STRAIGHT TALK: America, you have so much to answer for

Kate and Nancy Chapman
Kate and Nancy Chapman
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So, tomorrow is a special day in the Chapman household – it’s Nancy’s half birthday; she will be a full 18 months old.

And what are we doing to celebrate this momentous occasion, I hear you cry? Well, in all honesty nothing.

A big fat zero. There will be no cake, no candles, no balloons and no presents.

Although it’s exciting to see our little girl growing up and becoming more independent each day, I’m happy to report we won’t be harnessing the latest spoiled brat trend hot-footing its way across the pond from our American cousins – the half birthday party.

According to various magazine and press reports I’ve come across in the past few months it would seem that more and more parents are bowing to peer pressure and jumping on the bandwagon, throwing extravagant shindigs for their offspring to rival the main birthday event.

Now I’m all for celebrations but this just smacks of parents trying to play oneupmanship with each other and perhaps, in turn show off their affluence. On the other hand, perhaps I’m just being mean?!

But the Yanks have got a lot to answer for – just look what they’ve done to the humble fifth form leavers’ prom.

In my day we got a lift in dad’s taxi to a disco at the South Holland Centre, where the bar was loaded with Panda Pops, Hula Hoops and Twiglets.

Nowadays parents are re-mortgaging their homes, working all the over time they can get their hands on, just to afford a Jordan-esque fairy princess dress and a helicopter to make sure their little darlings arrive in style... I rest my case.

But I digress, some of the parents interviewed about the half birthday parties gave the feeble excuse that their little ones were born in winter so they missed out on the ‘bouncy castle in the garden during the height of summer party’.

But let’s be realistic, chances are if you live in the UK you can’t be guaranteed good weather in the summer anyway. Take Nancy’s first birthday party – we all had to pull on our fleecy jumpers and jackets to head outside for half an hour and still almost froze to death... and that was in June.

So as much as I’m looking forward to Nancy reaching her next half-year milestone (even if it is one which will take us another step closer to the dreaded terrible twos) we won’t be doing anything out of the ordinary to mark the occasion – and I’m sure she’ll be none the wiser.

n We certainly won’t be forking out for another American craze supposedly selling like hot cakes – dubbed the ‘lollipox’.

Parents are snapping up these contaminated lollies at £31 a pop (pardon the pun) – to expose their young children to the chicken pox virus, because the disease can be more dangerous if caught in later life.

At the risk of repeating myself, the Americans have got a lot to answer for...