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Today I said to Hux, “hey buddy, remind me how old you are again?”
Because sometimes I look at him and I still see a baby, my sweet baby who curls up in my arms for comfort and kisses and couldn’t possibly be starting school in 3 short months. I can’t reconcile the growing boy in front of me with that tiny baby I spent a week cuddled up to on an overly warm hospital ward in that glorious May.
Gosh, that was a good May.
At four, my once-tiny baby does this super cute thing where he pretends he’s a pussy cat and crawls into my lap mewling and asking for strokes. I obviously oblige, saying “hello pretty kitty! Have you come for a cuddle?!” as he’s all “meow, meow, meow”. It sounds weird, and Hux 15 years from now is going to read this and curse the day his mother started oversharing on the internet, but I love it.
He’ll always be that tiny little snuggle monster at heart, and I love his genuine yearn for affection. I hope he never loses that.
My pretty kitty is an easy-going chap: he has never really made a fuss about what he has and doesn’t have. His sister is all eagle-eyed over who’s got the biggest slice of chocolate cake or the best Kinder egg toy but Hux couldn’t care less about such things. He cares about those cuddles, Thunderbirds, his buddy Tristan and his stinky mussie (a blankie, who he also insists I kiss every day).
Which is why, when his birthday rolled around this year, he was only bothered about the possibility of receiving a Tracy Island (which he did: it took me three hours to build it badly). But we’d had the really kind offer of a full-on birthday Bowling experience at our local Hollywood Bowl so, as all mothers should, I bullied him into the idea of actually celebrating his big day. I knew he’d love it once he was surrounded by his favourite people, having fun with unlimited cake. What more could you want at four, at five, at thirty?
And so we began the birthday party planning. The cake had been taken care of (Thunderbirds, natch) and we started sending out invitations. Hux only wanted to invite his four best friends so Elfie was allowed a couple of buddies, too. We booked in the event and started looking forward to the 15th May. Well, they did. I started bulk-buying stickers and blow bubbles for the party bags (again, Thunderbirds-themed. I fully expect my next living room decor theme to be Thunderbirds at this rate).
Very soon party day arrived, and it was the most smoothly run kid’s birthday party I’ve ever been involved in. Probably because I did absolutely zilch apart from observed and assisted with the bowling ;) But it was seriously all fantastic.
We were assigned Amy, a dedicated party leader, and she immediately took control of the excited kids and had them quiet and parading in a line through the venue to our own little bowling area with two lanes. I was impressed – commanding the respect and attention of 4 and 5 year olds? Not easy!
We were allowed as much bowling as we could fit into an hour – quite a lot, if you try hard enough! The children who hadn’t bowled before were taught how, and were supported by those ramp things to help speed the balls down the aisle. Bumpers were up too, which as far as I’m concerned was an entirely good thing, and all strikes and spares were rewarded with stickers. In short, I wish all games of bowling were this much fun.
Once everyone had enjoyed their fill of pins and balls, lunch was served in a massive pink Chevrolet: because why wouldn’t you want to eat a meal feeling like you’d just left the set of Grease?! The kids got to choose between standard options – chicken nuggets, macaroni cheese etc – and were served squash. They were given colouring in but were of course way too hopped up on their bowling prowess to even think about it ;)
Can I just take one second to draw your attention to the delight on this child’s face when he saw his Thunderbirds cake? He was SO excited over not just the cake, but the day – the brilliant staff at Hollywood Bowl, having all his friends around him to celebrate his birthday, the fun they all shared that day. It was truly a fantastic experience for his first birthday, one I don’t think he or I (or his sister!) will ever forget. I fully expect, next year when I enquire about what he wants to do for his fifth birthday, he suggests a bowling party.
As one who has previously hosted a ‘village hall’ birthday party – SO MUCH hard work – I would most definitely recommend a celebration like this again. Everyone had a good time here; me, the kids, even our party leader had a few laughs, too. And once it was done we got to go home, relax together and eat birthday cake for dinner. What more could you want?
Thank you so much to Hollywood Bowl for hosting Hux’s kids birthday party (packages start at £7.99). We’ll most definitely be back!