The middle of May is always a little bit hectic in the Evans' household.
There's Jas's ("don't call me Jasmine, call me Jas or Jazzy") birthday on May 15 followed very, very quickly by Ben's (who is only ever called Benjamin if he's been BAD) on the 18th.
It's either good or poor timing, depending on how far down the bottle of wine you are & how optimistic you're feeling.
The year we moved to Germany both children wanted bowling parties (they were 10 & 6), to Ben's disgust I organised them to be at the same time (but not together together, if you get my drift) so I had a few crazy hours and then it was all over and done.
And this year I think will have been just as 'easy', Ben's about to be 13, far too grown up (!) for a party (especially as I suggested maybe he'd prefer to have the cash equivalent - he's like one of those cartoon creatures whose eyes are like a fruit machine stopping to show dollar signs) and Jas was sorted out yesterday.
We invited all the girls (there were 9 in total - can you imagine the noise levels?) for 12 noon and after the present opening ritual* I fed them pizza (have you ever seen a child refuse to eat pizza?) and then birthday cake** before loading them all into 2 cars (mine seats 7) and going to the cinema.
The cinema in Essen offers a children's birthday party package which can include a look behind the scenes, that'll be great I thought & both Si and I were looking forward to seeing what goes on in the 'projection room' but no. It's only for the children we were told, we had to wait in the foyer and kick our heels for 20 minutes or so, but it seemed to impress the girls anyway as they all came away with a strip of celluloid, about 1 seconds worth of viewing I'm told (24 individual cells make up 1 second of viewed footage) We just had time to sort out the girls' dietary requirements (sweet or salty popcorn a fizzy drink of their choice) before getting seated in the theatre for that world famous German film 'Hier kommt Lola'.
We were pleasantly surprised, I have watched enough saccharine, sweet Disney stuff to have a lowered tolerance to cute kids with perfect smiles and straight white teeth who can sing and dance and (supposedly) act but the kids in Lola were OK (the baby was butt ugly) normal even and I guess we've (that'd be me and Simon) found our level of German film that we can understand....although I draw the line at anything that's dubbed, original German fine, but dubbed American/UK? No.
So another birthday has been celebrated, my little girl is another year older, and next year she'll be in double figures, how time flies.
*the present opening ritual, German stylee; the children sit in a circle each with their gift and put an empty bottle in the middle, the bottle is spun and whoever the bottle points at hands over their gift for opening. If children are to be collected from the party venue by their parents later on then it's good form to display all the received presents for viewing...
**I struggle with making traditional English birthday cake with German ingredients, they don't have self raising flour so you have to use plain flour and baking powder, the first year's cake looked like 2 biscuits sandwiched together, I wasn't pleased, but this year, this year I had some English self raising flour (smuggled contraband) and doubled the amount of the German baking powder I should have used, the result was a suitably fat and fluffy and moist sponge cake that I then smothered in rich chocolate butter cream.