Four years after she emerged, crying and screaming into this world, my daughter break-danced her way through her fourth birthday and had the time of her life.
Ernie had woken a bit early and had woken Phoebe. “Am I still three?” she asked.
“Yes,” I lied, “Go back to sleep.”
But soon enough we were up and opening the first of what would turn out to be a mildly sickening avalanche of presents. If my four year old dad could have seen this he might have thought the green trousers that he was so proud of were a little bit shit. Thankfully my four year old dad wasn’t there. Only my 82 year old one. I bet he realised he’d been hard done by 78 years ago though.
We had a party in the village hall and 30+ kids and their parents all came along, making it feel like a real community event. It’s a great age to have a party, when all the kids are just happy to be kids and haven’t really formed alliances and are just pleased to be eating sugar and running around.
But my wife had been a genius and booked a man who acted as a DJ and magician from the excellent company Fizz Kids
, who I would heartily recommend if you live in the Herts/London area. It was pitched just right for kids and adults, with a bit of parental embarrassment thrown in too. I had to dance in a feather boa and get wiped with a toilet brush, but given my job is to humiliate myself this was like water off a toilet-duck’s back and I did my best to help a magic trick work by grooving to the Sugar Plum Fairy. My daughter actually gave me a hug when my bit was over. Like she was proud of me. I think she had a great time.
Ernie didn’t properly understand what was going on, but loved the anarchy of it and both my children turn out to be proper little groovers.
I had preemptively brought out the cake and Phoebe blew out the candles (with my assistance, as with the last three birthdays) but I’d trumped the Fizz Kids guy who had a whole build up prepared, so we had to bring out the cake again and have a second run of Happy Birthday. But this time Phoebe blew out the candles alone, first try. So it was worth the slight embarrassment. What the entertainer didn’t realise was that being rubbed with a toilet brush didn’t humiliate me - messing up the show with a double cake reveal mortified me more.
Everyone says to enjoy the ride cos it goes so quickly and today I was really able to enjoy my family. It has felt like quite a long time to get to this point though, but I know I am going to blink and she’ll have grown like an exponential Ferrero Rocher pyramid.
I think the vibe of this party will be hard to beat. Self-consciousness and cliques will kick in and it may never be quite this care free again. Though we get to do it again with Ernie and his by then world-weary six year old sister. But that's years away... shit it's tomorrow. It really does fly by.