Paris Hilton would be jealous of my daughter Molly’s social scene.
She’s only five but her calendar is brimming with an amazing array of invites, parties and clubs to attend.
The revolving front door of our house is perpetually spinning as we slide in after school, get changed, and then head off to be entertained.
It’s OK for her, she’s five and brimming with energy. It’s the rest of us that are struggling to keep up.
Because I have the focus of a kitten, I need help keeping the situation in hand. I have notes on the calendar, reminders appearing on my phone and a barrage of daily texts and calls from my wife reminding me which child to pick up, their location and any special requirements (uniform, cash or fauna).
It’s great to see Molly involved in so many different activities and I know that in the long run it will help her become a well-adjusted and social sort.
The new activity is tea time eat-overs. As a child it’s a mini adventure that gives you a chance to see how other families live, what sort of culinary treats arrive on their tables and, most importantly, it’s a prime opportunity to check out your friends’ toys and turn their bedroom upside down without any fear of ‘reprisal tidying justice’ from a disgruntled parent.
But as the parent I have a couple of issues.
Of course on the away leg I remind Molly about saying please and thank you. I’m not expecting her to be dishing out the hi-fives and shaking the father’s hand, but gratitude for a nice time is essential.
It’s the home leg that really concerns me. Ideally, you’d want the other child to go home and give their parents a glowing report of the night’s proceedings.
Something along the lines of: ‘Mother, I had a wonderful time. Molly’s father served a wonderful blend of piping hot home grown vegetables and GM-free meats.
‘Post supper, we revelled in a bountiful mix of original, captivating and somewhat educational entertainment.
‘Not only am I well fed and happy, but I’m now a slightly better person. It’s been one of the best days of my life.’
How can I live up to my own expectations?
After consulting more experienced eat-over hosts, it seems the general consensus is this: slam something in the oven for 20 minutes, then dish out some sweets and leave them to it.
If that’s the case, why make life hard for yourself? Why risk someone turning their nose up at a three bean Mediterranean salad when, in the history of child-kind, no youngster has ever declined a fish finger and smiley face ensemble.
Note to self: keep it simple stupid.