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Monday, June 30, 2008

Hell . . .

. . . is a three year old's birthday party, over and over again, for all eternity.

It was The Demon's nephew's 3rd birthday yesterday, which of course meant we had to attend the ritual kids birthday party, something I've never been truly comfortable with. Let me explain:

We don't have kids.

There. I've said it. I feel so much better now.
Being at a kids birthday party when you yourself have no children is like being at a Volkswagen Beetle owners club meeting, and having no Beetle. You feel like you shouldn't be there. You feel like a charlatan. You can't contribute to, or even understand, any of the conversations. The house is full of young couples, the male half of which you've perhaps met on stag nights or nights in the pub, who have suddenly transformed from being normal blokes into some sort of bizarre 'proud young father' spouting nonsense like ". . . and if you put on Kasabian, he'll dance all day! It's SO funny!"

Even worse is when a parent who you don't know gets chatting to you in the kitchen and asks the inevitable question . . .

"So, which one is yours?"

"None of them, we don't have kids."

"Oh . . . right."

There then follows an awkward silence where you can see said parent looking at you with a combination of confusion and sympathy.

Meanwhile, there is anarchy breaking loose all over the house. There are kids in EVERY single room, there is crayon all over the table, at least two children are crying at any one time, tempers are raised at the BBQ because it won't fucking light, children are fighting over the toys, the carpet looks like the floor of a concert hall after a Motorhead gig, the gazebo in the garden has been caught by the wind and is making a bid for freedom, kids have got into the garage and are playing with power tools, somebody's child insists on showing me 'Diamondhead' from the cartoon 'Ben 10' over and over again, and some bright spark has decided to give a toy gun (with lifelike battery powered sounds) as a present!


8 1/2 hours I was there for.
It felt like a fucking week.


Steve said...

8 1/2 hours? Are you crazy. Speaking as a proud young father I have to say 2 hours max at a birthday party - even my own kid's - is the recommended max. We took the eldest and 14 of his school mates to an indoor kid's adventure playground for his birthday. You hire the palce for a max of 2 hours so the other parents have to take their kids away after 120 minutes. The organizes help police the brats, er, kids and they also supply the food and do the washing up. Best of al our house is unmolested. Worth every penny I can tell you.

Inchy said...

8 1/2 God damn sober hours. As the saying goes, you can pick your friends . . .

Roman Empress said...

Commiserations. Don't go to another one. Ever. Again. Saying you have something contagious is normally a good tack.

Anonymous said...

Hahahah, this post made me smile. I have kids and I can just imagine your pain. :)

Ben 10 isn't as bad as some of the other 'fads' around. In comparison.

EmmaK said...

Please don't tar us all with the same brush. I for one like nothing better than not to talk about the kids and their 'amazing developmental milestones'. Also I'm proud to say I've never had a kids' party in my house or I would have topped myself.

I once knew a guy who had a kids' party and because the adults were all 'hip' they were all kept in one room and given cocaine while in the other room someone entertained the brats. At the time I thought it depraved, now I can see its the only way .... ;)

Sky Clearbrook said...

8 1/2 hours is totally fucking nuts???!!!

It seems that when kids are around 4-7, it's just one endless round of birthday parties. Straight up - my youngest was handed yet another invitation in the playground this very morning. I never stay for the duration of these events. Whenever I have to take her to a party, I drop her off bang on time, leave immediately and then pick her up the instant it finishes.

I love my kids, but I'm also completely self-aware; there is nothing worse than someone who just goes on and on and on about their children all the time. I purposefully avoid any of those tedious conversations. I'd be horrified if anybody thought I came across as a "family man" bore.

Inchy said...

Empress - Good call, I'm trying for ebola as we speak.

Kate - It was moderately the interesting finding out about Ben 10 the first and second time, but on the seventh or eighth time of finding out about Diamondhead or Fourarms was becoming quite tedious.

Emma - I wouldn't dream of labeling all parents this way. I have some good friends who take a much more laid back approach to their kids.

Sky - I can only assume that these people have very little else to talk about. Not that my life is a whirlwind of excitement!

Zen Wizard said...

Just think of it as psychological birth control, with free cake.

Inchy said...

Zen - That's one particular lesson I definitely don't need to learn the hard way!

Jaggy said...

The way I see it, you stayed for 8 1/2 hours for one or both of these reasons.

1. You actually enjoyed it, as knowing you, your level of humour was bang on with the kids.

2. (Most likely) You are completely under the Demons thumb and as it was her family's do you had absolutely no sway in what time it was deemed polite to leave. You left when, and only when, you were allowed to.

I have to agree with Steve and Sky, 2 hours at an organized event for your own kids party. It takes the pain out of entertaining 20 kids who are not yours when they have a massive jungle gym or something to entertain them. For other kids parties, mine will get dropped off and picked up bang on time. Hanging around with folks who only want to talk about their own kids is shite at best.

By the way, having a big picture of someone else's kids on your website is risque at best Mr Glitter.

Inchy said...

1 - I'm sure that having some of your geeky mates laugh uncontrollably with the punchline:

" . . . so the vicar says 'You'll have to change it in the BIOS!'"

followed by an 'LOL' makes you think that you actually have a sense of humour, Jagster, but I'd have a long hard review of that if I was you.

2 - Alien a concept it may be to you, but some people in 'the real world' actually do things they may not particularly want to do. It's called being unselfish. Now I'm sure that big bad Jaggy would have just stood up and said "I've had enough of this, I'm logging off" and beat a hasty retreat to the comfort of 'the virtual world' and a bottle of whiskey, but that's just not the done thing round my way.

By the way, copying the first photo that pops up on Google images when you type in 'kids party' means that I'm pretty sure that Interpol wont be targeting me anytime soon.

Misssy M said...

I too am astounded at the 8.5 hour marathon. Why???

Junior Misssy's party was two hours and I had to have a lie down with a cold flannel on my face afterwards.

I like kids, it's their parents I can't stand. But I agree with Emma; we aren't all obsessed with our little darlings to the point of having nothing else to talk about.

And I guess that's why all the other Mums at the school think I'm haughty and up myself.

Sky Clearbrook said...

My youngest just got ANOTHER invite to ANOTHER party. What gives?

Inchy said...

Sky - the chicks must really dig him.

Inchy said...

Sky - . . . unless your youngest is a wee girl, in which case she's sure to popular with all the boys, except that doesn't sound very PC.