Sunday, September 9, 2007

Children's Parties - an adults survival guide

Children's Parties - An Adults Survival Guide

You would think, wouldn't you, that the main aim of a Children's
Birthday Party or, for that Matter, any Children's Party, was to
make sure that the "little darlings" have a lovely time.

Well, I'm going to let you into a secret, It's Not.

The primary objective of a Children's Party is to ensure that
the adults present stay alive and maintain some perceptible
level of sanity and that the house the party is held in remains
an insurable piece of real estate.

No matter how much money you spend on entertainment for your
children's birthday party - bouncing castles, magicians, The
Rolling Stones, live elephant rides - the "little darlings" are
going to prefer climbing anything that projects from the outside
of your house, smothering the cat with 'silly string', feeding
the $1700 pedigree dog play-dough or hurling sticky food at
passing old aged pensioners.

The older children, those over the age of eight, will be behind
the garden shed smoking your lawn clippings.

If you are unfortunate enough to have a swimming pool, the water
in it will be the colour of very weak tea by the end of the
festivities and you'll have to get the hazardous waste experts
in to sanitize it for you and stop it being a mortal danger to
indigenous wildlife.

The most popular entertainers, at children's parties, are the
clowns. I'm sure that you've all heard the song "The Tears of a
Clown". That song was written by an entertainer at children's
birthday parties.

You can never hire a clown for a mid-week party as they're all
in specially set up, Mental Health Department Funded, Clown
Sanatoriums receiving intensive electric shock treatment to get
them ready for the next Saturday afternoon's gig.

I feel sorry for the poor mothers who have to officiate on these
perilous occasions. Hours and hours spent baking delicacies only
to find that the guests prefer throwing and wearing the food
rather that eating it. It would make any mother wish that she'd
piled the table high with half-bricks covered with icing and
hundreds and thousands.

If the party started at 2pm, by 3.45 all the mothers are huddled
together in the bathroom taking turns at swigging from the
gallon flagon of cooking sherry. They're safe in the bathroom,
the kids won't want the bathroom, why should they? There's a
perfectly good swimming pool outside.

The fathers are, of course, doing their best. They've either
gone fishing or are in the pub watching the football.

I suppose that I should, at this point, start giving you some
ideas on how to stop this chaotic event turning into a full
scale disaster that necessitates the mobilisation of the
National Guard and all other emergency services.

Let's have a look at a few 'damage control' ideas.

Firstly it is a terrific help if you, or someone close to you,
has a military background.

Planning is the name of the game for these fiascos. They have to
be planned, well in advance, with military precision. I wouldn't
go so far as to suggest snipers on the garage roof, but just
about everything short of that.

One of the major problems is to make sure that the children's
party keeps ALL CHILDREN occupied at ALL TIMES. There
must never be any lull in the proceedings. Un-occupied children
cause havoc. It was un-occupied children that caused the
downfall of the Roman Empire, the Black Plague, both World Wars,
Country and Western Music and the invention of the musical

Keep them occupied! The children's birthday party must
flow like high grade lubricating oil. It is essential that as
one organised activity ends, another starts. Never, ever, give
the "little darlings" time to think of what they'd 'really' like
to be doing.

Allowing children to decide what 'they' want to do is inviting a
disaster of monumental proportions unless the orange juice has
been liberally laced with valium. Your children's party will
make the American Revolution look like a casual disagreement
between two three-toed sloths.

Bored children at a children's birthday party would mean the end
of civilisation as we know it. Keep them busy, give them no time
to think, heaven help us all if boredom sets in.

Make a timetable, have all the weaponry required for each
activity prepared and in cardboard boxes, in chronological
order. For example - sack race 3.10 start - 3.20 finish - egg
and spoon race 3.20.03 start and so on.

Did you notice? Only 3 seconds between events, any more than
this and boredom sets in. Goldfish have a three second memory
span, children, at children's parties, have a three second
'un-occupied quiet time' span. Any longer than three seconds
and, well, you get the idea.....

You can give each of the children an empty cardboard box to take
home with them. Just tell them it's a special present. This
saves a lot on cleaning up after the party.

Military planning is also required when it comes to setting up
the area for this funfest. No, not the kind of military planning
that goes on in the White House, REAL military planning.

Make sure that the food area is well away from the activity area
otherwise the food area WILL BECOME the activity area.

If you have neighbours, make sure that the area is well secured.
It is not good for future relations, or the value of the real
estate, to have hordes of un-leashed, sugar filled little
children carrying out an unrestrained rampage through the
neighbouring properties. The street will look like Baghdad in
three minutes flat.

Electrified razor wire immediately springs to mind, or half a
dozen hungry Rottweilers, but maybe your local hardware store
doesn't stock that sort of child restraint. After all, not
everybody lives in Texas.

We now come to the food. I've always found it a good idea to
make everything 'individual and soft'. Portion control
eliminates arguments and soft foods eliminate the need for sharp
objects at the table. Children arguing and sharp objects are not
an especially healthy combination.

More substantial food should be limited to things like French
Fries, hot dogs and other finger food. I call this 'delayed
action' food. The children love it and manage to eat five times
their daily recommended calorie intake in one afternoon. It's
not until they get home, happy, but tired, do they throw up all
over the Ikea.

When serving the refreshments at a children's birthday party,
it's always a good idea to cover the surrounding area, say 500
square meters, with industrial strength plastic. Just in case of
spillages. Little fingers can be clumsy fingers.

It is a golden rule at children's parties, that one of the
"little darlings" will actually be a real brat. He/she won't
join in with anything and will generally leave you at a loose
end about what to do. Some people suggest keeping a few
colouring books or videos handy, just for this sort of

Personally, I find handcuffing the little terror to the washing
machine and then closing the sound-proofed laundry door to be
the most effective method of dealing with the situation.
However, each to his own.

To re-cap. Keep them occupied, soft food in individual
portions, Rottweilers, colouring books (or handcuffs) and plenty
of mind numbing games and activities.

Oh, one last thing. If you're looking to be absolutely secure
and trouble free, you will find the telephone number of your
local chapter of the Hell's Angels in the yellow pages.

To see more of this fascinating insight into the world of the
pre-adolescent psyche - please follow me to

About the author:
The author is a Grumpy Old Chef and is totally uninteresting as
a person.

His articles, however, are very interesting.

Strange, isn't it?

Visit him at home CLICK


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