Today is Dani’s eighth birthday. We arranged a party in the park for a gang of boys from Dani’s school.
After school Dani got changed into something more suited for messing around and then we headed for a local park. The weather had been pretty shit all this week and the forecast for this afternoon was not good. But luckily it cleared up, almost on cue, this afternoon. Great! Which just goes to show that you can never trust the short term weather forecast.
We set up our stall on one of the picnic tables they always build in public parks here and waited for the guests to arrive. Soon enough there were nineteen hyper active kids. Fortunately we had booked an entertainer. “The Commando”. Basically some young bloke dressed in camouflage pants. Hardly Full Metal Jacket or Apocalypse Now material but the youngsters immediately did what he told them. Within seconds they were lined up and standing to attention.
Our Entertainer then organised them into a couple of games that viewers of the popular Korean (Netflix) series Squid Games will recognise. First was a game of Red Light-Green Light. Followed by a good old fashioned game of Tug-of-War. Neither game had the deadly endings of the Squid Games programme of course but by now the gang of boys were really into it.
Gun Battle (sort of)
This was followed by a bit of ‘army training’. Running around and climbing in other words. All leading up to what the boys knew was coming. A Nerf Gun battle. Kids around this age just love those Nerf Guns. With safety in mind the Commando guy dispensed protective glasses to each ‘soldier’ followed by their six shooter gun and ammunition. Then basically let them loose to run around and fire at each other. Not quite what I expected but the kids seemed happy enough. Apart from the occasional one who took offence at being shot point blank in the face. Ah well these things happen at children’s parties eh? It could be worse. Or so the saying goes… In fact it reminds me of when I was 8 years old (yes, I can still remember that far back). Boys being boys, minimum health & safety and pretend guns. Great!
Once they were off and running it was like herding cats trying to get them back together. Eventually most ran out of energy and willingly returned to the food and drinks table. A short while later the remaining shooters ran out of energy or just got a bit bored – it was hard to tell. By that time the Commando had had enough. He had served his time and as a last act of valour made sure that the kids were all gathered for the birthday song and a slice of cake.
For a fleeting moment it occurred to me that for what they charged maybe we should have had real guns. Our new buddy ‘The Commando’ guy had cost enough. Obviously that is not practical but you probably get my point. Then again, the Tug-of-War was worth half the price alone. Great fun.
Then the boys decided to mess about making their own entertainment. And it was a mess. There were some stubborn stains that may never be washed out. But they all seemed to enjoy it. And surely that’s the whole point eh?
Exhausted (well us parents were) we returned home where Dani opened his many presents. He did well. Another year gone in the blink of an eye. His second birthday in the land down-under.