When Samuel's first ever party invitation dropped though our letter box, my first reaction was joy. What a milestone! He now officially has his own social life.
My second reaction was envy. I mean his social life is - even in its infancy - already better than mine. On the bright side, my new status as an eternal plus one means that my diary is bound to be packed too from now on. I just live in hope that Garlic and Shots will one day branch out into the toddler party package market.
My third reaction was horror. His manners need a bit of work. He's a hair-puller extraordinaire, a slave to his tantrums and a sweet treat thief. Our session at Monkey Music the day before had ended with a monumental buggy-refusal meltdown which led to fellow parents looking on with that mixture of sympathy and relief. Relief that it wasn't their child kicking off. Were we in for that kind of behaviour again at the party?
Luckily, we were not. Samuel was a pretty excellent guest. He played nicely with the other children and he had a whale of a time on the bouncy castle. He was the youngest by far but that didn't stop him from bouncing the highest and grinning the widest. He tucked into a plate of cake with eyes wide as saucers because he just couldn't believe his luck. Also, he wore chinos and a printed floral shirt. On a fully grown man an outfit such as this may have had connotations of ageing City trader on the razz, but Samuel somehow made the look his own.
And so it begins. I'm keeping my eye on the letter box, ready for the deluge.