Zero minus 48 hours – almost 6 year old is sick, temperature, sore throat, no appetite (this last one bewilders me).
Zero minus 24 hours – almost 6 year old is no better, but fully convinced she will be completely recovered by tomorrow morning so that she can go to school and have everyone sing happy birthday to her.
Zero minus 22 hours – of the 21 kids invited, 19 now say they are coming. This goes completely against the statistics. Must be a slow social day for 6 years olds.
Zero minus 18 hours – almost 6 year old running a temperature of 39.8. Also, it hasn’t stopped raining for 3 days.
Zero minus 6 hours – my little one is finally 6; she thinks she looks taller this morning. Going to school. Still running a high temperature, doesn’t look so good, but refuses to accept possibility of being sick on her birthday.
Zero minus 4 hours – the bouncy castle has arrived. It fits in the garden – Just! If any kid bounces over the back of it, they’ll have to stay there until the bouncy castle people come to retrieve it as no normal adult could possibly fit back there.
Zero minus 2 hours – it hasn’t stopped raining – AT ALL! Bouncy castle is floating eerily in back garden. Water slopping all over the deck. I will not panic, I will not panic, I will not panic.
Zero minus 30 mins – collect 6 year old from school, she’s shivering. Forehead feels hot as a toaster, still insists she feels fine, but agrees to some medicine to make me feel better. Rain easing up. Help arrives in form of 2 sisters and mother. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
2 pm – Party Time! The rain has stopped and the early arrivals have kindly used their bottoms to dry off the last of the rain from the bouncy castle.
2.10 pm – have already figured out which child is going to be “the one”. "The one" wants to know when we’re having birthday cake, now!
2.15pm – 2 children have somehow clambered onto the roof of the bouncy castle. I have made it very clear that is not ok.
2.16pm – apparently I didn’t make it clear enough. They did it again, jumped off the roof onto slide sticking out the side of the bouncy castle, bouncing a little girl clean off it onto the still soggy lawn.
2.17pm – am hoarse, but think I have finally made my feelings about climbing onto roof of bouncy castle clear.
2.20pm – “the one” wants to know what’s in my handbag.
2.30pm – there are now 20 children in my house.
2.40pm – sun is out, kids laughing; table full of junk food has been discovered. Looking good.
2.55pm – first casualties, somehow during a bit of bouncing/sliding two heads collided with the nose of one head going into the mouth of the other head. The one who ingested the nose assures me she tried really hard not to bite. The inserter of the nose disagrees with this analysis and wants justice. I give them both more sweets.
3.15pm – the toddler has had enough of his sisters friends playing with his toys. He’s really quite vocal about it. They all think he’s adorable when he’s angry.
3.35pm – I have a feeling my sisters are quite relieved to be childless and considering staying that way.
3.45pm – “the one” is demanding McDonalds as sandwiches and rice krispie buns are boring.
4pm – We bring out the cake and sing happy birthday to 6 year old. Am choking up, where did the last 6 years go?
4.05pm – “the one” and I have an altercation in the kitchen over the size of the pieces of cake I'm cutting. Frighteningly strong for such a small child but I manage to keep my hold on the cake knife.
4.10 pm – 6 year old bursts into tears, she doesn’t know why. Looks like someone drew circles under her eyes with charcoal, she feels warm. She, Daddy & I have a cuddle on the couch, her friends want to know if she’s ok – awwwww!
4.20pm – Second casualty, lovely little one has hurt her little finger. She’s very brave, but it looks swollen. Time to bring out the Magic Cream (Arnica).
4.25pm – “the one” is demanding some of the fancy carrot cake my mother brought for the grown-ups. No flipping chance.
4.35pm – first child to leave. Time to bring out the party bags. I’ve been reliably informed by at least a dozen kids that it’s really really really important I don’t forget to give them theirs.
4.40pm – 5pm – most of the children leave, we seem to have a lot of socks on the deck that don’t belong to us.
5.10pm – “the one” leaves, giving me hugs and kisses and tells me it was the best party ever – little love.
6.30pm – toddler still going on bouncy castle, at one point almost falls asleep while climbing back up on it.
8pm – bouncy castle goes home. 6 year old in near catatonic state, toddler devastated, waves bye bye to bouncy castle through tears.
9pm – thanks to mother and sisters, our sitting and dining rooms are almost normal. Other half and I so tired, we’re in pain. Ears still ringing from shocking amount of noise generated by 20 kids.
6 year old already looking forward to turning 7.