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Fostering Blog - Happy 16th Birthday!

Published on: 2017-07-20 13:15:00

 

birthday balloonsFor those that follow the blog, you may be wondering why there's been no mention of M’s big 16th birthday party.

Last year M’s birthday virtually took over the whole summer and involved meltdowns, crisis management, dress discussions, invitation indecision and was a major source of stress in our house. One of the biggest causes of door slamming was M's unwillingness to understand the need for a budget and sticking to it. However, a year is a long time in a teenager's life and whilst she is still no expert in budgeting and money-management she has certainly improved.

There is rarely any pleading, now, to tap into next week’s pocket money or a desperate pantomime of why she simply must have the new T cut dress in New Look and how I'm going to ruin her life if I don't let her get it!

She now regularly uses her bank account and I even transfer a portion of her pocket money once a week into it. It's not always saved, but there is more of a chance with it in her account, than in her pocket. She has big wishes for the future and finally understands that saving is one of the ways she's going to achieve her dreams. We are in a lucky position of having driving lessons paid for by M’s local authority and we told her that we will match any savings she makes towards a car.

The big 16th birthday party has been a topic of conversation since March with “I want this, I want that”, “I want ice skating on the moon”.

But, instead of limiting or lecturing her we gave her the responsibility of choosing and organising it herself. We compromised and debated about the budget; M’s viewpoint is turning 16 is a big deal. Whilst we agreed, we also wanted her to have something to look forward to when she was 18 and 21 which is where the compromise came in. With a budget in her hand and a list from us telling her exactly what she can and couldn't do and how we would absolutely under no circumstances increase her budget, she spent weeks and weeks looking through websites, watching YouTube videos and vlogs to plan the perfect event. I told her she could have it in our new back garden, but she's decided against that.

M also decided against a venue and a theme, and told me back in June that she wants to have a meal at a restaurant. She said a themed event is immature and could she order wine with a meal? I praised her for her decision making and planning skills, along with her research, but said no to the wine.

I explain to her that a meal in the restaurant would still need planning and organising as you couldn't just turn up with 20 friends. I suggested the number of people she could take with the budget we had given her and she chose the restaurant and it surprised me. If you ask M where she wants to go for a meal, it is always, without fail, at Nando's. She told me everybody goes to Nando's and she's chosen an independent Italian restaurant near us. It might be because of the good looking young waiters or it might be for the fantastic garlic bread!

With the venue decided it was taking an age for her to finalise numbers, which has been an issue as the restaurant had requested a deposit. She wanted to invite her entire class but I've explained her budget won't push to that so I suggested narrowing it down to some people from school and some from her Saturday drama class. She agreed as most people know each other and she's also invited a local mini celebrity vlogger who vlogs about fashion and modelling. She hasn't replied yet.

To make life easier for M, I've asked the restaurant to come up with a menu of five choices for the evening. From my years of organising office Christmas parties, I know how much hassle it can be getting people to make choices from 15 meal options and I wanted to pay up front. It’s involved me chasing down parents’ email addresses, but I prefer that so I can relax on the night.

So with the organisation done, the guest list finally chosen, the menu and bill sorted, all that’s left is for M to decide what to wear. She has narrowed it down to 36 outfits.

You think I'm kidding? I'm not.

She has laid each one out on her bed, photographed it and uploaded it to Instagram where she and her friends have been discussing their choices.

As a special treat Hubby is taking her to a posh nail bar where the occasional C List celebrity has been known to get their nails done. She is very excited. Hubby is not.

With the big party on Saturday hubby is on lift and crisis duty, and J and I are going to have pizza, hang out together and watch a movie. I'm not sure how many reruns of the Lego movie I can take, but it’s worth it as he's had to put up with an awful lot of M’s party planning and has even been roped in to the outfit decision making.

J has just asked me if turning 10 is a ‘big’ birthday. I said of course, what shall we plan?

He thought about it for 15 seconds and said, predictably, McDonalds. Sorted.

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