Occasionally I’ve been known to bite off a little more than I can chew. Ok, a lot more. Sometimes my approach to life is to bite off way more than I can chew, and then just chew like crazy.
Right now I am going through one of these phases. I’m halfway through a third pregnancy, juggling two kids, moving to a farm (which means finding new schools, scrabbling for a new daycare placement, organizing a new mortgage, and generally creating a new life for the whole family), and coping with a demanding paid job too.
Sometimes I feel proud of myself when I think that any one of these factors would scupper a lot of people. Then I realise that I’m big-noting myself because it’s not really me doing all this on my own – our family has a very involved support crew of a truly amazing husband and a very on-the-ground grandma. (Nanna Lunchalot is often at the coal face at our house… thanks Mum!)
So the thought of planning a Spiderman birthday party on top of the tightrope I am currently treading was enough to necessitate a strong cup of tea and a lie down.
The only solution was to outsource as much as possible. So a playcentre party was in order!
Twelve kids, loads of grownups, and a truckload of lovely presents descended on Monkey Mania at Docklands yesterday for our little man’s much-anticipated Spiderman party.
I love hosting kids parties at home. I love making fairy bread and chocolate crackles, and it’s a great excuse to eat cocktail frankfurts dunked in tomato sauce (a guilty pleasure… I love those things!). I particularly love decorating our back yard with balloons and streamers. But none of this was on the cards this year. Right now, me and my belly are usually asleep on the couch by the time Giggle and Hoot have sung 1-2-3-4-5 Steps to Bedtime, so I knew that hosting a party for a dozen little spidermen was beyond me this year.
Sometimes it’s good to recognise your limits and be comfortable with that.
But the part that really bothered me about this outsourced party was the cake. I have never missed making any of my kids’ birthday cakes. It’s my thing. We plan them out weeks in advance, and they’re usually inspired by the time-honoured Womens Weekly Birthday Cake book. The kids will spend hours poring over that book weighing up the pros and cons of each cake (this one has more icing, but this one has more Smarties, that one has a big chocolate nose… that kind of thing).
I didn’t really want an uber-professional cake, as I love the homespun charm of mum-made cakes, and I wanted something more loved than the stock standard cake from the playcentre. So I asked around my network of Yarraville mums to find a talented cake maker who could make a Spiderman cake for our little guy’s birthday party.
A friend put me in touch with Lauren, baker extraordinaire and local mum. We put our heads together to determine the best kind of Spiderman cake for the birthday boy, and she delivered it to our place the day before the party. It was a hit! Though not exactly a clunky mum-made cake – it was certainly much more polished than anything I’ve ever made – Lauren’s Spiderman creation hit the spot with the kids and adults too. Thanks Lauren!
I was grateful that recognising that I simply was not capable of throwing the party myself this year meant that I had a great day yesterday. Often this kind of revelation would either have me wallowing in the throes of mother-guilt, or gritting my teeth and exhausting myself to the extent that I was too tired too enjoy the day at all. But not this year. My job was just to send out the invitations and buy some cake candles. This meant that I got to chat to our friends and enjoy watching the kids run off their sugar-highs on the play equipment.
Maybe, like my little Spiderman, I’m growing up a bit too?