As a non-mum, I had the best, funniest, most lighthearted (yet slightly stressful) experience yesterday. I was first hand help at a 5 year old’s birthday party.
God it was fun.
At the ripe old age of 47, this was my inaugural effort as a supervising adult at a children’s only event.
I’m not joking when I say I’ve often pondered what goes on at kids’ birthday parties. I really have.
It’s weird not being a mum. I find myself wondering what I would have been like if I were.
Until yesterday, I wondered;
- How organised are kids’ parties? Are they a free-for-all or run with military precision?
- How many games is the go? Two, three, four?
- Are we still dunking for toffee apples, biting cinnamon donuts hanging from a string and pinning the tail on the donkey or are any (or all) of these somehow politically incorrect nowadays? (Don’t ask me how – I’m still getting my head around Mary and her little lamb being problematic.)
- Do parents of the guests stay, or is the host solely responsible for a menagerie of kids fueled with red food colouring?
- On the topic of food, what lengths does the host have to go to? Are dietary requirements established before cakes are baked?
These things and more filled my curious non-mum mind. I felt like the idiot asking my mum friends these questions, and I thought I’d never have the chance to find out for myself. That’s why yesterday was so enlightening for me.
What I discovered from the moment guest #1 arrived was that each and every child was a delight. Unique, entertaining, honest and pure. At 5 years of age or less, could they be anything but? I gushed and gooed a little, but stopped short at pinching their cheeks like my mum used to do. (Bless her soul; now I get it.)
Reassuringly as a non-mum, I realised that had I organised the party, I wouldn’t have done much different to the host. There was plenty to enjoy in the 90 minute time frame. Decorations, dress-ups, food (that painstakingly matched the theme) and just the 2 games. There were provisions for the parents too.
It was a scene that goes on in most neighbourhoods weekly, yet it was an eye-opener for me.
Pin the tail on the donkey was tailored for the soccer-mad birthday boy to become pin the player on the soccer ball. I laughed out loud as child #4 was blindfolded and swivelled once, twice, thrice before stopping, gathering himself, and stepping forward to pin his cardboard cut out so perfectly aligned into the silhouette figure on the soccer ball. It was cheating at its finest! And a real insight into human nature. Even at 5 years of age, some of us will do anything to win. Pity there was no outright prize for the effort.
On the subject of prizes, I learned that contrary to my childhood days, every player for Pass The Parcel now wins a prize. As I controlled the audio I giggled at how the kids turned to look at me with their eyes pleading for me to stop the music. Stop Miss Sue! Stop the song so I can win another prize! And I did stop. Once for each child, 2015 style.
The party was a hit. With 40 degree heat the parents didn’t hurry to gather up their children and leave. In fact they stayed well past the publicised party ‘end’ time.
I felt fortunate to experience the event. My curiosity was satisfied. Could I have successfully held a child’s birthday party if I had to? Yes. I reckon I could.
And I probably would’ve had a word to child #4 for cheating too 🙂