The politics of kids’ birthday parties and entertaining the parents

To stay or not to stay – that is the question. Please don’t, is the answer from me

While my wonky, lopsided, messily decorated buns might have impressed the four- and five-year-olds in attendance, I feared the parents might think there was too much food colouring in the rather vivid icing. Photograph: iStock

While my wonky, lopsided, messily decorated buns might have impressed the four- and five-year-olds in attendance, I feared the parents might think there was too much food colouring in the rather vivid icing. Photograph: iStock

The self-dubbed favourite child had his birthday party with all his school friends last weekend – a whole month ahead of his actual birthday. He was a little bit confused by the timing but, as a birthday party veteran at this stage, I know when the opportunity to share a party comes along, you grab it with both hands. Timing is somewhat a secondary consideration.

It wasn’t always so however. In the olden days when I was green in all things birthday party related and oblivious to the politics involved, enthusiasm ruled my heart and head. My eldest was the youngest in her class which meant a whole lot of birthday parties preceded hers. These were the days before the shared party notion took hold, when the pressure was felt to do something different, and when the first-timer in me was keen to prove I could step up to the birthday party plate.

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