What happened? It's a good question. I was fine before the weekend. Perky, even. Now I am gaunt, dead-eyed, haunted.
My transformation took place on Saturday, at 3pm, when the first guests arrived at my son's fifth birthday party. The first of 30 guests. That's right, 30 five-year-olds and no organised entertainment. Just a Rock Star theme (invitation left).
What was I thinking? I think it's probably fair to say I wasn't thinking. Rufus is my first child, I was blythe, I was ignorant. Not any more. Now I know.
I did it because I thought that it was just one of those things that you do for your child. It was only as 3pm rocked up that I calculated that Rufus had only been invited to one other all-class party, and that had been held at the local kids' club, where experts looked after and played with the children. That wasn't a helpful realisation to have just as the children started to arrive, as there was little I could do except clasp my list of party games tightly and hope that the magic tricks Mr McDonald had learnt from Google the night before were good enough to keep them happy.
In the following two hours I learnt that: two hours is SUCH a long time; five-year-olds aren't very good at playing party games, and you can learn quite impressive tricks from Google. A lovely neighbour face-painted all the children and at the beginning of the party she said "it's just one of those things you've got to do, just once you've got to invite all the kids". By the end, as she staggered away, hollow-eyed, she had changed her mind: "I am never, ever doing this," she said. And she's right.
Don't do it. It's completely unnecessary. I did it because I didn't want Rufus to have to choose who came, I didn't want any awkwardness in the classroom, and I didn't want it to be just boys. But then I realised that all those things are entirely acceptable, because the alternative is MAYHEM.
Worst moment: child locking himself in the loo. Best moment: ummm.
Food? I kept it simple. Sausages on sticks (very popular), cream cheese and cucumber sandwiches (crusts off), Pomme bears crisps, English cherries (devoured!), strawberry jelly with strawberries in it and then 30 chocolate cupcakes with this Dr Oetker Easy Swirl Cupcake Icing and sliced strawberries to decorate.
*staggers off into distance, muttering*