After we moved into our new home, life became hectic and busy. Unfortunately for us, reality was biting us in the bum; we had to go back to work.
We are both serving Police Officers, and we carried on working full-time, at least initially we did.
We were lucky though, we found we had more angels in the family in the form of Ivans parents, or Nanny and Bampi as they are fondly known to the kids. It wasn’t merely by chance that they lived close by, we had after all moved back to where Ivan was born. The fact that we were so close however, was a godsend in the early days, still is in fact. Nanny and Bampi were more than happy to do all the childcare when Wil was young, and Ivan and my shifts overlapped.
Ivan’s parents had formed a really strong bond with Wil, very early on. Why wouldn’t they I guess. After all, he is the grandson that they never thought they would have, even in their wildest dreams. In turn, Wil adores his Nanny and Bampi and was more than happy to spend time with them. My thoughts were, and still are, that its healthy for kids to spend time with other, trusted, adults outside of the family home. We’ve found that rather than confuse our kids, its worked well to reinforce their attachment to us. And of course, it gives us a chance to work – or to have a break if we need it.
So, with a mix of working and the DIY that we had to do on the new house, the first year of Wils life simply flew by. Before we knew it we were planning his first birthday. Now this was a first for us, one of many that parenthood was bringing. We considered having a small, family affair, but quickly dimissed this idea. It had been a bloody brilliant year. A year filled with highs and lows, ups and downs. We deserved to celebrate. We also deserved to spoil not only Wil, but the amazing friends and family that had really proven their worth that year. We were going to party!
Ivan and Wil’s birthdays are only a few days apart, so we decided to combine the two and have an extended party – this has since turned into the Ponder-Sigston annual summer bash.
Planning a kids party was a whole new area of parenting that I hadn’t really thought about. But hey, surely I could call on my earlier mis-spent years partying for inspiration? I started planning and I loved it.
As many parents do, for our first party we opted for a pirate party, along with a bouncy castle. I took to the internet and started to order all manner of Pirate related items in preperation; from blow up Polly the Parrot to pirate flags, we had it all. And lets not forget the costumes. We didn’t make them mandatory, I hate that. But we certainly got into the spirit of it. We sent out about 100 invites to family and friends. We were looking at this as a chance to get together and really celebrate what had been an amazing year. We ordered in the BBQ food and started to prepare the buffet.
As the day drew closer I became increasingly nervous; would people turn up? Would they have fun? Would the sun shine for us? The joy of having a summer baby was, in theory, that we could make the most of the beautiful outdoor space we have and host the party in our garden. Would that really pan out?!
I woke the morning of the party to brilliant blue sky. I breathed a sigh of relief and with that all my concerns melted away. Our friends and family had more than shown us their outstanding qualities that year. They’d turn up and have fun. I just knew it.
I was happy to be proven right on that point straight away. As I wondered downstairs and into the top garden, I found Ivan’s nephew at the other side of the fence with a boat. He’d bought a bloody boat! Now that is really showing what a truly wonderful family we have. He had thought that we might need it for the party. He wasn’t wrong – between us we got it over the fence and into the garden. A few pirate flags and a fishing net and it was the perfect center piece to the party. We had just about got the last flags in place and the bouncy castle in and up, when the first guests started to arrive. They certainly didn’t let us down.
Wil and Ivan had a truly amazing day, in fact we all did. The sun shone, the kids played, the adults drank Ivans home-brewed Elderflower champagne. It was magical and a day that will always stay with me.
People drifted in and out throughout the day. Wil, having been utterly spoilt, he deserved it, was his usual easy self and went off to bed at about 8pm and straight to sleep. He must have been overflowing with the love and affection that he was shown by everyone that day. The party kids drifted home, happy, fed, and carrying the party bags they had earned from a treasure hunt.
The adults then partied until about 2am. Shattered as I was, I remember sitting on the decking with our amazing network of friends and family, slightly pissed, thinking just how perfect life was.
The media madness that had occurred a year before seemed a distant memory.
Our first party was a success! Another parenting point ticked off the list.
Ironically, it was only a short while later that we were approached by the magazine Marie Claire. They wanted to do a piece on us and our family. Unlike last time, this would be on our terms. Did we really want to stir up the hornets nest again though?
We had some serious thinking to do….