Balancing themes, entertainment and presents makes pulling off a children's party a fine art.
Balancing themes, entertainment and presents makes pulling off a children's party a fine art. iStock

Mastering the skill of children's birthday parties

JULY to September is Birthday Season in our household. Meaning for the next three months, I'll be found scouring shops for decorations, googling how to make a cake with rainbows, love hearts, unicorns AND shooting stars, and probably trying to tie a trampoline to the roof of my car.

This year my middle child is double digits, which means a Big Party and she, being my daughter, is brainstorming "costume themes”.

My birthday recently was prom theme - but costumes had to be sourced from an op shop.

It was brilliant fun and people looked amazing.

However my daughter has seized on the "conditional” aspect of the theme and is twisting her otherwise simple theme, "nightmare character”, into something slightly more convoluted - "nightmare character dressed as though they're trying to look normal”.

I'll let you visualise my blank stare.

But before we even get to her Big Party, we have my youngest's fifth birthday.

Having had a few years' practice at toddler shindigs, I am pretty skilled at getting through it without resorting to pass the parcel.

Spending the night before wrapping a gift 20-odd times only to have each child hold on to it for an inordinately long time, innocently waiting for the music to stop, making the game go for 45 tedious minutes is not my idea of a party.

For anyone.

No, we'll be at the park with a playground. There'll be a treasure hunt, likely some dancing (pretty sure this kid's going to go viral soon with her gangsta moves) and apparently a cake with rainbows, love hearts, unicorns and shooting stars.

Oh, and fairies now.

Another blank stare.

My eldest, he who never smiles in photos, will be having a simple sleepover and I will probably forget they're even here as they'll congregate around his Xbox.

But I'm not bothered, because by the time it's his birthday, we're on the steep downhill slope towards Christmas.

Some good news though, in the time I've finished this column Middle Child has decided on a theme, and even shown me her invitation.

"Scary Circus - any circus character but it has to be scary. Mum is the ringmaster. Get your tickets, we can't promise you'll survive.”

Seems like a thinly veiled threat to me. And to me alone.

Peta Jo is an author, mother of three and adding "top hat” to her shopping list.