The Teenager is going out to a birthday party tonight. Not so very long ago, parties were held during daylight hours, the kids were exhausted from bouncing around giant soft play shapes and they had dinky party bags to take home.
Recently, parties meant a child inviting two or three close friends, taking them to a child-friendly restaurant for tea and staying with them the whole time, then embarrassing them by having the waiters bring out a birthday cake.
Now, heading for 14, the kids want to invite four or five close friends and be left, all on their own, in a restaurant for dinner. Can they even be trusted to behave? Should we follow them in disguise or wait outside in the car with binoculars? How will their waitress cope? I’ve seen these kids on the rugby pitch and they are LOUD. And still laugh at rude words.
The Teenager had already planned his outfit by Monday. It’s been washed, ironed and hung up in his wardrobe – Fred Perry top, Next chinos. With Vans shoes. He’s actually going to use deodorant and style his hair. I won’t be able to get into the bathroom for at least an hour.
What should I do then? Well, I guess what any parent starved of babysitting does – head for the nearest place that sells wine. A good friend is in town, there are three pubs within walking distance of my house, I’m in remission and it’s the weekend. The kids will be fine.
Luckily, I’m a cheap date now – MS has somehow made alcohol much…stronger. A couple of drinks and I’m ready to flop. And I can always blame my unbalanced walking to the loo on the MS…