In the kid world birthday parties are right up there with the best possible thing on earth. If it's your birthday then it's pretty much tied with Christmas at the apex of childhood. Even if it's not your birthday it's still pretty awesome. There's plenty of friends to play with since as we all know all young kids are friends. "You're four? I'm three, let's play." Add to that birthday cake, the excitement of presents being opened, and loot bags at the end. What you get is little kid nirvana.
From the point of view of a parent, birthday parties for little kids are disasters waiting to happen. Having a bunch of kids running around in your house all hopped up on frosting can leave you with a bit to clean up in the end. There's also the hassle of getting ready beforehand and trying to make sure everything runs smoothly during the party. It's tougher than I remember it seeming when I was a kid. We've avoided those problems a few times by having the parties outside of the house. The downside there of course is the increased cost. That's why I was impressed with the solution we were treated to yesterday.
Have the birthday party at a park. You don't have to pay and who cares if there's a mess when you leave. Friggin' brilliant. Makes me curse the fact both of our kids, and the third one too, have birthdays in winter. Well, the oldest's is in March but this is Canada so who knows what kind of weather will be like. I'm willing to try it but my wife doesn't want to have to try and convince our friends it's a good idea for their kids to be outside in thirty below temperatures. "Just give them the cake right away and they'll stay warm by running around. That's not frostbite, it's the numb discolouration of pure joy."
Anyways, the weather wasn't an issue with yesterday's party. It was nice and sunny. The best part was that there was a little water park setup in the park. A handful of basically sprinklers cemented into the ground that spray for a few minutes when a button is pushed. Great fun for everyone, especially on a warm day like it was. The problem was we didn't bring swimsuits for the girls. They've never been interested in that sort of running through the sprinklers sort of thing. That is, of course, until the other kids started doing it. So that left us with a choice, let them get their clothes soaked or strip them down and let them play in their underwear. After a scan of the area for creepy looking characters, we stripped them down and let them into the water. Thankfully our kids weren't the only ones playing like that. It still didn't feel like our best parenting moment though. My wife made a point of telling the kids "This is only ok when you're little. You better not run around in your underpants when you get older." Fingers crossed. The craziest thing is when they were done the only dry part on them was their underpants. I can only assume that when they were running around in the water their underpants went all Matrix and avoided each individual droplet. Makes me wish we'd gotten video of it because I bet that would have looked awesome in slow motion.
All in all it was a heck of a party. Playing with friends, eating pizza and cake, watching presents being opened, and then stripping down and running through the sprinklers; who among us wouldn't enjoy a party like that? Then when it's all said and done, you just toss some garbage in the can and you're done. I think it's so great I'm going to try and convince my wife to keep this one in a few extra months so we can have at least one kid with a warm weather birthday. I'm pretty sure her response is going to be just two words and the second one will be you.
8 years ago