As I dropped my daughter off at a birthday party yesterday I realised just how far she had come.
At three I would have doubted she would ever be invited to a party, never mind that she would want to go. At five birthday parties were fraught, Meltdowns frequent, I dreaded them more than the dentist. When parents stopped staying at seven, I would sit outside in the car praying she would cope, suspecting she wouldn’t.
Fast forward to yesterday aged nine.
The party was Harry Potter (which just happens to be Number One’s thing) themed. This meant she was up, dressed and ready by nine a.m. for a two p.m. birthday party. Her outfit had been carefully chosen; cool yet themed: jeans, a Griffindor Quidditch T-Shirt, a denim jacket and a Griffindor badge.
This was a girl on a mission.
The party invitation, declared there would be O.W.L.S. (Wizard Exams – for those of you not initiated), Number One declared she would come top.
I inwardly worried, and outwardly warned her not to be upset if there were mistakes in the questions.
Parents we reminded her are only human. Anyone can make a mistake.
Upon arrival we were greeted by a real life owl, and I realised this was going to be a pretty impressive party. I began to relax, there was clearly some wizard expertise in this family. Maybe all would go to plan.
And then came the sorting hat.
Number One, looked at me in horror. Firstly because she hates being the centre of attention and secondly because she was desperate to be in Griffindor.
Her eyes pleaded with me to rescue her, but her legs walked to the hat.
Then she was sorted. Into Hufflepuff.
Silence reigned as she took her badge and walked into the hall. Her eyes glared. Her body language threatened meltdown as the words “I am not wearing that” came out of her mouth. I bent down and gave her a choice, she could stay calmly – even despite the imperfections that the party held or she could come home and do something else.
She chose to stay.
Two years ago she wouldn’t have done that. Her choice would have been different. She made a wand, shopped at Honeydukes and flew an owl.
She not only survived the party but enjoyed it.