"We need to sort out something for Izzy's birthday," he mused.
Izzy was playing nearby and her ears pricked up like heat-seeking missiles, "I want a party!" she shouted excitedly.
I turned to Steve, "Sounds reasonable to me, I've heard it's quite common for children to have birthday partys. Whaddya think?"
"Yeh, ok," he replied, which was the catalyst for Izzy to jump around the room shouting "WOO HOO."
With a plan in place, I went to get a pen and paper and sat down at the table opposite Izzy. "Right then," I said, "let's make a list of friends you would like to invite.
She reeled off some names, then some more, and yet more. After half an hour, she triumphantly stated, "that's it." That's it? She had put 26 names onto the list.
"I turned to Steve, "there is no way that I am having a party at my house for that many kids. They'd strip the place like a pack of piranhas with a cow."
"Agreed," he replied, adding "actually, there is a big children's play centre called Jambinos in Oxford. I bet they do kids parties."
"It's a bit short notice, but worth a go," I replied.
Steve picked up his phone and luckily Jambinos had a free party slot on Sunday 27th, which was the day before Izzy's birthday. Perfect.
Sunday duly arrived, and the festivities kicked off with the arrival of Izzy's Grandparents, who had driven down from Redditch to go to Izzy's party. 'Twas all terribly civilised even though I was there. Cups of tea all round whilst we watched Izzy open her birthday presents. I don't know, kids today don't know they are born. If we had laid her presents side by side, they would have probably circled the earth.
Pic.No.1.Izzy opening presents with Nana and Grandad Fred
Once the presents were done, it was time to set off for the biggy; Izzy's 3pm party at Jambinos. Shortly after arriving at Jambinos, it became quickly clear that the party plans weren't quite as 'perfect' as we had initially thought. It was the wild-eyed looks of the Fathers dropping off their children that hinted something was awry.
And then it was pointed out to us: We had only gone and booked the party at the exact time that England were playing Germany in the World Cup 2010. Oops. Those Fathers that lived close by virtually threw their children through the doors of Jambinos in order to get back home as quickly as possible. Those that lived too far away to return home for the duration of the party, resorted to crowding round a solitary iPhone that was streaming the match. One thing was certain, Steve and I were gonna end up on a list entitled 'Britains Most Hated'.
Luckily, the children didn't share the same concern about missing the match, and it wasn't long before Jambinos was crammed full of 26 kids all doing Brownian Motion. It was absolute bloody bedlam, but it didn't matter because they were having a great time.
Pic.No.2. Izzy's soiree ......... canape anyone?
Pic.No.3. Izzy surrounded by her chums
Pic.No.4. Ever the shrinking violet, I had to work hard to draw her out of herself
Pic.No.5. The birthday cake. Isn't it nice to see a cake with so few candles that the icing sugar doesn't melt?
Pic.No.6. A Tinkerbell cake - the 'must have' for all 5 year old fashionistas
Pic.No.7. Party games - Pass the parcel
After nibbles it was time for the children to indulge in party games, and I watched transfixed as the kids played 'pass the parcel'. Firstly I was amazed that kids these days still indulged in such traditional games. Secondly, I remembered that when I was a kid, 'pass the parcel' was the ultimate adrenalin rush. Seeing it played again, all these years later, I was shocked to discover that it is, in fact, a rubbish game.
Nevertheless, they seemed to find it mind-blowingly exciting. Ahhhhh....... how expectations change.
So all in all, Izzy had a fabulous day which was exactly the desired outcome, and she was still bouncing off the walls when it was hometime at 5.30pm.
P.S. Can you think of anything that was fabulous when you were a child and is now rubbish when you revisit it years later?