Following on from my post the other day about the vital importance of everybody doing whatever the hell they like when it comes to their children’s parties, I thought I’d share some photos and brief details of what we’ve done so far.
The first birthday
Where: At home. Our house is built on the side of a hill, without what estate agents describe as ‘good indoor-outdoor flow’, so it isn’t a great party location most of the time, but it was fine when we were just dealing with guests who crawled everywhere.
Theme: A bit of a polka dot thing going on for the cakes, paper chains, paper plates, and napkins, but nothing major.
Invitations: I’m sure I made some, but I can’t remember the details (and there will be a souvenir copy tucked away in a box somewhere, likely to remain unfound for fifty years).
Entertainment: Baby toys.
Guests: We described it as a birthday play date, so we invited lots of little baby friends, and no older siblings – we didn’t want to have to accommodate toddlers, given that everybody was corralled in our living room (and now that we’ve been through the toddler stage ourselves, I totally know that we made the right decision, although it was a little contentious at the time). We didn’t do the big ‘Thank F*ck We Survived’ kind of first birthday party where you invite all of your friends and family, primarily because we had that kind of celebration for the kids’ baptism, three months earlier.
Cakes: Home-made – and my first adventures in fondant! Luckily for me I had a couple of out-of-town twin mum friends visiting a few days earlier, so they coached me through it. These cakes are obviously pretty rough-looking in retrospect, but I was very proud of managing to bake anything, given that I had two breastfed babies on my hands!
Catering: I produced the rest of the baking, and because we were at home we had warm stuff too (sausage rolls). And we had baby finger foods as well, like Mum Mums rusks. We also had champagne on offer, and my friends surprised me by being absolute lushes at ten in the morning, bless them.
Goody bags: We didn’t bother for babies!
Outcome: We had fun, the guests seemed to have fun, and Hattie and Joe definitely had fun. Job done!
The second birthday
Where: At a local community hall. $25 an hour, and only a few minutes’ drive from our house, with a fenced playground included, and space for a bouncy castle.
Theme: Peppa Pig. This was right in the middle of Hattie and Joe’s Peppa obsession, so we had Pat and Richard bring some stuff over from the UK to supplement what was available locally.
Invitations: Again, I know there was something – perhaps we had them printed? Anyway, I can’t remember the details, or find an example. You’ll just have to take my word for it.
Entertainment: We hired our multiple birth club’s bouncy castle, and also hired a toddler ‘rollercoaster’, and brought along the kids’ little toddler trikes. The kids were the perfect age for the playground at the community hall, so that kept them all occupied as well.
Guests: Lots of sets of twins, and one or two older (preschool-aged) siblings. The kids were nearly all friends of Hattie and Joe, although I included a couple of twin mums that I was friends with, even though the kids rarely got together. My parents, Tristan’s mother and stepfather, and one of my nieces also joined us.
Cakes: The pinnacle of my adventures in fondant – Peppa and George. I am still ridiculously proud of these cakes!
Catering: I baked heaps of stuff again, and made sandwiches and fairy bread.
Goody bags: Full of Peppa-related delights, including some very cute little Peppa-shaped bubble bath bottles that I bought online at Amazon.
Outcome: The party was great fun overall, although Hattie was fairly overwrought through a lot of it and, when she wasn’t running around like a crazy girl, needed to be held and cuddled by Mummy (and spent a lot of her time with one hand thrust into my cleavage – until I found the photo above I’d forgotten how much she used to do that!) However, she did rally towards the end and was able to kiss some of her little friends goodbye:
Joe (chilling out here with his big cousin Claire) largely took it all in his stride:
The third birthday
Where: Back to the same community hall.
Theme: Pink and green, to reflect Hattie and Joe’s favourite colours at the time.
You could have been forgiven for thinking that I’d dressed for a totally different event, given that I was wearing a silk cocktail frock. Joe chose it as my party outfit several months earlier…
Invitations: We had cards printed, with these photos on the front cover and inside cover:
Entertainment: The bouncy castle was a huge hit, yet again.
Guests: Even more twins than at the second birthday! We had been very sociable during the year before. Tristan’s mother and stepfather weren’t there, but my parents came up, and brought my nephew (who is a god on earth as far as Hattie and Joe are concerned).
Cakes: This was the first year chose to outsource the cakes – this year, to Bondie Designer Cupcakes. This was the best party-related decision we’ve ever made: it saved me a lot of stress, at least two days of work (and that’s being hugely optimistic about how long it would have taken me), and the hassle of having to store two cakes. And the cakes we ended up with were absolutely delicious.
Outsourcing the cakes may sound like a bit of a cop-out, but the kids’ requests had far outstripped my meagre abilities. And I was tired. I did briefly contemplate making one cake and buying one, but I realised that the difference in quality between the two would not flatter me.
Joe wanted a fairy cake, wearing the same fairy dress as he loved that year (as per the photo above), but also featuring the bunny motif from his favourite pink t-shirt that year, and also holding a miniature version of Larry, his beloved cuddly lion. Here’s the t-shirt, and here’s a picture of Larry:
And here’s the cake:
Joe was utterly delighted, but couldn’t resist eating Larry:
He’s pretty much regretted it ever since.
Hattie wanted a green dragon cake, with a blue striped tail, and with smarties (a far simpler request than Joe, thankfully – according to Bondie, Joe’s was the most elaborate request she’d ever received). The cake she received was gorgeous:
Hattie, bless her, was pretty overwhelmed by the sight of it, and burst into tears. However, this is a verbatim quote of what she said on the night of her party:
“My dragon cake was so cool. I was so proud of it! I really wanted a piece and I started to cry. But I’m not going to get upset and have a big cry next time”
Catering: I baked lots of stuff, once again (even easier when I didn’t also have cakes to worry about).
Goody bags: Lots of pink and green stuff – balloons, bags of colour-coded pick’n’mix, etc.
Outcome: This was still the peak of Hattie’s tantrum stage of life, so we had a few hairy moments, and Joe had a wee meltdown at one point, when he realised that we wouldn’t open the presents until everybody had gone home (I’m big on thank you cards, and it’s too hard to keep track of who gave what if you open stuff at a party – plus, the kids get totally sidetracked and don’t remember to play and have fun). But on the whole they and their friends raced around and had a whale of a time.
The countdown is on. Stay tuned! Different venue, same bouncy castle, more crazy cake requests, most of the same guests (we’ve become a bit more selective as the kids have become older), and an early request from Joe for two fondant Larrys, “so I can eat one and keep one”.