I realise today that I did say to some of the parents a couple of times that this was Williams first birthday party, but actually it wasn’t! See this is why it’s dangerous to have a serious conversation with me, I’m away with the fairies when I’m under pressure and when I say under pressure I mean watching Williams every move out of the house in a place I’m not used to. He is after all a ticking time bomb in the afternoons, so I think I find meeting work deadlines a piece of p*** compared to times like these. Although I don’t give that impression, I mean I wouldn’t want the other parents knowing how stressed I am! (please don’t ask why, I’m still trying to decipher that myself)
He has been to two other birthday parties, pre-lockdown BUT this is his forest preschool friend Merlin and his fourth birthday party at Pleasure Park in the Sports Centre in Southampton. If you know Southampton or familiar with the area you will know how old this place is and if you don’t I’ll let you into a secret I went there as a child and I was born in the mid seventies.
When we first got there the memories started to flood back to me, the trampolines were always my favourite but I do remember all the rides and the slides. The place was heaving when we first got there and I felt the panic rise up my back and I could feel my shoulders and neck tensing up, then we were reassured by Merlins Mum that the party before was just finishing and they had forty children. FORTY children, how would you even, I mean, why would you? Never mind!
It was going really well, the children were loving it and we were able for the first time in ages just stand back and watch him play. He loves being with his friends and it really showed, I could see he was feeling a bit independant as more and more friends turned up and they started to be all sticking together. His partner in crime (another William) turned up and then that was it, it was “mummy who?” so Mike and I sat and watched them both play together. It is hard to believe that he starts school in September, I don’t know where the time is going and all of a sudden he’s a grown boy.
I spoke too soon.
He gets on the trampoline, he’s never been that bothered about trampolines so he was a bit reluctant to get on but after some persuasion he did it. Then other children got on the trampoline with him and it was funny at first, but we think he found it overwhelming. He was at the stage where he was laughing but looked like he’d had enough, I wanted him to get off himself be a boy and not a baby but then he did the face he does just before he bursts into tears so I quickly climbed on and carried him off. He sat on daddy’s lap for a while like a toddler again, crying his heart out. I was in two minds at this point; do I tell him to act like a boy and not a baby or do I cradle him? I give him a cuddle and the other children were making their way to the birthday ‘tent’ to sing happy birthday, but when I say let’s go get some cake he throws a massive tantrum not wanting to do anything but play.
I couldn’t even get his shoes on.
I was embarrassed but I’m not one for giving in, so because we were both there I go and get him a drink and balloon and he’s miserably sat with Mike at a table. I’ve no idea why he wouldn’t come in, it didn’t ruin the afternoon, but I couldn’t believe the amount of mums being shocked that HE was like he was because normally he’s such a jolly happy boy! So I joke and say “it’s fine I’m stocked up with wine” and “he’s always on his best behaviour at preschool.” BUT not one of them say “yes my little one’s the same.” Come on, really is William the ONLY child that does this??
I was worried about going, so distracted him with dinosaur hunting stickers that were in his party pack. Also, on the way back to the car there is a BMX track which he LOVED watching and that was just over half way back to the car. We finally get back home and park on the drive and I gasp on the realisation that he didn’t have his daily magnesium, so that was probably why he had a major meltdown because those things are helping with his tiredness and helping him deal with the tiredness better. I turn around and look at him, sat in his car seat all sweaty red cheeked and flustered, guilt hits me like a hard rock.
“Mummy can we go there again, that was the best place!”
He was in bed by seven tonight with a full tummy, big smile on his face and happy memories of an afternoon with all his friends from preschool.
Happy Birthday Merlin, hope you enjoyed your special day!