Cirque du Fifth Birthday Party

Being a stay-at-home dad is the best, but it’s no walk in the park. I usually find it’s the things I’d least expect that end up being the most challenging. For example, offering sincere consolation over the loss of a random pebble, or planning a fifth birthday party that pleases everyone.

Lauren is obsessed with acrobatics since starting gymnastics this year, so Natasha suggested a circus theme, which Lauren has excitedly latched onto. In my view, the event is going to be enough of a circus as it is, but a party theme is something to work with, I suppose.

It sets at least one clear parameter, which is that the shindig won’t be held at our house. Natasha and I both have enough on our plates without dealing with inflatable jumping castle hire and vetting prospective party clowns for the validity of their Working With Children Checks. Therefore, the first order of business is making a shortlist of local venues for kids parties. Happy Valley parents, hit me with your recommendations.

Ideally, it’ll be somewhere covered – we don’t want the weather washing out the festivities – and secure. We don’t want a repeat of my nephew Roger’s fourth birthday party last year, which culminated in an hour-long search for two young party animals who somehow slipped out of the backyard (they were found watching tv with the nice lady at the corner shop).

I wonder if it’s possible to book a kids party at one of those indoor play centres with climbing structures. Happy Valley is fairly central to most of the prospective guests, and Lauren can indulge her acrobatic enthusiasm in relative safety. Plus, it reflects the theme closely enough – what with ball pits and giant slides and a hefty dose of novelty – that I won’t really need to organise anything on that front.

That is, aside from making a cake shaped like a big top, or perhaps some kind of technical aerial apparatus. Knowing Lauren, that’s another challenge I’m going to have to master.