I’ve been on the five year old birthday party circuit with Focker #1 lately, clocking up at least one or two birthday parties most weekends. They’re all similar but different at the same time. Dress ups / no dress ups. In a park / at someone’s home. Superman cake / Frozen cake. Pass the parcel / musical statues. Stressed mum / stressed mum….
It never fails to impress me the effort that the parents (mostly the mums I suspect) go to in order to make these parties memorable for the sugar charged little tyrants. I sincerely tip my hat to each and every one of them for their weeks of dedication to executing the perfect party. Only for it to go largely unnoticed and unappreciated by the waist high hordes, as they devour sugar and MSG by the grubby little fistful.
I do however, have a pretty major f*cking issue with one factor common to all parties.
The logic of giving a take home bag to each little party animal so that the indulgence can continue long after the party is over completely escapes me. After all, when we go to an adult’s birthday party we don’t get given a bag of booze and canapés to take home with us. The intention is that you drink and eat as much as humanly possible at the party while the host is paying. Once you leave, the party’s over and you’re on your own again. The same rule should absolutely apply for kids parties as well.
If the party bags were filled with valuable jewels or delicious delicacies it might be different. But unless you’re attending a kids party at the Kardashian / West residence, sadly they never are.
In case you’ve been living on another planet, where children’s birthday parties are done in sensible moderation and you’ve never encountered the party bag, here’s a daddingeveryday list of the party bag essentials.
- A lollipop, or sometimes two. Because what’s more fun than pulling a half sucked lollipop out of your two year old’s hair while they scream and thrash about in a sugar induced rage? Or even better, finding it days later firmly glued to your car’s leather upholstery.
- A tiny water pistol that leaks and doesn’t actually squirt water. Particularly great when it does work, but only manages two squirts before it’s empty again, meaning that mum or dad is constantly being asked to fill the damn thing back up again.
- Bubble mixture. My pet hate. It often takes all of your strength and cunning to get the little foil seal off the top of the bottle, before inevitably the little bubble wand part breaks off inside of the bottle and the mixture gets spilled on the hardwood floor. Here it lies in wait for an unsuspecting parent carrying an armload of laundry, grocery shopping, or worst case scenario, a case of beer.
- Stickers. Frozen or fairies for the girls, pirates or dinosaurs for the boys. Great in theory, but how often do the stickers actually get stuck on something that’s not furniture or newly painted walls?
- Mini packets of smarties. Ok, so these aren’t so bad so long as a grown up can get to them first. Confiscation is a parent’s only real privilege after all.
- Those little worm lollies with the sour sugar coating, or as I like to call them, ‘last-resort lollies’. You know, when you’re on a health kick and craving something sweet, and this is (not surprisingly) the only sweet thing left in the cupboard? Seriously, show me a kid that eats those f*cking abominations and I’ll show you a future serial killer.
- Party Poppers. There’s nothing quite like having one of those bad boys go off from the back seat while you’re focussed on navigating post-party traffic. A deafening explosion followed by a shower of confetti and streamers is a major safety hazard and I’ll give you the tip, it won’t just be the toddler that needs to change their pants when you get home.
So there you have it. A daddingeveryday guide to the party bag essentials. Every single one of them a completely unnecessary pain in every parent’s backside. At the risk of being completely black-listed and having no one turn up to my kids birthday parties next year, I won’t be doing party bags for the kids. I’ll just be handing out packets of smarties, and maybe some canapés and miniature bottles of vodka to all of the parents as a little keepsake instead.