The Birthday Party

I’m a little stressed out these days. It’s not the usual suspects – work, money, marital fidelity. No, I’m losing sleep over a birthday party we’re hosting this weekend for A and K.

For some reason, the thought of having nine kids under the age of five in our home for two hours has my stomach in knots. We’re doing our best to plan interesting activities for them, but I have this feeling that after five minutes, one of the boys’ friends will say “This sucks. Where’s your Xbox?” and it will go downhill from there.

Back in my day, nearly all birthday parties were at someone’s home. I do remember being invited to Michael Jackson’s birthday party at a Burger King when I was around seven or eight [Ed. note: for clarity, it was not MJ, the alleged pedophile / entertainer]. As I recall, it took place in a dark storage room in the basement. A fun mirror leaned in one corner, obscuring a few crates of condiments. Burgers were eaten, presents were unwrapped, and we went home.

These days, birthday parties are a major growth industry. Movie theatres, museums, indoor playgrounds, and even Loblaws will gladly host your kid’s party, complete with pizza, cake, and loot bags. Mommy and Daddy need only fork over a couple of hundred dollars in exchange for two hours of peace of mind and the undying love of a grateful child. According to this news story, some parents are spending thousands of dollars on custom birthday parties. For a three-year-old. [Ed. note: Idiots.]

With less than 48 hours to go until the big event, I know I should just relax a bit. We’ve got a cool party theme, games and activities have been organized, and there will be lots of juice, cake and ice cream on hand. At the first sign of a bored kid we’ll fill’em up with sugar and bring out the water balloons. What could possibly go wrong? [Ed. note: Lots. Kids could escape and wander into neighbourhood swamp, boys could find loaded handgun in bedside table, etc.]

One thought on “The Birthday Party

  1. For Hank Tse’s birthday we rode our bicycles. For Brian Barrett’s birthday we played hide and go seek outside. For my birthday we went tobogganing on the hill at school.

    Sadly, you are not alone. Many of my friends who have young families are struggling with this perceived pressure to organize elaborate or expensive events for their children’s birthdays. I say dress them all in potato sacks, give ’em a back of rocks, and you and B can take a visit to Margaritaville.

    P.S. I thought we agreed last weekend when your head was on my pillow that we wouldn’t talk about infedility Now your wife is going to be suspicious.

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