We’ve reached week four of pre-school and all was going well, until this morning.
As I dropped Mini-Me off, her lovely teacher smiled at me, chirping “This is for you Mummy!” I took the piece of coloured card from her, thinking that it must be a note from the school about something that she needs or did. Thanking smiling teacher and waving goodbye to my little one, I left.
When I got to the car, I looked at the piece of card…it was a birthday invitation.
And so it begins.
My initial reaction was one of shock. This is the first invitation she’s received to a party that isn’t one of her cousins. And then it inspired a mixture of feelings inside this inexperienced Mummy that I still can’t quite describe. I was initially delighted and a little part of me felt smug that she’d been invited. Having been one of those kids who watched others getting invited to the cool kids’ parties, a part of me felt chuffed that my Princess was popular enough to be invited to a party after only a few weeks!
Then I laughed at my own stupidity as I remembered a friend telling me that the parents in her daughter’s pre-school invite ALL of the kiddies to ALL of the parties. Most likely, all of the parents had been handed the pretty pink card this morning. I was no different, I just happened to be the last parent to get mines…and that’s when the fear hit me.
There are 22 in her class. This lovely, kind parent, who is going to the bother of possibly inviting (and obviously paying for), ALL of the kiddies to meet up on Saturday to play, may have just started a class tradition. Or is it a dilemma?
Am I the only Mummy who thinks ahead to my daughter’s birthday in a few months and now panics? If this “invite the whole class” pressure is now mounted onto us as parents, how does one stop the spiral?
Because I know that I for one, can’t even imagine being responsible for having 22 toddlers in my care for an afternoon, never mind being able to afford to pay for a party for the full class. And then there is the fact that this number will be added to the 8 cousins and 6 baby-friends that have made up her first three birthday parties!
Add parents. Add Grandparents. Add aunties and uncles.
As children, my siblings and I were always allowed 3 or 4 of our best buddies from school to come home on the day of our birthday for a small party. I’d imagined that I would do the same for Mini-me when the time came. I didn’t anticipate it beginning in pre-school. I didn’t anticipate it happening so soon.
I thought that I had a few years to go before I had to be “that mummy” – you know the one who bucks the trend and stands her ground by not giving into playground politics? Yeah, that’ll be me. I thought. Now I’m not so sure.
I read a thread on a local Mummy page today where another new-to-this-craic Mummy asked advice on inviting her 6 year old’s full class to a party for her son. The responses appalled me.
All of them were saying that yes, the whole class is usually invited and that the basic expectations include village halls, gifts for all the kids so that no one is left out, bouncy castles and hot food.
The responses terrified me and made me really understand that I am bloody well clueless and that my notions of being “that mummy” might just catapult me (and in turn Mini-me) back into that abyss of unpopularity.
So yes, mixed emotions.
Looking at the lovely invitation, I recognised the beautifully scripted name as that of the little girl my Princess sits beside (and whom she talks about non stop, attributing the title Best Fwend to her daily). So yes, of course I will happily take her to the party. It’ll be lovely to meet a few of the other pre-school parents…she’ll be with this group of kids through national and probably secondary school after all.
And of course, it comes with the territory. But I will be hugely interested to see if only a few of the kiddies have been invited or if the whole class and their entourages do indeed, arrive in force.
If that’s the case, the panic will be founded. If not, I’ll sigh a huge sigh of relief and rest easy for another while.
I quickly took a snap of the invitation and sent it to Hubby. His first reply was “Aw, her first invitation”…followed two seconds later by “And so it begins!” The latter text had a laughing emoticon at the end. But we’ll see who is laughing when it’s our turn to send out the invitations.
I am So-it-begins Mum.