So today I attended my first children’s birthday party over here. O has been to one before, but I was afraid no one would talk to me, and I sent Hunky with him instead. Well, Hunky is out of town (STILL), so it was me or nothing. And the party was for William (of the ‘I’m not your friend’ infamy), who is O’s closest school friend, and O was really excited about going, so we went.
The party was at a kid’s activity center – with ball pits, a trampoline, slides, etc. Perfect for a bunch of 3 and 4 year olds – they could run around to their heart’s content. But there were A TON of kids there, plus 1 to 2 grown-ups for every child. It was a pretty small area and it was crammed. So the kids played for about 50 minutes, then we gathered them to a cafeteria-style table, where they were served sandwiches, sausages, sausage rolls, chips, and carrot sticks. Then we sang Happy Birthday to William, and then they put the cake away.
That’s right, y’all – birthday cake doesn’t get eaten at the party in England. It gets cut up into pieces, placed into a napkin, and sent home in the goody bag. So strange! No opening of birthday presents either, which I am actually a fan of at this age, although I understand why people like to do it at the party too.
And I have to say that I feel pretty justified about being afraid that no one would speak to me. No one did. That’s just the English way, I think. And there’s nothing wrong with it, I guess, its just so alien to how I grew up. In Mississippi, where it isn’t considered weird to strike up conversations with random strangers, it’s considered having good manners.
Anyway, I am having a hard time deciding what to do for O’s birthday, which is rapidly approaching. It would be so easy just to have some of our friends with kids over, just like we did with Y’s party, only maybe organizing some activities for the kids. Or we could do something on base, like the bowling alley or the play place, with the same people. But O goes back and forth about wanting to invite school friends, and I just don’t feel comfortable inviting all those perfect strangers to our house. And the base is out if he wants school friends to come – they can’t get on base. So one of these activity centers is the best option if he wants school friends there too, but this play place charges 8 pounds per child. That’s $16 – doesn’t that seem like a lot, for an hour and a half party? Although that does include the food (only for the children though – grown-ups aren’t given the option to eat). And while the food seems rather yucky to me (think cold sausage links), its the sort of food O LOVES, and you can’t bring your own food.
What do y’all think? I’m just not sure I’m ready for a birthday party where there will be grown-ups that I don’t even know. Its a weird age – the kids are old enough to have school friends, but not old enough to do a drop-off birthday party. I’m kind-of hoping I can convince O to just invite our military friends to have a party here or at the play place on base – cheap, easy, and if we do it at home, we can have DRINKS!