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Children’s Parties for the Back-yardless

May Blossom turned two a couple of weeks ago, which means that she now knows All The Things There Are To Know and All The Words To Everything, and it also means that I have now thrown two kids’ parties and am thus an expert in entertaining for smalls. Here is how to do it:.

Invitations: To get the numbers up, it’s useful invite people to your party. I used Paperless Post for electronic invitations. It is simple to use, has lovely designs to choose from and makes it easy to track RSVPs. We also chose to keep the party little this year, which was a good idea, so we just invited a child’s handful of very close friends. There somehow still ended up being twelve two-year-olds. That is a lot of toddlers. We must make more friends without two-year-olds (for a variety of reasons).

Location: Last year we had the party in a park that was a short drive away. That was fine and lovely, but logistically a bit hard. This year we went a thirty-second walk around the corner to the small local park, which would prove handy for H to trudge back and forth the whole time, escorting people to the loo, and getting extra jumpers and other forgotten essentials. We arrived to find OTHER PEOPLE were already having a party, so we scowled at them and set up on the other side of the park.

The other mob were about thirty seven-year-old boys being run ragged like they were in the Army Reserve by a hired PE teacher type of fellow. He had a broad-brimmed hat, a booming voice and a whistle. How is that a birthday party? They took up about eighty-five per cent of the park, leaving us the tiny strip of land next to the metre-high sheer precipitous drop down into the beer garden of the local bowling club. A perfect location for twelve toddlers. The parties managed to ignore each other like two cats who are forced to sleep in adjoining cages at the vet but know it’s only for a week. There were no turf wars. We were magnanimous when some of their guests came over to eat our fairy bread.  Who could blame them? Our party was clearly better.  Mostly because of the…

Food!: Last year I did a lot of cooking. It took all week and everyone ate all the food in twelve minutes. This year, I had neither the strength, time nor giveashit to cook much, so we served fairy bread, a cheese platter (hard cheeses because right now my friends are the knocked-uppest bunch you could hope to meet), some chips and dips, French bread, sliced watermelon and pineapple and some olives. Mum made a huge platter of amazing chicken sandwiches. (For catering purposes, if you are planning to replicate this party, you need fairy bread to everything else ratios of one billion to one.) We also had a massive wheel of brie, for the non-pregnant, but I forgot to bring a plate for it so for the first half hour it was displayed thus:

Pretty sure this will be how cheese is displayed in Donna Hay magazine next month. You saw it here first.

Drinks: Juice and fizzy water, beer and champagne. I, reckless expectant mother that I am, drank a whole glass of champagne. It was wonderful. I hope I haven’t broken my baby. When we unpacked the Esky on our return home, we discovered that somehow we have more beer now than we started with. This is a happy thing, for the beer drinker in the family, and a sad thing, because coming home from a party with more beer than you started with is a clear sign of reaching a Certain Age.

Cake: It’s happened two years in a row now so that makes it a tradition, right? I baked the chocolate cakes and H fashioned them into a shape and decorated them. This year the shape requested (nay, demanded, for months on end) was Humpty Dumpty on a wall. May Blossom ate half his liquorice hair before we’d even finished singing ‘Happy Birthday’. She then wailed ‘Don’t cut Humpty!’ and for a moment there I thought there was going to be all kinds of trouble. But we fobbed her off with a few Jaffas and after that there was no complaining, only face-stuffing.

Humpty looks wary, as well he might. He was torn apart moments after this was taken. Made falling off a wall look like a squirrel’s picnic.

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