I was warned, way back in the very early stages of pregnancy, about just how competitive the birthday party scene is in parent-land.
So far it's been fine. We had a nice tea-party at home for Gertie's first birthday; more adults than children, more wine than squash. Perfect.
Birthday number two took place at the local farm park; a few friends and family and my mother, who works there, to help organise.
The third birthday was the most ambitious: We had a bouncy castle in the garden. It was great, because all I had to do was simply supply a bit of party food and watch the little people bounce. The sun was shining, but not so much that I had to worry about continually slathering on sun-cream, and nobody got bounced on. It was easy, and I didn't have to organise any games or prizes or anything.
However, the stakes have been raised somewhat, and we've now reached a bit of an impasse over Gertie's fourth birthday party. It's not until May, but I thought that now might be the time to get the plans made and do any organisation that might be required. The trouble is this. We had Abigail's party where there was a professional party-planner sorting out all the entertainment; Cameron's birthday party where there was a 'pirates and mermaids' theme; Sophie's at the village hall where there was a dressed-up Peppa Pig, and Adam's is next week and it's some kind of Toy Story 3 extravaganza.
So we began the discussions. They went something along these lines:
"What would you like to do for your birthday? Shall we have another party in the garden, or go back to the farm? (positively, head nodding in the hope of eliciting an affirmative response.)
"No." (Firmly) "I'd like to go to the North Pole."
"Um. Well that would be a little cold for everyone."
"That's ok. We just need to all wrap up warm. Like we did when it was snowing."
"And make sure that we're all wearing our hats and scarves and gloves."
(I can't really argue with the logic, and have a slight feeling of being 'hoisted by my own petard' but have another idea to attempt to dampen the enthusiasm.) "But it's a very long way away for everyone to travel..."
(Looking at me as though I am stupid) "We can get on an ae-ro-plane." (This is very deliberately in three syllables, as though to spell it out to the senile mother who can't quite keep up with the conversation.) We'll all fly there."
"Oh. Will we?
"Yes." (Abrupt shift in the direction of the conversation to allow no room for negotiation.) "Now. I've done some invitations already."
So. There we are. I am apparently flying fifteen-odd pre-schoolers to the Arctic for a fourth birthday party. I wonder if that's all-inclusive?