Monday, 21 April 2008

The Queen Teen's two birthdays

The Teenager has yet again pulled off her annual trick of having two birthday celebrations.

She has cleverly arranged a party with her friends the weekend after she turns 14. Despite the fact that it is the Easter holidays so she could easily do this on the actual evening of her birthday. This means I have to organise an entire day of stuff on her birthday. And be nice to her. For two days rather than one.

The plans began several weeks ago. I tell her I'll to the restaurant but she tells me she already has. I offer to help with her costume, but she's got that covered too. She's already bidding on a Alice in Wonderland Queen of Hearts outfit on ebay. In my name. Snacks for the sleepover? She's called my mother with a shopping list.

''So how many girls have you invited to the sleepover?''
''Including or not including me?''
''Including you. Obviously. Unless you plan on sleeping elsewhere?''
''Ummm. About 7.''
'' You can't have an 'about'.''
''7 then.''
''Including you? So you've invited 6?''
''Oh. Well it's 8 then.''
''Jesus. Where are they all going to fit? We live in a two bedroomed terraced. 8 is the absolute max!''
''Don't worry Mum!'' She trills with rare optimism ''I'm doing a sleeping plan!''

The costume on ebay is modelled by a woman who looks like her main occupation involves wearing a lot less clothes. The Queens of Hearts was stern and scary and used to shout at all the little card men. I don't remember her looking anything like a ho' on the croquet lawn. I ask The Teenager what everyone else is coming as.

''Sexy Little bo peep, Sexy Little red riding hood, Sexy Miss Muffet, Sexy Alice in Wonderland''

I email the Queen of Hearts costume to The American, to get a male perspective. He replies saying I am sending the following message: ''Hey my 14 year old daughter is going to be a stripper for her birthday! Wanna stop by?"

5 days later and The Teenager's costume arrives on my desk at work. Fearful of my colleagues thinking I've taken up stripping or worse for extra cash -I unwrap it in a toilet cubicle and am relieved to discover it looks far more innocent than it did on the model slash actress.

April the 2nd arrives and it's exactly 14 years since I brought the most beautiful baby ever into the world. I make a fudge cake, it looks rubbish but tastes good. We have a great day, we get on brilliantly, there are no fights. I ponder the possible correlation between me being nice and us getting on.

3 days later and eleven 14 year old's descend on my house dressed in their stripper nursery rhyme costumes. Some have diverted from the theme and there is a sexy bumble bee and a muslim girl with a pair of Playboy ears over her hijab.

I call Amber into the kitchen to ask her who out of these 11 girls is sleeping over.

''All of them?'' she enquires hopefully
''I said a maximum of 8! Where will they all sleep?!''
''I don't know Mum'' and she looks at me with ridiculous puppy dog eyes ''Which ones should I send home?''

I'll give it to her. She's good.

''Well which ones have you not mentioned a sleepover to?''
''Just Little Red Riding Hood''
''So you have told 9 they can sleep? That's 10 including you.''

I peer into the living room and see Little Red Riding Hood munching a piece of birthday cake and drinking cherryade. She is the tiniest of the group and probably doesn't get picked for games.

I tell her that we'll obviously have to let everyone sleep.

''Thanks Mum!'' and she plants a kiss on my cheek.

And with that rarest of rare display of affection she skips off back to her friends.

Being nice is easier than I thought.

I might try it more often.