Little Fish has a Birthday coming up in the not too distant future. And after that, she begins a mammoth run of medical bits and pieces. Two investigations under GA (which unfortunately cannot be combined), one overnight sleep study (which can't be combined with either of them), and following on from the investigations, at least one piece of surgery which will either be fairly major or not quite so major. There's potential for at least one more reasonably big op and then the prospect of repeat "procedures" under GA every six months forever, depending on how the results go. Not much fun, and meanwhile certain other bits of her life are getting a little bit harder (the bits she doesn't want me blogging about, sorry).
Which is a long-winded way of saying, she wants a party for her Birthday, and I'm inclined to give her what she wants.
So far, so fine. She's had a fair few party invitations over the past couple of years, and has even attended a reasonable number of parties now that she no longer dissolves into tears at the thought of it all. We've had Princess and Pirate parties, discos, Craft Parties, party parties, and soft play parties (which we did have to decline, it not being terribly accessible). We've had parents checking that everything is alright for LF, only for LF to melt down at the last minute and refuse to go. We've had ramps and space for me to stay, we've had more and more "just give me your phone number and go away" parties, and she's loved each and every one of them.
I've learnt to stop insisting she wears her pretty party dresses and let her be happy in smart jeans and a snappy top. She's learning it's polite not to charge in and snatch a party bag, and that actually the party itself is sometimes more fun than getting the bag at the end of it. And she's pretty brilliant at just telling people she doesn't play with balloons and that she doesn't want a drink, thanks. It's a beautiful thing to watch her growing independence.
Today's party combined a bouncy castle (something she can't do) with a disco, (something they decided to have so LF could join in, seeing how much she enjoyed it at someone else's party). Apparently, it also involved karaoke - I'm told LF does a fine Mamma Mia, and is also pretty good at leading everyone else in The Conga.
Which brings me to feeling my age. See, Little Fish says she wants a party. She can't think of anything at all she'd like as a present - waiting 7 months for her perfect Christmas present has apparently not left her any unmet wishes in that department. She wants a party "with party food, and with all my children, and with floaty balloons I can touch, and everyone to sing and a chocolate cake, and games." Sounds pretty good to me. Except that in my extreme old age, I had assumed games meant pass the parcel, musical statues, squeak piggy squeak, pin the tail on the animal of your choice, in and out the dusky bluebells, that kind of thing. Not Karaoke and the Macarena. They sang "McDonald" - I assumed "Old McDonald had a farm" but no, "A Pizza Hut, a Pizza Hut, Kentucky Fried Chicken and a Pizza Hut".
I'm ruling out a theme; Little Fish would, if asked, choose Peppa Pig and I suspect her classmates are a little beyond that. We're vetting the invitation list; LF believes that if a child knows her name they are her best best friend, and doesn't understand that not all name calling is nice.
Floaty balloons she can touch (foil and helium) we can do, no problem. Party food is I assume still reasonably similar; take out the jelly and add in fruit and veg and watch it all get ignored and scattered across the floor anyway. Cake - of course. And singing. But games? Am I dooming her to a lifetime of ridicule and humiliation if we go for the more traditional (and by the way fairly inclusive) party games of my childhood? Can children these days actually sing the Hokey Cokey without musical sound track? Will she be scarred for life if there isn't a man in a silly hat waving a microphone and teaching the groovy moves? And does anyone want to come and do this for me, since I'm clearly far too ancient and out of touch to manage it myself?