April is a busy month in our family. Both babies have their birthdays in April, only four days apart (plus two years), so it’s a month for celebrating. It’s also a month for reflecting, in that way you do as a parent, on how quickly the time has flown by. Has it really been a year since she was born? A whole year?! I spend most of April and a good part of May in complete disbelief. The fun part though, is the partying. I love a party. Putting on a party for both girls at once gave me an excuse to make it twice as bright and fun and feast-y. [In truth I’ll use any excuse].
I’m also kind of obsessed with a theme. Love a party, love a theme. Don’t you?
This year, our first combined birthday hoop-la, we went for a circus theme. There’s something wonderful about big tops and popcorn and choc-top icecreams and circus lions. My husband wouldn’t let me get a circus lion. Party pooper.
Dress-up was optional but we had some fantastic costumes. A magician, a trapeze artist, a panther and a leopard. My favourite was the strong man, complete with moustache and “muscles” (socks stuffed under a beige, long sleeved t-shirt – clever!). B1 came as an acrobat, donning her cousin’s hand-me-down dance costume – leotard and tutu the colour of buttercups and decorated with yellow feathers. B2 was a magician’s assistant: I sewed a cheap, sparkly bowtie on a white onesie and added braces by stitching red ribbon onto the shoulders [I kinda thought I was a crafting genius after this achievement]. And, of course, a special friend gave us a fabulous black and starry skirt to complete the look… thanks, Aunty Ria!
As for food, well, I’m a fan of “Keep it simple”. Lots of a few things suits my style. We did hotdogs so there were buns and sausages, mustards, ketchups and relishes, plus a big potato bake and a salad. I did a big platter of cut fruit and bowls of lollies (marshmallows, chocolate freckles etc) and animal cookies. I’d like to say I made the cake myself but no, I bought it. A ginormous sponge with layers of vanilla and chocolate custard. Covered all over in hundreds-and-thousands. The slice I had the next day, with a cup of tea, in front of telly watching Downton Abbey…..hmmm…bliss…..
After lunch we had a treasure hunt which led to a bucket of tiny ice-creams in the freezer and I put mask-making supplies in the kids sized circus tent which kept the little ones occupied for a while. Cardboard moustaches on elastic strings were available for wearing, and Italian animal biscuits dotted with chocolate chips were the party favours. B2 “smashed” her cake (that means she ate it with serious gusto), the kids all got wired on sugar and the sun shone on and on and on, as it does in Sydney town.
Of course hosting a party feels like a whirlwind, don’t you agree? It seems as though you are cleaning up just after you set up. The hours whiz by and you only have time to grab pieces of conversation before racing on to the next thing to prepare. Especially with kids parties – miniature magicians and trapeze artists and acrobats racing around your legs, hair and laughter streaming; dropped ice-creams to be picked up, bumps to be kissed, masks to be admired. The time disappears in the same way it seems to in general these days – too damn quickly.
All I can say is thank goodness for photographs. Pinning a wriggling, restless moment down and capturing it forever. A slice of time to look back on and savour, when the real moment passed far too fast.