Just twelve months ago, I wrote this blog post about how traumatised Sophie was when she came face-to-face with a full-sized Gruffalo.
Reading it back gave me shivers of horror remembering how upset she.
Fast forward twelve months though and we were hosting a third birthday party themed around a famous children’s character with turned out toes and a poisonous wart on the end of his nose.
Two questions spring to mind –
1) How did that happen?
2) How did it all turn out?
Read on to find out more.
For how it happened, it’s fair to say Sophie was a bit ambushed by it.
For Christmas, we bought her a Gruffalo cookbook. It’s an amazing recipe book which essentially teaches you how to transform a host of ordinary food into delicacies from the book – roasted fox, gruffalo crumble etc. And, naturally, this set the cogs whirring in the brain of my Bake-Off-obsessed wife.
So when we asked Sophie what she wanted for her birthday party, there was very much an agenda on our (her) side that would win regardless of Sophie’s wishes. Sure enough, Sophie’s first request of a “penguin party” was not latched on with a great deal of enthusiasm.
“How about a…hmm…gruffalo party?” my wife played it well.
“Er…OK…” Sophie responded.
“Great! It’s settled!”
And so there it was. Signed. Sealed. Delivered. We wouldn’t get to deck our house in the black-and-white of penguins after all.
Cue amazing amounts of preparation from my wife. She really loved the theme and went for it.
We had homemade Gruffalo Happy Birthday bunting on the wall.
Masks were made for the party bags. Created food ranged from “scrambled snake” (a cucumber chopped up, twisted round and looking like a pearly-green snake) to “forest mushrooms” (strawberries and banana) with an incredible Gruffalo-head cake as the centrepiece.
The house was split up into zones including a Gruffalo child area for the non-moving babies and Snake’s logpile house outside complete with snakes hiding just underneath the parched grass (porridge oats) scattered inside the house.
Fortunately, Sophie did get fully behind the idea and spoke excitedly about her “Gruffalo party” throughout the week leading up to it. Indeed, if you asked her what she was wanted for her birthday all she replied with was “A cake and a baby Gruffalo.” Before adding, with a nod to last year’s trauma, “I’m scared of the big Gruffalo.”
Sure enough, Harry bought her a little Gruffalo which she carried round with her – once we’d kitted them both out in Gruffalo outfits that is. Her little friends got into the spirit of it too. There were some amazing costumes in our house with each character featuring heavily.
In saying that, I didn’t have enough time to check out the clothes of the 14 toddlers who were invited round our house – it was more of a whirlwind trying to watch what they were doing, keep them entertained and safe. (They were having a great time to be honest).
The northern weather, despite threatening to tip down all afternoon, held out enough for us to spend some good time in the garden beforehand. This gave the children chance to charge around and take out all (OK, maybe just some) of their energy before descending inside.
My wife made Gruffalo cupcakes for the adults – very grown-up – which were duly demolished as the children tucked into their mice sandwiches and purple prickles before playing pass-the-parcel to finish. It was lovely.
Sophie had an amazing time and loved seeing all her friends. We are so thankful to everyone for coming and making her birthday party really special.
As for the Gruffalo, well he’s been up on her wall, she’s worn him and she’s even got a cute little one living in her bed. Surely, she’s put to bed the ghosts of February 2016. Surely…