A Traditional Kids Party
Next time I say ‘lets have a traditional kids party and invite 25 hyper five year olds’, please can someone slap me round the face with a wet fish! #needwinenow !
This is what the Facebook status on My Boys And Me page read at 7pm on Saturday night!
We started a little tradition a few years ago of celebrating our sons fifth birthdays with a good old fashioned childrens party. No bouncy castles, no paid entertainers and no soft play centres. Just good old fashioned fun.
It all seems like a good idea in theory…………..until all of the children start to arrive and you think back to the party your own child was a guest at last week where all the children charged around soft play for an hour before sitting down to nuggets and chips whilst the parents chatted away in the background. You then start to question why on earth you are putting yourself through this ordeal!
I felt very organised before the party with my list of six party games……….until I proudly showed it to my husband who looked at me with horror telling me that would last all of half an hour. I knew at that moment it was going to be a very stressful two hours!
Our first game of dodge ball turned into more of a ‘run around in a circle kicking any ball that happens to come close by.’ Our piggy backs race had to be aborted for health and safety reasons as the first racers tumbled head first onto the floor! My two eldest children who were meant to be ‘helpers’ at the party showed their competitive side as they raced around musical chairs like they were ship wreck survivors fighting for lifeboats.
Not a moment too soon, the kids sat down for their party food. Now I have never proclaimed to be the best cook in the world but you would think that even I could make a few decent sandwiches for a kids party right? Wrong! I had the bright idea to make up the sandwiches that morning and then put them all back into the bread bags to keep them ultra fresh. This apparently was not one of my finest moments though as the sandwiches turned into a squashed mass of limp looking bread. I was pretty sure the kids wouldn’t really care but knew that every parent in the room would silently be thinking what an epic fail it was.
Then, as if that wasn’t enough, my home made monkey cake (ok, semi homemade as I bought a chocolate cake from the shop and then attempted to decorate it to look like a cheeky monkey!) wouldn’t fit on the cake platter. There was only one thing for it. I quickly grabbed the laundry basket I had carried all the food in, turned it upside down and placed the cake on it. I then tied a random piece of material around it to disguise the fact that it was a laundry basket! Bear Grylls would be impressed at my versatility and adaptability would he not? Anyway, I thought I had almost got away with my unconventional method of presenting the cake until my eldest tugged at the piece of material questioning why on earth his brothers cake was on such a big platter. He was delighted to see his mum had gone a little bit crazy again and announced to the whole room ‘She’s got it on a washing basket!.’ My cue to run back to the kitchen and hide!
Before we knew it musical statues was going strong and the kids were strutting their funky stuff in an attempt to win a large marshmallow for the funkiest move award. Even my little birthday boy who saves his best dance moves for the safety of our front room dropped down to the floor to do a little break dancing. The kids loved bashing the piñata and rushing in to get the sweets that tumbled out of it as I yelled fruitlessly at them to wait until the stick had stopped flailing around their heads. It was loud, it was crazy and it was stressful. I came away thinking, NEVER again!
But then I started to get texts and facebook messages from people saying how much their kids had loved it and how much fun they had. After a couple of hours of reflection I could see that it did actually go pretty well and the kids really did enjoy themselves. It is very rare these days to go to a totally interactive kids party where the parents run the party games. The thought of it terrifies most people and I can totally understand why.
No-one is going to remember how awful my sandwiches were or how ridiculous the birthday cake looked. My son is going to remember how everyone loved bashing the piñata. He is going to remember everyone cheering each other on as they wore their hands down playing tug of war. It is easy to get lost in the stress of it all and miss how much fun everyone is having when you are in charge of a party like this and that is definitely what happened to me on Saturday. Looking back now, I can see that it was a success and given the choice for my next son’s fifth birthday, I would probably do it all over again!