Spice of life | Hosting kids’ birthday parties no child’s play
They had by now grown into pre-tweens and couldn’t be expected to sit quietly and contemplate about life at the party. Creative games had to be designed to keep them engaged
I share an anxious look with my daughter as the traffic shows no sign of moving, and chide myself for venturing out to shop so late in the evening. Little Missy seems to be taking it in her stride, despite the long day she has had at school followed by home assignments. And why not! Her 11th birthday is a few days away. The adrenaline rush is high enough to make her leap from one shop to the other as she approves or disapproves of my selections of knick-knacks for the big day.
Hosting birthday parties is no mean feat these days. Who would have known that what started as an ardent effort to have a magical first birthday celebration for my little one a decade ago would transform into a challenging and stress-inducing mission.
On her first birthday, I had a mega celebration, with the party hall transformed into a fairyland with giant cut-outs of Little Red Riding Hood and Snow White.
The next few birthdays were quieter affairs with the extended family till she was in kindergarten and the entire army of perky Lilliputians who studied with her were invited.
For her fifth, I risked losing my life and limb trying to keep all the children in sight as they ran around at a soft play centre.
In the subsequent years, magicians with several tricks up their sleeve, tattoo artists, nail art professionals, all made their appearance as did the inflatable bouncy and a dreamy tent house.
A few more years down the line, I reckoned I was done with outsourcing and had contributed more than my fair share to the party-planning industry. So, bitten by the DIY bug, I decided to put my own game anchoring skills to test even though I knew it entailed running all over the party venue like a chicken without a head, trying to keep frenzied children under control.
The Lilliputians had by now grown into pre-tweens and couldn’t be expected to sit quietly and contemplate about life at the party. Creative games had to be designed to keep them engaged, for which I spent hours on Pinterest, scouring for ideas and making the required props. I also made my husband repeatedly call the vendor to deliver customised return gifts on time, making him sound like a loan recovery agent.
Thereafter, I was ready to quit The League of Naturally Artistic and Unflustered Parents, who make party hosting look like cakewalk, but that didn’t stop me from making ridiculous efforts to make every party better than the previous.
A week before her sixth birthday, one of her classmates’ mothers, a boutique owner, promised to design the finest evening gown for her. I rushed to her boutique soon after the conversation, day-dreaming about the perfect outfit complimenting the decor I had envisioned, when I suddenly noticed that the streets were eerily quiet. A curfew was to be enforced in an hour as followers of a self-styled godman had threatened to go on the rampage. Yet, I had set off on this foolhardy expedition.
For her 11th this year, I aim to recreate the charm of our own childhood parties at home with a simple menu and games, and a treasure hunt as the chief attraction.
A couple of years more to go, and I hope soon she would be a haughty teenager, organising her own private parties and not wanting the grown-ups or their party-hosting skills! firstname.lastname@example.org
The writer is a Jalandhar-based freelance contributor