It is E’s birthday. She is very excited. So I have had my first taste of sorting out a birthday in New York. When I was a kid, birthday parties were at your house, you had games, birthday tea, birthday cake, wore your special yellow, long 1970s birthday dress and everyone went home happy. Maybe I have sepia tinted memories of the 1970s in rural England, but this doesn’t exist here. I did my research, I looked at local venues, I talked to the mums at the school and quickly established that there’s a birthday racket going on and it’s EXPENSIVE. I emailed the place nearby that does birthday parties for kids who are creative, want to make little books, hang out with their friends and have a cake. The usual thing. Ah yes, ma’am, that’ll be $850 plus tax plus tip! And that’s not unusual. Other venues wanted over $1,000 for a 2 hour hire, but they included the food, the cake and party bags, so that’s all right then. Blimey. I looked at ten pin bowling, a couple of hours of indoor, loud fun fuelled by cheap lager, but apparently that’s not what little girls want… I took E to a party where they allowed the kids to help themselves to frozen yoghurt that they served themselves from pumps in the wall and then covered in sweets. This left the parents to take their children bouncing home fuelled by their sugar high. So what did I go with? I have a very nice lady coming from a local petting zoo with some cute animals for the girls to pet and hold at my apartment. They will do animal -focused crafts, have birthday tea, birthday cake and (hopefully) go home happy. But I might just upgrade the party dress.