There is a knock at the door!!!
“There you go,” I say to Child #1 as I reach for the handle. “It sounds as if the first of your friends has arrived.”
There is a loud whooshing noise. Seconds later I am scraping myself off the carpet and staring behind me at a room packed with six-year olds.
We have agreed to hold Child #1’s birthday party in the house this year, as it is a lot cheaper than going out, and it cannot be that difficult. The arrangement is that the LTLP will look after the parents whilst I organise the children, as I am good at that sort of thing, being funny and resourceful. “They are here,” I tell her.
“Received,” she replies, on the walkie-talkie from the Panic Room.
I have put the iPod docking thing in the corner, for entertainment; Child #1 has selected ‘Blood on the Tracks’ to make the party go with a swing. I tell the parents to go through to the other room, to be looked after by the LTLP. Instead, they sit around on chairs, sofas etc., studying me.
There is a short lull.
“Right, erm, you have to all dance around now, to the disco,” I say. “Or do musical statues. We will do musical statues.”
I am getting the hang of this already. We play musical statues. I look at my watch. 0.000001 minutes have passed since the alloted party commencement, which means that there will probably be time for another game, even if I eke it out and allow the cheating kids to resume playing even though they have clearly been told that they are out. In the end I give most of the kids some sweets because it is easier and it seems to keep them quiet for another 0.000003 seconds, which is valuable time used up.
We play musical bumps. Again, I have to say that musical bumps is a much shorter game than I remember from when I was a small child. I distribute more sweets, as I am running out of the extensive repertoire of games that I have planned. The parents continue gazing at me, no doubt getting tips for their own parties.
“Right. Now, erm, dance around for a bit. It is a disco,” I command.
The children dance around for a bit, to the disco. I run into the next room, where I find the LTLP hiding in a kitchen unit.
“Get out of there,” I order.
“I am doing,” she responds, haughtily, “the food.”
I have a bright idea and draw a big picture of Prince Charles on a flattened cardboard box. Carrying it back into the lounge, I announce that we are playing a game of ‘Draw the Nose on Prince Charles.’ I see one of the parents shake her head sadly.
The children draw the nose on Prince Charles. Most of them get the nose in pretty well exactly the right place, which is probably something to do with me not being used to blindfolding children, well not in these circumstances anyway, so I give most of them some more sweets and order them to dance around again. I look at my watch once more, but due to some temporal warp, the time is now seven minutes before the party is due to start. The children dance around, although it seems that dancing around is becoming less interesting as the afternoon wears on, so I give them some more sweets.
“Erm, now you need to sit round in a circle,” I say, giving them some more sweets. “And we will play pass the… erm… cushion.”
“How do you play that?” demands one of the children.
“How do you play that?” demands one of the parents.
“It is very simple,” I say, giving them both some sweets. “It is a bit like, erm, pass the parcel, but you use a cushion. But when the music stops and you have the cushion then, erm. It is an exploding cushion. So you have to shout ‘boom’.
“Boom?” says the child.
“Boom?” says the parent.
“Boom.” I confirm.
We have a trial run. I stop the music and the children shout ‘boom.’ They seem to enjoy doing this, so we play ‘pass the cushion’ for two hours, shouting ‘boom’. I give them all some more sweets. The LTLP arrives with some tea.