Just when you think you know everything you need to know about parenting, it hits. You’re heading into the Birthday Battlefield.
What? Birthday parties are a problem? Yes, my friend they certainly can be. They can be a small world of pain for the unseasoned but once you get the hang of it, you’ll be cruising. Here’s 4 kids birthday parties you need to know about.
1. THE FIRST BIRTHDAY
First things first [pun intended]. This party is all about the adults. The child has no interest in this party. Indeed it will almost definitely involve a nap, bedtime or an all-out meltdown due to being over-stimulated. All the gifts bought are purely for the adults’ benefit. To make the giver feel good and to impress the receiver [which, contrary to what the invitation says – is not really the 1 year old. Otherwise you would give them a wrapped, large empty box full of more wrapped empty boxes]. First birthday presents are typically significant and expensive because, as you now understand, it’s about the parents. It is expected that alcohol be served and there is usually talk of ‘when are you having another?” This party also involves a strange new custom of making a separate birthday cake for the specific purpose of the child smashing it so that their parents can have stylised photos taken and posted on Instagram.
Tip for guest: Do not buy them a fluffy toy. They will already have hundreds from hospital and, if applicable, their christening.
Tip for host: If you want to avoid serving alcohol, have a morning tea celebration.
2. THE TODDLER BIRTHDAY
This has far more child focus than the first one. By now the birthday child will have shown some level of addiction to at least one ABC2 television show and so the party is usually themed. You can expect anything from Peppa Pig to The Wiggles. The good thing about that is it gives guests some idea of what to buy as a present. Toddler parties are often held in a party room at a play cafe which are a special kind of hell. They sound good right? Your kids can play while you café. Except there are hundreds of kids at these places and they are all screaming. They are typically staffed by young folk who don’t know how to make coffee and they’re unlicensed. The upside though is that the centre usually dictates the duration of the party – which is never very long – and provides a host to help wrangle the party goers.
Tip for guest: If you’re a coffee drinker, consider sneaking in a cup of your own favourite take-away coffee and a valium.
Tip for host: Having a party theme makes organising easier. If your little one has already shown a clear preference, keep your eye out for party gear on sale to save on costs.