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DADDY DIARIES: Of first birthdays for clueless children

Wednesday September 25 2019

On the first Saturday of October 2015, my wife and I threw a birthday party for our son. ILLUSTRATION| IGAH

On the first Saturday of October 2015, my wife and I threw a birthday party for our son. ILLUSTRATION| IGAH 

HILLARY LISIMBA
By HILLARY LISIMBA
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On the first Saturday of October 2015, my wife and I threw a birthday party for our son. He was turning one, his first ever birthday on planet earth.

It happened that his birthday fell in a season we ran into some lucrative business deals and payments had been made, so there was disposable money to spend.

Being our first born, and his first birthday, we reckoned it was not a bad idea to break the bank and throw him something even people with drug money would envy. We coded it BB (Blue Birthday).

FLOWING WITH CHILDREN

Our house was flowing with children from other households in the estate that Saturday, as well as those that accompanied their invited parents.

Funny how one time you are all partying together as young, wild and free souls the next you are coming together, each with a young one it tow.

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I played the cool host; donned in a blue tee shirt, blue jeans and white sneakers.

The mom wore a flowing blue mermaid dress that accentuated her curves, a smile permanently planted on her face.

The birthday boy was all blue as well, including the bib that hung around his neck. The outfits were purposely chosen as a theme because we figured the colour is masculine, and he loved the blue fish in Disney’s Finding Dory.

BOUNCING CASTLE

A bouncing castle sat on the cabro, manned by a young man sent by whoever we hired it from.

The kids spent 99 per cent of the day hopping up and down the castle, only coming over for snacks and food. As the day wore on, the children retreated back to their homes, leaving mature men and women dancing to loud music while wielding glasses with frothing liquids.

The birthday party to a one-year-old went past midnight, and one of our guest rooms turned into a nursery for their snoring babies.

By the time the last guest left we had spent yes but felt fulfilled, save for the fact that the actual birthday boy had slept off way earlier than 8pm like the event did not mean anything to him.

The following day, we did what this generation has taught us to always do; shared photos of the event and tagged respective attendees accompanied by #BlueBirthday, #MilanTurns1, #TheDenDiaries.

Less than thirty minutes since the photos went up I received a call from my mom, and she was breathing fire! She was livid we had spent so much on a birthday for a baby who was still too young to understand what was happening.

We fought, like we always do, but I stood my ground that the memory of that birthday was necessary for him when he grows up.

That disagreement also reminded me that my parents had never shown me photos of my own birthdays. In other words, these folks never threw me parties, and it’s not like they were badly off financially. I was so annoyed.

Fast forward to this year, and I was going through my wall when I came across the photos.

Pointing at one photo, I asked my boy who that was, his answer was “a baby!” No matter how hard I tried to convince him that was his birthday, he denied it. Oh, and he grew up to fall in love with colour red, thanks to an animated race car called Mr McQueen.

Then I started asking myself questions, that maybe mom was right after all. That my son’s birthday is remembered more by people of my age because it’s a day they got wasted and trooped back home staggering like drunk hyenas.

Perhaps I fell into the trap of holding it to fit into society, or maybe it was necessary to appreciate ourselves for parenting for a whole year of colic, immunisations, sleepless nights and poop.

One thing is that the memorabilia will always be there for him to look at when he finally accepts that the boy in blue was actually him.

Although we do not regret what we did, we’ve been hesitant to do another extravagant event for him; thank God his school does not allow birthday parties. These days, we only buy him presents (mostly huge toy cars and bikes) plus cake and sweets to share with children in the estate.

A physical birthday gift is tangible, something he can always look at and attach the day to.

If I didn’t buy him story books every now and then those would probably have been even better presents. I mean, isn’t education the ultimate gift a parent can give the offspring?

Either way, the one subject which will remain controversial for decades is; are birthday parties for one-year-old babies really necessary? If you ask me, the best age to throw that expansive event should be from four years because they can see, feel, touch and understand the goings on.

 

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