The Aftermath_featured image_drawing on concrete with street chalk sticks_lion costume_family_kid children toddler two year old birthday party_animal theme_food games fun

The Dad, the kids’ birthday party and the potential for disaster – The Aftermath

(You can read D-Day by clicking here)

From what Phenom-A-Mum tells me,  we had a party at our house yesterday. A party for a two-year old. I may have blacked out. All I can remember is:

I was the Party-Food-GOD.

Granted, it took every salvageable minute for a week. And I haven’t had a good night’s sleep for days. And the money was disappearing so fast that I started throwing out the receipts to avoid any depressing reality check.

But I did it. A Dad organised a party, and emerged victorious!

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Even my brother-in-law was stunned goldfish-style by this monumental achievement.

It’s a shame that Little E isn’t likely to remember any of it when he’s all grown up. To fix that problem, I’ll immortalise the epic event here on this humble blog. The internet is forever, right?

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I am somewhat amazed at my food engineering talents. They are still talking about my lion-faced marshmallows (by “they” I mean “me”). And the animal cookie-cutter tortilla chips were crunchy cute. Luckily I only put out the not-burnt ones.

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All of the goodness of bread, ruined by cream cheese or chocolate sprinkles. But check out the cool-as cucumber snake head. It’s got capsicum tongue and eyes!

Phenom-A-Mum ate it. She’s like a suburban version of the Crocodile Hunter; if he was a lady and the crocs were made of harmless vegetables.

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Welcome to the dish voted “favourite kids menu item not-so-sneakily eaten by the adults”. The kiddlywinks didn’t even get a chance to see the cool Picasso inspired (or, maybe, Play School inspired) caterpillar artwork. Those mini pizzas went so quickly that my shackles were hooked back into the kitchen, and I was sentenced to another three servings for good taste.

And then there is the piéce de rèsistance.

Water. Melon. Whale.

There aren’t words in the English language that can encapsulate the beauty that was my centrepiece. I have heard that the Eskimos can describe it, but my Inuit is a little out of practice.

And then, the cake:

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Cheerios on the outside, chocolate on the inside. All lion. Okay, there isn’t really any lion in it because some party pooper decided they are endangered, but it is egg free and nut free. Thank you Betty Crocker for your angel-like guidance. Do you think she’s a real old lady? Betty Crocker? Don’t tell me if she’s not. I bet she smells like mint and anchovies.

It turns out that whilst I am a bit of a superstar on the catering side of things, I may have failed utterly as a host.

Our guests received a cursory “wha-gwahn?” from me when they arrived (I’m really getting into Rastamouse on ABC 4 Kids). But then I was straight back into the smoke of the kitchen. The food was pretty much digested by the time I emerged.

And those cool party games that I organised? Well, it turns out that two-year olds really aren’t very good at managing social events. And I was too busy scalding myself.

So Phenom-A-Mum stepped into the role of MC Part-ay!

There were hog-riding competitions…

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attempt-to-draw-on-the-very-narrow-peg art classes (which turned into the groovy butterfly treat bags for home time)…

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faux bullfights (if only they had horns)…

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learning about static electricity…

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…and a graffiti sketch-off. Who knew that street chalk would be more fun than head-butting a cat?

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But what really made our animal-themed party were the cool kiddy costumes! Love it when parents go all out (though I suspect that no dads were involved in these costume creations. I know I wasn’t!).

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So cute cheetah! (leopard print is totally in this season for the under ones. About time the over 40’s gave it up).

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Birthday boy lion. RAAAAAAAAAHHHRRRR! Little E seriously spent ages just roaring the first time he tried on the outfit. RAAAAAAHHR! I think this costume is going to be a favourite for a while; tops job Phenom-A-Mum!

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And the winner is… completely hand-made, and even hand tie-dyed, octopus! How awesome is he?! Why is an octopus tie-dyed? Who knows and who cares?

Amidst all of this nuttiness I managed to forget the two jelly treats that I’d spent ages creating, and my Mum had spent an afternoon squeezing out of tiny straws. Which is why, I think, she reminded me.

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Life-like jelly worms. Cold, wobbly, totally gross and very popular with the young ladies. But they had nothing on the old Aussie kids’ party classic:

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Frog in a Pond.
I made 20 of these. Only 5 little kids ate one. But all 20 disappeared. The mystery continues… until you spot all of the Big Kids with green jelly moustaches!

Unfortunately you can’t have an untarnished victory. The only game that I personally invented/ ripped-off failed miserably. It looks like Elephant Train isn’t going to be the runaway toddler cash-cow that I had dreamed of. The kids were just too young to understand the rules.

The fact that I had rules for a game at a two-year old’s party should have clued me in that it wasn’t going to work. On the upside, the ears are still super cool. Thanks for all of that sweatshop labour Granny!

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I stopped running in circles long enough to see my beautiful son jumping and roaring and laughing. Until yesterday he didn’t know what a party was. Now he claps his hands and says “party, party”.

Eight days of preparation. Thousands of dollars. A billion calories. Three hours of fun.

Completely worth it.

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All I need now is some sleep.

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David Hawkins

Half nerd, all Dad & Founder of Big Kid Little Kid, the go-to blog for Awesome Dads. David is on a personal mission to become a more awesome dad to his two sons and teach them all the facets of being a major nerd. NES-off anybody?