Well, my girl is growing up. She got her first invite to a birthday party at nursery school today. In a church hall, so presumably one of these big ones (though, maybe they just have a small house?).
The whole birthday party 'thing' freaks me out. Friends with older children tell me about competitions between mothers over who's going to have the best entertainer, who's going to spend the most money, who's going to have the best hall, who's going to have the fanciest goody bags... And apparently it costs them a fortune in presents for all the parties they have to go to. And, if you do one of these big parties, it costs a fortune. Some people spend a grand, apparently. And even for a fairly low-key one you're talking a few hundred quid.
Is this true? Or is it all just part and parcel of the scare stories people tell you, like the blood and gut stories of giving birth, and the claims of continual sleepless nights for years and years. That last one does seem to have come true for us and, actually, now I think of it, there was a fair bit of blood and guts during R's birth. Damn it. I guess the parties aren't a myth either.
But is it like weddings? The media tells you that the average amount people spend on a wedding is £20,000. But how many people really spend £20,000 on a wedding? It's not necessary. We spent about £1500 on ours and everyone gave us money for the honeymoon, so we maybe spent £200 on it ourselves. And we had a fantastic and very memorable time for both. No-one said 'What an awful wedding, why didn't they spend more money on flowers and fancy cars?' (as far as I know).
When I was kid, we all had birthday parties. They were at the child's home and there was party food, consisting of sandwiches, crisps and pineapple and cheese on sticks, followed by jelly and ice-cream, and slices of cake to take home. There was a party bag, which would have the cake, a balloon and a one of those things you blow and they unfurl and make a noise (what are they called?). And there would be party games. Musical chairs, musical bumps, musical statues, dying flies, sleeping lions (?) and, of course, everyone's favourite - pass the parcel. And that was it. They lasted about an hour and a half. And everyone did the same thing. Surely that will do now? Won't it? Please?!!
So, if we do budget parties is R going to be ostracised, or teased? Will she not be invited to any parties, because we're not reciprocating in the correct way? Or will there actually be plenty of normal (old-fashioned?) parties and nothing to worry about?