Let me just set the scene, Smith's 6th birthday, Man vs Wild theme, 10 x 6 year olds and 2 big bro's with a couple of friends. For those that know me, you know that I am a mad keen weather watcher, but today I intentionally didn't cast an eye over a forecast - we weren't going to woose out if it rained a little, the kids could get wet dammit, Bear Grylls would have. Maybe that was my first mistake. My second was giving the kids 10 x real whistles that required the Husband to scream at the kids in his scary voice, and that was even before we'd left the house (I thought I'd learnt that lesson the previous year). My third mistake was to ignore those ominously long rolls of thunder, and that darkening sky. "Just adds to the fun", we thought to ourselves.
So off we went to the bush track and stream at the end of our street, with kids backpacks full of survival tools, and ours full of challenges, and me scurrying ahead to hang the homemade piñata, which was not holding up well to the strains of a heavy load of lollies and the sellotape holding it together. Some elderly lady in one of the neighbouring houses asked what I was doing - I told her we had a kids birthday party coming through. She looked dubious and unhappy.
The rain started.
We headed off down the stream, whistles blowing, kids slipping, general noise and happiness ensuing. First challenge successful, with happy kids, lolly snakes beheaded, spitting pythons spitting poison at the kids courtesy of the 11 year olds with squirters.
The rain got heavier. The thunder louder. I started doing the lightening/thunder count to see how close this increasingly kick arse storm was.
Back down into the stream, and more climbing and clambering, back onto higher ground in the bush for more challenges, more food, more fun, although, the first murmurs of "can we go home now" (from the party boy) had started. Don't gets me wrong, the 8 year old had started that chant as soon as the first drops of rain had started.
The rain was solid, we were all drenched, the bag with the challenges was drenched "Should we get them to drink the goats blood now", the Husband asked " no, lets get them onto the build a shelter challenge", which we did hurriedly, then got them all standing under the 2m x 3m tarp while we prepared the next challenge.
There was a crash in the distance, my homemade sellotaped piñata wasn't up to a Category 3 storm.
We bravely soldiered on, the kids were loving it (ok, I made up that part).
There comes a time in a storm, when it stops feeling fun, and safe and transitions into a situation you need to remove yourself (and 14 x children) from. And as we headed for home, we saw that our docile, gentle stream was no longer, but had morphed into something that elicited swear words from the Party Planners.
Thankfully no more stream crossings were needed and we could squelch home along a safe bush track. But still.
Home for the final (and most successful) get your food across the
So even though the weather gods rained (heavily) on our parade, we need up with a happy birthday boy and his buddies. But like everything there are learnings...
1. Never offer kids whistles unless they are refereeing a game of soccer
2. Never trust old ladies who look unhappy and dubious - our tarps and ropes had been stolen when we went back an hour later for them (I'm comin' looking for them Old Lady, even if you have got a yappy excuse for a dog)
3. If you end up with a pinata's worth of chocolates in your house, throw them away or do a massive street lolly scramble, just don't leave them somewhere they can whisper seductively "eat me...."
4. Go for the Chang rather than the Peroni next time you need a post trauma bevvy - it will go down faster, which is what was needed.
5. No more DIY parties - there are reason places like Laser Tag, Rock Walls, Lollipops and other places with facilitators exist...
6. Don't buy Jersey Caramels to put in the lolly bags, kids don't like them and you'll end up eating the bag by yourself (which was obviously the plan in the first place).
Survival mission accomplished.