I’ve had the pleasure of spending my weekend at not one, but two birthday parties; one for my six year old son, and the other for his six year old pal. And after several hours of observation, it got me thinking: is there some international code of birthday party conduct shared between these youngsters that is unknown to us parents? They all seem to know the drill.
- Be as excitable as possible. Remember: seeing your pals at school is completely different to seeing them at the party. Always ensure that you jump, hold hands and greet them like they’re long lost friends.
- Guests must respect at all times the privileges of the Birthday Boy or Girl. First in the queue, first to the toilet, first to score a goal. You get the gist.
- Resist the urge to tear open every present the minute you set eyes on that shiny wrapping paper. Everybody knows it’s acceptable to show your appreciation in this way but apparently parents think it’s rude. And as they’ve shelled out for the shindig, it’s probably best not to upset them (just yet).
- Guests, please note that Parents are to be ignored from the minute you step into the venue. If you’re feeling generous a nonchalant goodbye with a weak backwards wave will suffice.
- Ensure the volume mounts on a sliding scale. Standard protocol is to achieve a rating of ‘deafening’ after exactly 60 minutes.
- Show no tolerance for time slippages. If your chicken nuggets arrive 3 minutes late, please take this as suitable license to leave your seat and start running around.
- It is compulsory to join a vigorous rendition of Happy Birthday. Tone deaf? Can’t carry a decent tune? You’re in the right place. Be as shouty as you possibly can and employ as many B flats as you can. Think ‘gusto’ not ‘gentle’.
- Savour the candle-blowing moment. It’s your time. And it’s fine to distribute a fine spray of spittle over the cake. Nobody will notice.
- Never underestimate party bag politics. Extra kudos can be gained for convincing your parents to ram as much plastic tat as possible into each bag. Parents are still ignorant to the fact that balloons can be a game changer on the party scene. We must educate them by kicking those balloons around and screeching whenever there is one in sight. A balloon should always feature in a party bag.
- Post-event, ensure your junk food/sugar rush endures for the rest of the day. If the manic feeling starts to wane, simply top up with some extra birthday cake icing. Your parents just love it when you’re fuelled by sugar. During the sugar come-down period feel free to make an ungrateful “I never get anything” type of comment as bedtime looms. This is guaranteed a reaction every time.
And then I got to thinking there should be a Self-Help Guide to Birthday Parties for Parents.
Self-Help Guide for Parents