It was my grandson Jack’s fifth birthday party at the weekend and I made a very bold, and in retrospect, very stupid offer.
I said to Emma she could use my house as the party venue.
It was only 12 children from his nursery class I thought - what is the worst that could happen?
Emma’s house is a new build and all the rooms are tiny and taken over by the mountain of toys the kids own while my house is a 1960s semi with plenty of space, so it made sense.
We agreed the little cherubs could come over at noon for two hours of party games, junk food and terrible chart music.
Preparing for the party turned into a military operation. I have to ensure I had enough Party Rings and Quavers laid out in bowls for their arrival and baking trays prepped with chicken nuggets and potato waffles to shove in the oven when the snacks ran out.
But then little Amelia is a vegetarian and couldn’t possibly only have the waffles so I had to get in veggie chicken nuggets – yes, such a thing exists – and another of the wee darlings has a gluten free diet and I had to source additional gluten free chicken nuggets – yes, they also exist.
The fake chicken nuggets and the gluten free chicken nuggets couldn’t touch each other, or the standard variety, or they would be contaminated which caused me all kinds of stress.
And that was before the children even arrived.
At noon the kids started to arrive, and to my horror, most of the parents made a sharp exit once Lucas, Lewis and Lucy were safely inside. It left Emma, one parent and I to deal with 12 tiny tearaways.
All ideas of party games were abandoned after a particularly violently pass the parcel and we just left the children to run around to music while they consumed a frightening amount of junk food,
Of course, once the meals came out the oven, no one was hungry and instead the nuggets I had stressed over were thrown around and the tomato ketchup smeared on my cream carpet.
Two hours felt like two days but eventually the parents returned and collected their offspring leaving me with just five hours of cleaning up.
I certainly earned my extra large glass of wine that night. And Emma and I agreed, next year the party will be at soft play.