Have you watched Extreme Kids Parties on Discovery TLC channel? I have. I’ve watched it in utter disgust at the over the top ways parents over indulge their child’s every whim and fantasy, taking it to extreme and vulgar levels.
This past weekend, Ava was invited to the birthday party of one of the little boys from her school. I was apprehensive about attending as I was attending without Walter and I’m rather uncomfortable in unfamiliar social settings but for Ava’s sake I knew I had to just suck it up and go. The party was held at the club house of one of Jo’burgs more exclusive private estates and I was already feeling anxious by my preconceived notion of the onslaught of competitive mommies that I was sure was bound to follow.
We arrived on time and what transpired over the next two hours has totally changed my notions of what is a great child’s party. For two hours, my child ran, screaming like a banshee, in her bathing costume, sliding along a slippy slide! In between having her feet knocked out from under her and getting kicked in the face and head a few times, she stopped only long enough to shovel a few handful’s of crisps into her mouth or to take a couple of bites on a cup cake. The child’s birthday party was exactly that, a party for children. And I can quite confidently say that every child at that party was having the very best time. I’m quite sure that every child at that party will remember the fun they had sliding down the slippy slide and sploshing into the pool of bubbles at the other end. They’ll laugh about how the balls got thrown at their heads, how they fell head first down the slide, they’ll squeal with excitement over who sprayed who with water in the face from the hose.
This party will go down in Ava’s books as the best party she has ever been invited to so far! Neither she, nor her friends will care that there wasn’t designer cup cakes or a birthday cake fit for a wedding or party packs with personalized labels or party favours, that cost a fortune and break about 5 minutes after being removed from their party pack! What they will remember and what she is still talking about, 2 days on, is how much fun the party was.
And that’s when it dawned on me……. that’s what a kids party SHOULD be all about!
Kids don’t care whether the cake was home made, bought at the local Pick ‘n Pay or made by one of Jo’burgs most prestigious bakers. They don’t care how pretty the party table looks, they care that there are fizzes, lollipops and chips to eat on that table. They don’t care how much the party cost, they don’t care if the party pack has a special personalized label, hell, apparently they don’t even care if the balloons are helium filled or regular, run of the mill, huffed and puffed and blown with mom and dad’s smelly morning breath!
This really got me thinking about Ava’s previous two birthday parties. Her first party cost me a small fortune, people fund wedding receptions on less. Granted it was a beautiful party, with lots of attention and care given to the small details BUT that party was about me, not about Ava. Her second party was more low key but was still a lot more to do with me.
I know this may sound ridiculous, but I have already started thinking about her 3rd birthday party, granted, it is still 10 months away, but you can never be too prepared right?
Well, after this past weekend, I’ve had a good long rethink about my plans. This years party will be different to the previous years. This years party is going to be all about Ava and her friends and fun fun fun!
I’m thinking a pool party, with boerie rolls on the braai, beach balls, slip & slide and an ice cream cake! And I bet it will be a party she remembers!
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