The here and now and a bit of way back then

I relived my journey to 40 and found there's so much more to say

It’s all in the lack of planning…

on August 16, 2013

One big aspect of parenting seems to be Event Planner. For everyone in the family to cover all occasions from Birthdays, Christmas, Easter, Halloween, Chinese New Year, Mid Autumn festival and the Queen’s Jubilee. That’s on average some form of celebration every six weeks. I never had to organise that many events when I was in paid employment, I wonder whether I can put this down as a valid strength for future job interviews? It’s all about transferable skills and making relevant your experience.

Next week is the Birthday of #2. Three years ago I was hoping their arrival wouldn’t land on the day after my own Birthday, rather because it is for the best that I never have to organise or host a small person’s birthday party with a hangover for years to come. I live optimistically. Otherwise it would be a half finished party with half a cake turned finished side forwards for the photos. One Mum friend once said ‘So long as there’s a photo of the child with a cake what else really matters?’.

I have been to some fabulous children’s parties. Imaginative themes, beautiful decorations, yummy party food with soft drinks and beer and not forgetting AMAZING cakes. I’ve seen pirate ships, treasure chests, mermaids, princesses and castles, ladybirds, penguins and a whole host more all made by Mum of Birthday child. Now, if I asked #1 do you remember what kind of birthday cake you had when you were 2? I know he can’t really but will dutifully tell me it was a train cake which it was. It was a lopsided green train cake with bright green buttercream icing slowly melting in the Singapore heat. His favourite part? The Oreo cookie wheels. The following year he moved on from trains and wanted a Lightening McQueen cake. Good job I had taken a cake decorating course in between and so there was a cake which he recognised as Lightening so that’s what counts. This year I decided to sway #1’s decision and persuaded him a robot cake would be a very good idea. It was square and flat and only needed a few sweets on top for decoration. Good choice.

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#2 says she wants a tall Princess castle cake with horses and Minions. She could have a cake like that because her good friend recently had an A380 Singapore Airlines cake complete with edible air steward and Minions figurines, but she’s not going to. What she will have is something within my capabilities that will have elements of what makes her happy. I will definitely try my best, I’m still learning how to decorate cakes properly but either way she will be so excited about it being her Special Day that I don’t think she’ll notice there are no horses or Minions present.

Rewind 20 odd years ago and I decided that our D ought to have his first birthday party that included some of his friends from school. A party involving outside people was unheard of in our family back then. How difficult could it be? So invitations were sent to about 10 of his friends to come to ours after school. There was a cake (sponge with fruit in the middle and fresh cream not buttercream from Peter’s the Cathedral Bakers where all our childhood cakes were from) and everyone was going to have chicken and chips. Simple. Until one small person said ‘I don’t like chicken, I only like sausages’. Really? No one said you had a choice! Our D’s Mum blankly said ‘But you said they would eat chicken’. There were no sausages in the house either. Luckily we lived five minutes away from the local Co-Op so that was a minor mishap and at least it wasn’t a dairy, gluten free, soya bean only kind of request. Then again, the local Co-Op probably could cater for that nowadays.

Any good event is all in the planning and a stress free host is all about planning as far ahead as you can. I always want to be that host. I do plan and I know now what a party entails and there is always sausages. Yet I have literally made myself go crossed eyed with what seems like a good idea at the time but comes a bit too late really and ought not to be pursued. For nights before #1’s 2nd Birthday, I was hand sewing drawstring bags to fill with party favours and had to rope in a good friend to help out with her sewing machine and my Mother in law who was over for a holiday. For #2’s Birthday, I have had another last minute good idea but this time I have a helper too.

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