It's S and A's birthday on Wednesday. They'll be five.
Pause for disbelieving intake of breath and how did that happen and gosh aren't they big type thoughts...
On Friday fifty-something children will be congregating in the village hall for a disco. That's both primary 1 classes and a few hangers on... I know, we're mad, but the theory is that at this stage they're still young enough (just about) to be controlled (and I've cunningly invited both teachers too), and we're never going to invite the entirety of both classes ever again. Ever.
Anyway, there will be cake, and singing, and candles, and gangnam style (heaven help me) and musical bumps and probably a sausage or two.
What there won't be though, whisper it, is any party bags.
No. Say it loud. I'm stingy and I'm proud:
THERE WILL BE NO PARTY BAGS!!!
But actually, it's not just my tight-fisted nature. Because there will instead be a book (£30 for fify books) and a small packet of haribo each.
But no party bags.
The girls went to Billy's party yesterday afternoon. They came back with this:
Now, I intend no disrespect to Billy's parents, who are hugely generous and put on a fabulous party for thirty children with magician (and real rabbit) and crisps and balloons and everything else you want if you're five.
But then somehow they're also expected to provide this bunch of, quite frankly, tat. I have no idea what half that stuff is or does - the little plastic figures for instance, or the things that look like suppositories. They rattle incidentally, but don't open, rather to the girls' disappointment.
The whole lot (chocolate coins, colouring books and the big blue hairbands excepted) went in the bin within ten minutes of bedtime last night. It has not been missed.
And it's the waste that really gets me. There are intelligent, committed workers in China or Bangladesh who spend their days and their human energy making this stuff. It then gets shipped across the world, to get sold (because, as I say, I don't in any way fault Billy's parents' generosity) to people who mostly resent buying it, to get put into little plastic bags (also doubtless made overseas and shipped here in vast containers of more plastic rubbish), to get given to children who neither need it nor miss it when it's gone, only to get thrown away and then, almost certainly, shipped back to China to get shoved in landfill.
How can any of that possibly be right?