28 August 2008

Birthday Party Shenanigans

"You only have to look at the faces of most of the parents to see that they are thinking "I really want to have a go at this"...We hit him at a fair speed and he seemed to be airborne for ages before coming back to earth"

This time of year is a very busy period for the family. It's what I call 'the birthday party season'. Over the next few weeks we will be going to a number of birthday parties of the toddler and child variety. On top of this both our daughter's have their birthdays coming up in the next few weeks.

Last weekend we attended two birthdays to kick off this party season. The one on Saturday was a home affair, while the one on Sunday was held at an indoor play centre. This one was located in a Inner Sydney suburb which is really a warehouse type structure that has climbing structures, slides, obstacles, ball pits and so on.

To be totally honest, even though these places are for children it is obvious that us adults want to try out all the equipment too! You only have to look at the faces of most of the parents to see that they are thinking "I really want to have a go at this". I certainly shared this view. Oh to be a child again....

First things first, it was a birthday party so after having all the children run amok it was time for the food and birthday cake. By now all the children were hungry from their exploits and tucked feverishly into the food and cake. By the time enough cordial had been consumed it was back to the slides, jumping castles for the now hyped up children! Its amazing the effect that sugar has on the young 'uns!

By now I was itching to have a go on the slide as it looked really good. The slide itself was an undulating one rather than a straight one and was quite high at its peak to the floor. Fortunately, I found an excuse to try it out. My youngest daughter came over to me and said "Daddy, will you play with me?" Now how can anyone resist a request like that! Naturally I responded in the affirmative, and was also able to enlist a few of the other parents too (they didn't take too much persuasion either).

So for the next 20 minutes or so I was having fun on the slide along with my youngest daughter, a few parents and lots of sugar fuelled children! After about our sixth slide I asked my wife (aka No Worries) to take a photo of us. Then disaster struck.

As we were coming down, a young girl (probably 2 years old) had stopped near the bottom of the slide as she was scared. Her brother was with her. Straight away I knew a collision was inevitable. I had my youngest daughter in my lap and was frantically trying to avoid us colliding with this girl. I tried grabbing the side of the slide but just then we went over a ridge and I lost my grip. There was nothing I could do.

We collided with the girl and she started to cry. Pathetically I said "sorry, don't cry" then someone collided into us and the little girl started crying more. At the bottom of the slide stood No Worries. She was not impressed. "How could you do that to a small child?" she said. I tried to explain but to no avail.

In the meantime No Worries took the sobbing girl to her mother explaining that our daughter had collided with the girl (thankfully that sounded better than saying "my husband"). Although, I wasn't happy with what happened I also understood it to be an unwritten rule of slides. If you don't get off the slide quick enough then you run the risk of having a collision.

I then decided to try some of the other apparatus in the play centre. I nearly got wedged between two sponge blocks as it then dawned on me that this play centre is for children and not adults. After chasing my eldest daughter around all obstacles for a while it was back to the slide, courtesy again of my youngest daughter.

This time I decided to be extra vigilant and all was going swimmingly well until our last slide when at the bottom of the slide a young boy decided to walk up it. Again it was obvious that we were going to collide with him. I said a quick prayer hoping that the impact would be minor. It wasn't. We hit him at a fair speed and he seemed to be airborne for ages before coming back to earth.

Naturally, tears came flooding down his cheeks. I got up and asked him if he was okay. His father was there and said "don't worry, he's a tough cookie anyway!" He also told me that his son shouldn't have been walking up the slide.

By now I had had enough. I couldn't keep having these collisions as who knows what would happen next!

A few minutes later we bade our farewells and left the play centre. By now my body was aching due to all the bruises I had collected from the slide and chasing my daughters!

One last thought - why can't adults also have play centres like this?

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