow ducks. Or any other animal on request.  I wouldn’t even mind if he told me his favourite colour was rainbow.


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