5-year old boy birthday party: a user’s guide

Bday at the Louvre

Perhaps I was overly ambitious, but I survived yesterday’s birthday party for my 5-year old with 17 of his little friends. I found an association in Paris called Paris d’Enfants which organizes cultural visits to Parisian monuments for kids of all ages. Our guide, Gwennaëlle (pronounced gwen-aye-el) was very friendly and knowledgeable and obviously loved kids – a competitive advantage in this business I suppose. After dropping off jackets and making a pee break, the 5 kind adults that agreed to go with me and Gwen and the 18 excited munchkins were off to the Louvre Médiévale which is a section of the Richelieu wing where the ancient castle walls are still preserved for the original Louvre. Actually, there were only 17 kids because one little girl was late because her mother was having some, well, issues and decided to drive there. Bad plan because the poor princess arrived late and without her Rapunzel dress. For me this meant going all the way to the Apple Store by the inverted pyramid and then returning to the museum and then comforting the crying kid (sad due to the forgotten dress) for about 15 min. Whatever, that’s part of the job right? Anyway, the tour was naturally short (60min). Gwen pointed out the scale model of the Louvre and then features in the real walls that corresponded to the model. The thing I learned (or remembered from The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett) was that the various mason guilds would leave a symbol for there bricks – we saw squares, upside-down hearts and a sailboat. Once she pointed that out, I saw these everywhere. Its funny how you can walk by something a million times without noticing anything and then suddenly it takes on a whole new appearance. The real challenge was counting the kids every 5 minutes or so to make sure we didn’t lose any, calming any disputes (2 crying episodes and a few rambunctious boys (including mine).

Chaotic cake time

At about 4pm, the kids were getting really antsy and it was clearly time for cake and candy. We made our way back out of the museum and over to the Cafés de la Pyramide who lent us a big room for the snack. The kids ravaged the candy that was left out and then massacred the chocolate cake that was brought in. The apple tart met success primarily with the parents. Now, I had only ordered these two cakes, but the manager actually brought out a third one. Unfortunately for her, she miscalculated and brought a raspberry pie. Needless to say, with 18 excited elves, there were a few red stains on the yellow carpet before we left. After the snack (pretty good apart from the lack of water), it was the chaos of presents for my son. Now, if you have never done this before, be warned – it is just a wee-bit stressful. Every kid wants your kid to open his/her present first so it is a little like a stage rush at a Beatles concert. Paper and plastic went flying and after the first four or five presents, I lost track of who gave him what. Since we still had nearly an hour before the last parent came to pick up there little monster, most of the toys were opened up so it was a bit of a free-for-all. My strategy was to pick up strays as they were left on the floor by quickly disinterested kids and use a plastic sac for the multitude of legos, BeyBlades, PlayMobiles and other assorted pieces, personages, and parts that sprawled across the room. The last of the kids left at about ten to 6 and we were able to liberate the room right on time at 6pm.

Talking about this to a friend that night (his two boys were there and his wife kindly stayed during the event), I broke a cardinal rule: the same number or participants as the age of the kid, i.e. normal people invite 5 kids to a 5-year birthday party. Well, I guess I am not all that normal. In any case, my kid and the others had a great time. Only issue now, how do I top this next year with perhaps a tad less stress…


About mfinocchiaro

IT Architecture Guru for large PLM software company but dabbling in Web 2.0 and other stuff.
This entry was posted in Being Dad and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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