Not much excites a child like the prospect of a birthday party, especially their own. I asked both of my kids to list 3 of their favourite things; in order of preference, with 1 being their absolute favourite; and I quote…
Juliet (11 years old)
3. “Rolling my eyes at my parents when I know I’m wrong but don’t want to admit it”
2. “Putting away washed clothes in a manner that respects the garment”
1. “Birthday parties”
Iggy (3 years old)
3. “Did you say Birthday party Dad?”
1. “Birthday parties”
Undeniable results in favour of birthday parties, I’m sure you would agree…
When it starts getting close to their birthdays I am known to get just as excited as they do. I love hyping them up because I want them to have amazing memories of being a kid. Juliet usually chooses a sleepover these days over a party because she’s at the great age where staying up all night is as rebellious as it gets. Unfortunately in 3 years she’ll be smoking cigarettes out of her bedroom window and stealing alcohol from me to get the same rush. The last party we had for her was I believe her 8th, which coincides with the anniversary of the time I gave up baking birthday cakes for the remainder of my life…another story, another time.
Since then we’ve had Iggy’s 1st birthday and a very low key 2nd birthday party. 1st birthdays are so strange; they remind me so much of the honeymoon period of a new relationship. You’re so stupidly in love with this new person who you’ve hardly spoken a word to and all you want to do is scream it to the world. Instead of screaming to the world you attempt to bankrupt yourself by buying a nonsensical amounts of food and over-priced party supplies to impress someone who on the day, is so fucking overwhelmed by 100 strangers screaming “HIP-HIP HOORAY!” at them that they cry endlessly forcing you to call 1300-HEALTH to discuss symptoms of dehydration.
3rd Birthday parties are a piece of cake though right? Why not ask my wife…
“We’ll just do a simple sausage sizzle” – Kristina Childs, April 2015
You really cull your numbers by the 3rd birthday, right? At the 1st birthday you invited your butcher’s neighbour’s sister to come on over and witness just how much you love your child. By the 3rd birthday you start asking how important it is for your own mother to attend, who is just lucky I was feeling generous on invitation day. So we wound up with 30-ish people invited to a sausage sizzle in a local park that was going to not only be a stress free environment but hopefully an easy clean up. I like parties in the park mainly because the children have the opportunity to entertain themselves on the equipment while the parents sit around, eat my food and discuss how little we have in common with uncomfortable small-talk.
I make a list of everything that needs to be done, and with Kristina away working, it overwhelms me slightly. It paints a fragile picture of my character that a list containing the words “make popcorn, and buy sausages” registers on my anxiety meter. Despite my best efforts to complicate a Saturday sausage sizzle though, the Thursday before rolls around and everything seems to be in order. I’ve got Iggy-personalised bags of duck feed, lucky dip prizes for all the kids and a Frozen bike that’s finally going to make Iggy forget about that time I dropped her on her head in Thailand.
That’s about the time everything started to go wrong…
First thing’s first, revisiting the invite list I have clearly forgotten to invite some pretty important people…NUMEROUS entire families of pretty important people. Followed by a friend visiting and wondering if the party was still going ahead due to the weather…what weather? Oh just that giant strom cell that’s coming through half of Australia tomorrow and threatening that flood prone park you plan on having your party in. Forget the houses under threat! DOESN’T SOMEONE KNOW IT’S IGGY’S BIRTHDAY!
Friday arrives and indeed a ridiculous amount of rain with it. We inform everyone the party is now to be at my parent’s house (lucky I invited them after all) but the pressure of wasted duck feed bags is almost too much for me. I google “how to tie a noose”, but before I get a chance to purchase some rope or consider how distasteful this joke is, Kristina returns home…we are saved! I spend the remainder of the day changing duck feed bags to popcorn bags, making fruit skewers and cutting enough onions to make Stevie Wonder cry. I put Iggy to bed that night and we are all so excited about her big day the next day. She promises to wake up and yell from her bed “I’m 3 now everyone!”. I go to bed myself picturing her little face when she sees that bike in the morning and I have the biggest smile on my face.
The morning rolls around and I bounce out of bed when I hear Iggy stirring in her room. Waiting patiently to hear her yell, instead I hear a sound that makes my heart sink. Iggy lets out a loud barking cough followed by the sound of some very unhappy tears. She walks into our room a full-blown snot machine, the world’s most unhappy full-blown snot machine. We try to snap her out of it by reminding her what day it is but she couldn’t care less. Quite the opposite, she was yelling that it wasn’t her birthday. We do the only responsible thing and pump her full of paracetamol. On the plus side it IS a beautiful day outside; lucky we moved the party though as the park is under 6 foot of water. A friend calls to let me know his house had a foot of water go through it and he wouldn’t be able to make it to the party. Who does this guy think he is…disrespecting my family and the sanctity of a 3rd birthday party with this piss poor excuse. Sometimes all it takes a 3rd birthday party to bring out people’s true colours.
After an hour Iggy slightly comes around to the fact that it is indeed her birthday, so finally the presents are handed over. 2 weeks of watching nothing but Frozen and all the kid can say when I bring in the bike is “what the hell?”. Not to mention she can’t tell the bike’s got Elsa and Olaf plastered all fucking over it. Forget the snot Kristina! Our precious child is blind!
With the snot and obvious partial blindness, we decide to cancel the party. We will still go down and see the family but let everyone with kids know it’s a no go zone. Once we get down to my parents a few old friends inform us that the safety of their own children is of little importance to them and they still want to party. This was great news for Iggy (who was still producing record quantities of snot, but in good spirits), not great news for the 1kg of sausages I had downgraded to. Still, we made it work and trashing my parents house was just as much fun as I remember.
Happy Birthday Iggy x