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

A day of two parties 

on August 31, 2015

It is not uncommon for me to attend two parties in one day. There have been occasions where I have even been to three. That is how rock and roll I am.

Except before you feel envious, most parties I go to are for small people. Between #1, 2 and 3, I am merely the Keeper of their social diary and the wheels of their transportation. I don’t recall as many Birthday parties going on around me whilst I was growing up. As much as Birthdays were celebrated in some form with cake, presents and special Birthday dinner, a party was still a ‘party’ with just your family around.

For each of #1, 2 and 3, every Birthday has been celebrated with a multitude of friends in Singapore. Each year a different group of friends as people come and go. With living this Expat Life and in the absence of close family around, the close friends we have become the people the children look forward to celebrating their Birthday with.

And every Birthday is special but Turning 5 is something else which I’ve already talked about for #1 in When a child is born and recently for #2 in You’ll always be my baby. And for every Birthday, I like #1, 2 and 3 to have some involvement with the decision making process before adapting it to my own capabilities. For the moment, they haven’t realised the amount of effort that goes into party planning. No matter how simple you think it’s going to be; a cake, party bags and venue; it never is.

And so #2 at the fine age of five, made up her mind some months ago, as far back as Easter, that for her Birthday she would like a ‘Thomas’ party. As in Thomas the Tank Engine. I thought our Thomas days were over soon after #1 turned two. This was quite a surprise as #2 has not been known for her love of steam engines. Last year was the whole Princess Elsa and fake snow that took us 2 hours to clean up party! And considering how fickle a child’s loyalty can be, I thought she would change her mind before long. I didn’t encourage her to change it, after all we should be encouraging freedom to choose whatever you want to be and do. So I said to #2, “If you can name me five Thomas trains then you can have your Thomas party.” She gets as far as “Thomas…..” then whispers to #1 “Who else?” to which he reels off a list of names having never forgotten them from when he was 18 months old.

Several months later and we (read I) need to start party planning and she’s still quite sure it’s going to be a ‘Thomas party’. I like it. I like how she can have a supposed boys themed party just because she can. The joys of being five and five year olds unperturbed by general ideas of how things should be. I like how she can wear a fuschia pink dress at the same time and jump around on a trampoline and dig up dirt in the sand pit whilst insisting on My Little Ponies in the party bags.

I like how she is uninhibited by what others may think. When does this change? And what can we do to change this? In times where there is much discussion on girls under increasing pressure to act and behave a certain way influenced by their peers, celebrity culture and overexposure of what everyone is doing on social media. Do you think of how we can keep this free thinking of both genders the way it is at the age of five?

Moving on from these thoughts; how did she enjoy herself? Well the cake maketh the party and #2 asked for Thomas with the Fat Controller. And that is exactly what she got. After organising 12 Birthday parties, I have long since let go of the ‘Must Do Everything Myself’ when I know so many much more talented people who can do a far better job. My friend Cathy who is never short of cake orders did a fabulous job again and she can be found at but Hurry! She’s already completely booked up for September. So who will make #3’s cake?


#2 loved her Birthday cake. So much so that when it was time to hand out party bags when people were leaving, she turns to me smiling and says, “I just need to go wash my hands!”. Not only are her hands black but her teeth and mouth and face stained black like she’s transitioning into a pirate with poor dental hygiene. Whilst she’s off washing her hands, I notice the Fat Controller has lost his head. When she comes back I ask her “Did you eat the Fat Controller’s head?”, “I did Mummy” she happily replies.

And if you looking for a venue with the right blend of indoor and outdoor space then I couldn’t recommend Tanderra more highly. When you have almost 30 five and six year olds in one space, it is best to let them loose outdoors. Many of us living in Singapore have the luxury of a pool downstairs but few of us have the freedom of a garden that children can potter around in. This venue is like the back garden #1, 2 and 3 would love to have with a huge sandpit, trampoline and regular green grass.

And what Husband and I still haven’t learnt is the perils of the pinata! Five is a good age for  a pinata, anyone below five are just wasting their time. A gentle tap by most under fives is only going to make the pinata last the whole duration of the party but you and other parents will soon tire of it.  At five they’re strong enough to do some serious damage so make sure you are well out of the way. At five they have a strong competitive streak and you spend most of the time yelling ‘Move back, move back!’ as they want to get as close to the sweet cascade as possible. At five they are also not beyond tears because five is a bit young to be battling it out on the brutal sweet grabbing field.

I like watching small people have fun at parties. Running riot with their mates and gorging on sugar items washed down by juice and more sugar items. And I like how the guests can then be returned to their rightful parents to deal with the aftermath of the sugar products and the high of extreme sporting activities like the pinata.

And that same evening, Husband and I joined good friends at the NZ Aotearoa Ball, our only connection being we know people who are genuinely from New Zealand and can sing both versions of the national anthem. Switch the sugar items washed down by juice and more sugar items to red wine, white wine and more red wine and you’ve basically got a re-enactment of a group of Grown Up five year olds running riot with their mates. Except the hangovers the next day most likely lasted a lot longer than the sugar crashes ever did.

And with all good nights out, the next day there’s nothing you can particularly say that could fully describe what made it such a great event. There was a lot of laughter, dancing and conversation I can’t recall. But I do recall the company was great and it makes you look forward to seeing them again.

It was a day of two parties indeed. And who doesn’t love a party be you five or fifty five. 

A very good day.



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