When I had my eighth birthday party many years ago, I threw a tantrum and locked myself into my room while all my friends stood outside and banged on the door.
History nearly repeated itself this year when my daughter turned eight. Yep, I nearly threw a tantrum and locked myself in my room again.
For the first time ever, I held my daughter’s birthday party at home. Why?
Because I felt she was too old to go to a children’s indoor play centre like she had in previous years.
Because I thought it would be a simpler and cheaper option.
Because I thought it might be fun.
Because I am totally out of my mind. Clearly.
Once I’d got my daughter to agree to having the party at our house, I suddenly started thinking about the things in the backyard that needed fixing before nine screaming kids swarmed all over it.
The wooden sleepers that were starting to rot away. The retaining wall that had bricks missing. The shed door that kept falling off. Just over $1500 later, the backyard was ready. But then I thought, what if it rains? The house can’t cope with the demands of nine pent-up children (and maybe I can’t either).
With a few days to go before the party, I started to think about everything I had to organise. With an adult party, you just buy some alcohol and sit back.
With a kids’ party, it’s not nearly as easy. You have to have games, prizes, food… it has to be meticulously planned, or you’ll have bored kids roaming your house. That could be very dangerous.
I madly researched party games online. I went on a shopping trip to buy little prizes, and my daughter and son liked them so much that they made off with half of them and I had to go on another shopping trip to buy more.
I panicked about food. How do you make sure all the hot food is ready at the same time when you have one tiny, dodgy oven? And what exactly do you serve at kids’ parties these days? Do you need to ring every parent and find out if their child has dietary restrictions for health or religious reasons?