It seems that people read my blog. A few murmurings recently have indicated that not only is this the case but that it has been noticed that I haven’t posted for a while.
It was all going so well, I had lots of things that I felt warranted some air time and just about enough time between batch cooking bolognaise and wiping snot to jot these ideas down (on the internet, as it turns out). Then, boom, Max stopped napping. We went from daily two-hourly loafings in bed to nothing. Just like that. No warning, no gradual decline of the nap. Hero to zero in 24 hours. So now we have two hours a day extra of reading Mog’s ABC and trying to fathom what ‘craft’ to do with lolly sticks and pipe cleaners. And two hours less to clear up ten thousand miniature dinosaurs, cook something relatively nutritious for dinner and, yes, blog about our escapades.
And if anyone has successfully managed to enforce ‘quiet time’, tips very much wanted here please.
So, anyway, I have managed to find some time (it’s 7am on a Sunday morning) and I’m back with tales of Max’s third birthday party, which happened yesterday.
Now before you go thinking I’m some kind of Pinterest mom, it took all the strength I could muster to not try to fob him off, party-less, like I did last year (poor boy didn’t even get a cake). But, I thought I should take advantage of having a summer-born child and aim for a garden-based party for a few of his friends. I kept the number of invitees right down; we live in London, so naturally our garden is typical postage-stamp size. Plus, he was turning three, I figured I have years ahead of me of having to invite the whole class or whatever the current etiquette is.
Having a theme somehow made the party-planning seem a lot easier, so, racking my brains for all of 30 seconds, I came up with the Bear Hunt idea. It’s one of Max’s favourite books and it seemed like a fun (and, moreover, easy) idea to organise.
I honestly don’t know what we did before Amazon. Probably we didn’t spend a month’s salary on shit that somehow seemed necessary in order for 8 three year olds to enjoy their two hours chez nous.
But after just a few easy clicks, we ended up with a plethora of bear-themed tat. My favourites being the bear paw decals which may in fact become a permanent feature in our hallway and the plastic binoculars which immediately caused Max to cry as he ran eye-first into something whilst looking through them.
After half an hour of hard-core chasing balloons around our too small living room, I managed to get all kids binoculared-up, sitting on he kitchen floor ready to start the bear hunt. Almost from nowhere my teacher skills re-emerged. I have no idea how I can be so incapable of getting my own children to do anything I want them to, yet faced with a group of pre-schoolers, any command I issue is followed without a blink.
As the inrepid bear hunters we are, we swished through the long, wavy grass (crepe paper stapled to elastic and stretched between two garden chairs); splashed through the deep cold river (paddling pool); squelched through the thick oozy mud (some soil, in a washing up bowl, my child, naturally, leading the way stepping into it); stumbled through the big dark forest (a play tunnel with some plants at the entrance); the swirling whirling snowstorm (trusty bubble machine) and tiptoed into the narrow gloomy cave (play tent decorated in brown crepe paper with trusty ‘Big Ted’ holding fort within). Those (mainly dads) taking shelter from the weirdness going on outside were slightly bemused as the party ran into the living room and leapt under the duvet (although it did clear up the question as to why there was a duvet on the sofa in the first place).
So, the most basic, simple props and the kids seemed to love it (as did I). We picnicked with our teddy bears outside on rugs. Fortunately (and it was touch and go) the weather held long enough to take the mealtime carnage outside and we ate/trod crisps into picnic blankets while our cling-film flew around the garden threatening the wildlife of South East London. I made each child a bear bag and filled it with sandwiches (mostly uneaten), a tub of grapes (not even looked at in nearly all cases), a juice box, pom bears and barney bear biscuits.
Luckily Sainsbury’s do a bear birthday cake which was a stroke of luck. I am not a baker, and I wasn’t going to teach (embarrass) myself by making a bear for my first birthday cake effort. Moreover, the boy doesn’t like cake. We had to have one for the obligatory candle-blowing-out but I felt I could get away with a shop-bought short cut since he wasn’t even going to eat any.
And there we have it. Two hours of bear and bubbles fun, sugared up kids (two of whom got drenched in the paddling pool, one being my own baby) and only one unclaimed bear at the end of it all.