26 March 2014
When I had my first baby, the idea of a dinner party seemed ridiculous. What? Having people round to eat off a table instead of throwing baby gunk onto the kitchen floor? What was the point? Besides, we wouldn’t be able to have any adult conversation. The baby was bound to wake up – that’s if he wasn’t already awake when the guests arrived.
My NCT friends felt exactly the same.
Yet miraculously, over the next few months, we all went ahead and did have dinner parties. Usually they were with friends we knew well, who didn’t mind if small feet pattered down the stairs, demanding a cuddle and a slice of chocolate pudding.
But every now and then we had some guests who weren’t so keen on having chocolate stains smeared all over their silk evening trousers. ‘Ugh!’ declared a friend’s girlfriend when this happened. ‘Isn’t he house-trained yet?’
I’m glad to say she got her come-uppance. The friend married her and now they have three kids who run riot. In fact they haven’t had us round since the first one was born.
As the years have gone by, so our dinner parties have changed. ‘Have you got to have people round,’ said my 22 year old son not that long ago. ‘I was hoping to have some of my mates round for a few cans of beer.’
Talk about being pushed out of your kitchen! In the end, we made an uneasy compromise. He and his friends had a take-away in the kitchen while I dashed in and out, carting burned vegetarian roasts (I’m a veggie) and chicken mish-mash (I’m also a lousy cook) for my guests in our dining room/sitting room.
‘Sounds like your boy is having quite a party in there,’ drawled one of our guests who happened to be my friend’s new American boyfriend. ‘Mind if I go in and chat?’
It wasn’t quite what he had in mind. But the funny thing was that before long, both sides were sitting round the kitchen table, roaring with laughter. Far better than the stilted conversation from before.
‘Great food,’ grinned the American as he worked his way through the take away fish and chips. Was that a compliment?
‘Wow,’ said my son, after everyone had gone. ‘Thanks. My friends had a great time. Did you know that American bloke is a sociologist? Apparently he’s writing a paper on the strange eating habits of English families. We’re going to be famous, Mum!’
Watch this space.
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