I RSVP'd a few days later, not wanting to seem TOO keen and then forgot all about it. We usually talk about things that are happening soon quite a lot. It seems to help him be less of a deer in headlights during a new experience and gives him lots of opportunity to reassure himself, for example by having the chance to ask if I'm definitely going to stay with him! Well this time, we were busy worrying about house contracts, so we forgot to 'prep' him until the morning of the party. He didn't seem phased by the idea at all and didn't even question whether I would go with him or not, he just assumed (rightly) that I would!
So off we went, leaving Daddy and Duck at home napping (yes, both of them). I was quite looking forward to meeting the Mum of the birthday boy, partly because she doesn't do the preschool drop-off, so we'd only ever seen the boy's Grandma, but mostly because her middle son has the same (pretty rare) name as Bambi so I knew I'd like her. Great minds think alike.
Sure enough, the first conversation we had was "God I was so annoyed another boy was called 'Bambi' at preschool, weren't you?" and we both were, so it was ok.
The party was brilliantly run at our local leisure centre and split into 30 minute sections which is exactly right for a bunch of 2-3 year olds! 30 minutes on a bouncy castle and gym equipment, 30 minutes in soft play, 30 minutes eating nuggets, chips and ice cream. Then a tuneful (?) rendition of Happy Birthday and home to bed. I couldn't have planned it better myself. We even got party bags, which I felt quite bad about having spent a whopping £2 on the boy's birthday present (a pirate puzzle.)
As always it was a dream having time with Bambi on my own, but it was also nice to talk to the other mums. We even exchanged first names, so now I know 2 of them as real people, not just "Jim's mum" and "Jessica's mum". That's pretty big news in my life, knowing another adult's name!
My favourite bits were bouncing on the bouncy castle while he lay down, so my bounces sent him flying and seeing him jump off the gym equipment. He's such a cautious little guy, it took him months to conquer the tiny step from Granny's back door to her garden, but I think he's getting braver. A couple of weeks ago he wouldn't have even jumped off a curb without holding hands but at the party he jumped off something as tall as himself. Maybe Duck's fearlessness is catching?
The party was a huge success, we had a brilliant time and I made a few more connections to local mums, which made me feel a bit more 'home' in our new town.
The icing on the (immaculately decorated dinosaur shaped) cake was the fact that only 4 children from preschool had been invited. I had assumed the mum would have invited the whole class. (They're not really split into classes but the 2 year olds do most things separately away from the bigger ones). I was a bit concerned that there weren't many children there and asked the mum how many she had invited. Turns out she only invited the 4 of them! I was surprised and intrigued as to how she's wheedled four names out of him. If I asked Bambi he'd tell me "marmalade, Sarah and Mrs Hat" were his best friends, or that he "never plays with ANYONE" depending on the day of the week!
I was amazed to hear that she had found out which 4 to invite by asking the teachers who her little boy played with the most and got on best with. Yep, it wasn't just that her son remembered Bambi's name because it's the same as his brother's. She hadn't picked four names from the class list at random. She had found out her little boy's actual, real-life top four friends. And Bambi was one of them!
My heart is still so full of pride that Bambi was in the boy's top four! I am aware of how silly it sounds, but I could literally weep with joy that he's in someone's top four friends.
But then, why wouldn't he be? I always knew he was awesome!