I am playing table football with the Duracell Bunny. It is an art form in itself. Wayne Rooney, eat your heart out!
I have taught the DB a number of footballing anthems.
He can now roar: "Eee, Aye, Adio, we've won the Cup!" and give a spirited "Come on you Bluuuu-es!" I have introduced him to the sanitised version of "Oh, my, what a referee!" and he knows the first line of "Spurs are on their way to Wembley." The fact that
he only knows the first line is because that's the only line I know. Well, it has been some time...
Young Morgan is a demon at table football. We are having to play with a small plastic golf ball as the original
football has gone missing. Lots of things go missing in the Little Welsh Boys' house. There is a box on one of the kitchen surfaces full of small items which have gone missing from a game or a Lego model or a train layout, all awaiting a reunion with their
Box of Origin. A reunion, moreover, which is unlikely ever to arrive. The size of the golf ball means that it is slightly out of proportion to both the goals and the players but this also makes for some interesting flights of the ball when it gets caught between
the opposing players' plastic legs and is forced upwards, over all the players' heads and, occasionally, into an open goal mouth. We keep track of our scores on individual score cards but Morgan keeps starting from 1 again which is giving me a slight false
You may be thinking that I was supposed to be helping out with party preparations, rather than indulging my Inner Football Manager, but the Darling Daughter in Law says I am every bit as much use
just playing as I would be packing up the party bags. Especially as she can closet herself away in the front room, with the two older boys and the wherewithal for making up 33 party bags, while Young Morgan keeps me busy in the back room. A fair division of
labour, don't you think?
When we arrive at the party venue we are faced with pandemonium as the party before ours is still sitting round the long party table, indulging in crisps, sandwiches, biscuits and
other party fare, quite a lot of which has landed on the floor. The Mother of the Party Person (as in the other mother, not our mother) is cutting up a truly enormous birthday cake in the shape of a Minion. Personally I think James's birthday cake, with Pinkachu
on top, is far superior because you only have to take one look at it to see the love that went into the making of it.
At three o'clock precisely the doors of the gymnasium open and our 33 party goers, plus
assorted parents and the odd grandparent (that'll be Mr B and me, then) surge into an amazing area full of equipment for running, jumping, swinging, bouncing, tumbling, hanging upside down, hanging the right way up. My Boy, father of the Little Welsh Boys,
is in his element. He always was a Big Kid. I remember taking him to a soft play area with Young Sam when Sam was not that much older than the Duracell Bunny is now and he was in there in the ball pit, climbing up the slide and jumping about between the swinging
pillars like any three year old. Another small child, watching him play, asked Sam seriously: "How old is your brother?" Loved it.
The youngsters run, jump, swing, bounce, tumble, hang upside down and hang
right way up for well over an hour, their cheeks growing ever pinker with the effort. I take Mr B and the Duracell Bunny outside for a welcome breath of fresh air half way through. What weaklings we are! I used to be able to survive a two hour party in my
own house without flagging. OK, maybe I did flag a bit. Plus I was a whole lot younger in those days. That is one of the blessings in being a grandparent. You can be useful in a multiplicity of different ways without having to take on any of the responsibility.
Tea is served. The Darling Daughter in Law has a helpful list with everyone's names on, together with whether they are having chicken nuggets, sausage, burger or hot dog. All plus chips with lashings of tomato sauce.
It is a major undertaking, dispensing the largesse. I trail behind My Boy with jugs full of orange squash and water, filling plastic cups and patting heads. I can't resist patting heads as I pass by, it's an automatic reflex on my part. I think I may need
to develop some restraint.
The party bags are all set out on a table near the door, waiting for the addition of a slice of birthday cake before James hands them out to the departing guests. First of
all, however, my favourite part of any party - the singing of Happy Birthday. What would a party be, without it? In comes the cake, borne aloft by the Darling Daughter in Law aka Masterchef. Everyone starts singing and believe me with forty-odd voices united
in song we make a rousing chorus. There are six candles atop the cake and, as it is presented to the Birthday Boy, they illuminate his sweet, bespectacled face in a soft, rosy glow. He looks uncannily like his dad at the same age. I have to stop singing for
a bit because the Usher Gene has me in its grip and I am all choked up.
Football anthems are all well and good but, as anthems go, really and truly, there's nothing to beat "Happy Birthday".