Town Mouse

Be­ware uni­corn vomit

Country Life Every Week - - Town & Country -

SEPTEM­BER seems to be a par­tic­u­larly busy sea­son for chil­dren’s par­ties, com­bin­ing those held to cel­e­brate real birth­days with those that fell dur­ing sum­mer. In our own home we of­fer a birth­day tea party: a mod­est­sound­ing term for a rit­ual that in­vari­ably dev­as­tates the house. Af­ter my first ex­pe­ri­ence of set­ting things to rights af­ter­wards—ex­ca­vat­ing cake from the car­pet—i in­wardly de­ter­mined to make dra­co­nian cuts to fu­ture guest lists.

The ex­pe­ri­ence made me ever more im­pressed and grate­ful for those who plan more am­bi­tious oc­ca­sions. Last week­end, we at­tended the non­pareil of birth­day par­ties. There was a chil­dren’s disco, a chem­istry lab for man­u­fac­tur­ing slime— uni­corn’s vomit (pur­ple), troll’s bo­gey (green) and crushed fairy (pink)—and, most im­por­tantly, an ex­tra­or­di­nary spread of food and sweets. I was rep­ri­manded for try­ing to help my­self to jelly beans by a child ren­dered inar­tic­u­late by a lol­lipop the size of a small saucer.

The chil­dren re­turned home buzzing with ex­cite­ment (and su­gar). Very soon af­ter­wards, I was at work on the car­pet again, this time ex­tract­ing uni­corn vomit. As I did so, I won­dered darkly how, in fu­ture I might con­trive to ban chil­dren’s par­ties for­ever. JG

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