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A Very Peter Pan Birthday

The countdown to May Blossom’s fifth birthday has begun. It is agony for the poor child. Six weeks out she started with, ‘It’s a really long time until my birthday. It’s too long. I don’t think I can wait that long.’ Sorry, my love, birthdays come when they come. And if you think this spring is going slowly, you should have been here five years ago, when the months of September and October took eleven years, I weighed the same as the average delivery of topsoil and the two sides of my pelvis were huffily turning their backs on each other and sidling apart, like siblings refusing to have their heights compared.

Three weeks out she started saying, ‘I don’t want to hear it’s anyone else’s birthday before mine.’ Now we’re down to four days and she is crying each morning because FOR THE LOVE OF PETE WHY ISN’T IT FRIDAY YET? I think the thing she is most looking forward to is breakfast in bed. She’s been begging me for it for months, and I finally capitulated and said that on the morning she turns five I will serve her breakfast in bed. Then I asked what she would like. Leek and potato soup, and baked beans on toast. I can’t think of a worse breakfast to serve in bed. Except maybe fondue, because that’s both messy and flammable.

This year H and I said she could have five friends to her party, plus their siblings. No-one from pre-school, because once you invite one kid from the class the rest get upset, so we just knocked that whole thing on the head. She made a list of her five best mates outside school. Four boys and one girl. Then she looked at her theme, which was going to be princesses and fairies. And she looked at her guest list. Sadly she realised that a lot of her guests wouldn’t be prepared to dress as fairies or princesses. ‘You know what, May Blossom, stuff them,’ I said. ‘You have the theme you want, and they can do what they like.’

But my girl is infinitely wiser and more thoughtful than I am, and realised that instead of having a fairy party where there were only three fairies and the rest came of ninjas and superheroes, Darth Vaders and firemen, she could change the theme to Peter Pan and everyone would find something they liked to dress up as. Both the book and the film of Peter Pan are quite sexist and racist, but it’s a huge improvement on a fairy and princess party so I am embracing it.

May Blossom wants to be Wendy. Being a sensible brunette who wears a rather demure blue nightgown, Wendy costumes are not mass-manufactured in China and available at every discount store in Sydney (unlike that common as muck, tarty, sulky blonde harlot Tinkerbell), so I’ve had a beautiful cotton version made for her by a talented friend. It’s her big present. I hope she loves it as much as I do.

Garnet wants to go as Wendy’s baby brother, Michael, who wears a pale pink onesie, so that’s do-able: I’ll squeeze him back into the size 2 pink Bonds wondersuit he just outgrew.

I suggested maybe I could be Tinkerbell (common tarty sulky fairy doesn’t seem like a stretch for me) but I was told firmly that I was not to be Tink. I am Mrs Darling, who wears a pink ruffled evening gown. So now it’s just a question of which of my many pink ruffled evening gowns I shall choose.

H can’t decide whom he is coming as. I suggested Hook, but he said that buying a pirate costume from the shop up the road for $20 was too much hassle and he though he might like to be the crocodile. He plans to make his costume from egg cartons and green paint. What could possibly go wrong?

For games we will be playing ‘Pin Tinkerbell’s Wand on Tinkerbell’s Hand’, using a bought poster and wand sticker set. There are eight stickers and ten small children so two will miss out, which is always festive.

May Blossom also wants a reprise of ‘What’s The Time, Mr Wolf?’, but with a crocodile instead of a wolf. She wants this because one of her favourite memories is from her third birthday party, which was Peter Rabbit themed. We played ‘What’s The Time, Mr Fox?’ with my brother SuperChief playing the part of the fox, using a hand puppet over his shoulder.

‘What’s the time, Mr Fox?’ chanted the kids.

‘One o’clock,’ shouted the fox. They all took one step forward.

‘What’s the time Mr Fox?’ they said again.

‘Two o’clock!’ Two steps forward.

‘What’s the time, Mr Fox?’ (the suspense was mounting because our garden is very small and they were almost up behind him by this point).

‘DINNER TIME,’ roared SuperChief. As he turned to chase them all away, a small person bumped a table and knocked off a ceramic milk jug. Mr Fox lunged for it, caught it briefly, then fumbled it, sending it flying with some force into the group of three-year-olds. It hit the bricks and exploded. From the kids’ point of view, it seemed like the game had culminated in a man with a fox hand puppet chucking a jug at them, so they all ran shrieking and weeping into their parents’ arms, nursing minor shrapnel wounds, and refused to play the next round.

So I need to lay my hands on a crocodile puppet before the weekend.

We’ll probably do pass the parcel too, though I never know what to put in it. Maybe fish and chips? YES! That would be brilliant. The more layers they unwrap the hotter it will be so they’ll be motivated to keep it moving, and at the end — there’s lunch.

I have got this birthday party business so under control. Oh the cleverness of me!

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