David is a tad miffed – we’re going on 3 March and, because our son is 3 on 1 March, he would no longer qualify to get in for free. As I’ve got a morbid fear of celebrating birthdays before the actual birth date, I win and he’ll pay. He showed great interest in the tank exhibition so I’ve told him he can disappear for a couple of hours to himself. Aren’t I good?
The guest list is full of unseen hiccups and potential all out wars. Family is a must – “I want…..Grannys, Grandads, Auntie Bea, Caitlin and Ian and Uncle Stephen”. I have visions of Bea, on hearing the word “farm”, turning up in full waterproof gear from head to toe. All designer, naturally.
Friends are tricker. His, not ours. Charlie has bitten the bullet and said she’d meet us there with the baby wipes, but Saskia recoiled in horror at the thought of being in close proximity to sheep, chickens and shire horses and preferred to join in the festivities on the Sunday when we’ll be doing civilised things like eating cake and drinking wine. Trudy will be there with knobs on, including the Twins From Hell, Anna and Alice. No, I will not think evil thoughts about five year olds. And then there’s Eliza who will come with Ashley if the former isn’t grunting and groaning in child birth….besides, there’s a warning (!) on the site that panicked her somewhat: N.B Pregnant women are advised not to touch sheep or lambs.
Mackenzie’s friends are legion. There’s the gang from the nursery and the One O’Clock Club Posse. Who to invite? Or rather, who to alienate, for that is what we shall be doing. Best Friend Ben is a dead cert. Ben and Mackenzie were born on the same day in the same hospital and his mother Rosie and I used to share the postnatal weeping, one day on, one day off. Rather like shift work. We were in adjacent beds and her husband, merrily plastered when he arrived for one visiting time hung over my precious baby’s cot and proclaimed “He’s got the look of the McWurthers!”. I hoped not if he was anything to go by – all nasal hair and dandruff. Anyway, Rosie and I remained friends and thankfully so have the boys.
I decided that each adult could cope with two kids each. Trudy could take her girls. So….that’s me, David, Bea (Stephen will have Ian and Caitlin), Charlie and possibly Eliza although, technically, she’ll already have two children. So, four adults equals eight children – six minus Mackenzie and Ben. Six children to invite out of a possible 15. Easy peasy. It was unanimously decided that grannies and grandad’s could be in charge of coats, fetching drinks, working the video camera and panicking when the kids got too close to the llamas.
I voiced this all to David - he hasn’t gone into work today because of the snow and is cluttering up the dining room table. He was fine with the role given to the elders of the family but had a financial query (this is what you get when you marry an accountant) “Who’s actually paying for all of this?” he asked, using the tone of voice he uses when meeting with clients who haven’t kept their books up to date. I ummed and aahed a bit, praised Kenzie for spelling “Granny” with the “y” round the right way and bit on a finger nail. “We can’t ask their parents to pay! For tickets and everything!” I pointed out as David got busy with the calculator and admissions list I’d printed off earlier.
Tch. It’s been agreed. Six children, including Mackenzie and Ben. Hm. I would have argued the point but he peered at me over his glasses and I turned to jelly. I love it when he gets all masterful. Anyway.
Four friends to choose, eleven to cast aside. To soften the blow for Mac, I ventured (in whispered tones so David couldn’t hear) that we all go out one afternoon to McDonalds – asking mums to cough up for a Happy Meal sits easier on my conscience than the full day out with souvenirs at the end of it.
My little boy has a big decision to make – I only hope he’s up to it. His father has taken him off for a “man to man” chat about the financial implications attached to his birthday treat - there’s nothing like spoiling the magic of birthdays is there?