The many ingredients of a moving birthday party

Planning for the birthday party starts three months out, as usual focusing on the theme of the birthday cake. Following the success of last year’s construction site – honeycomb boulders, Flake tree trunks, Malteser rocks, Matchbox machinery – debate centres on ideas requiring extensive confectionary embellishment. Rockets and spaceships are early contenders, followed by fire engines, crane trucks and army tanks.Against all efforts to embrace peaceful solutions, the army tank sticks – a reminder for parents that nightly news bulletins on the war-torn Middle East can unexpectedly turn into inspirational fodder for baking: conflict in Syria one minute, online investigations into how to make khaki-coloured icing the next.Next comes the location. In the age of not having a backyard, finding venues that’ll keep 10 excited and sugared-up six-year-olds busy for two hours presents a considerable challenge. After the trampoline centre, visitedumpteen times over the past two years, there’s the indoor climbing gym, the local park (stalked out from the early hours of each weekend by parents on a mission to secure the best barbecue possie with streamers and balloons), the craft workshop or the tennis club.We opt for the traffic school, where kids arrive on bikes and scooters and zoom around gum-lined pathways while a hyper-vigilant lollipop lady instructs them on the importance of stopping at red lights and giving way at roundabouts.A week out from the event we begin buying cake dressings: milk chocolate squares for the tank tracks, a Chomp for the barrel, Oreo biscuits for the wheels. We also begin tracking the weather forecast, which promises gale force winds, thunderstorms and hail. Cancellation is contemplated but the lollipop lady insists the weather won’t matter: with bellies full of cake, the kids will happily peddle on regardless.On the morning of the big day we pack the car with sausage sizzle ingredients, the green cake and the scooter and head to the specified Melway reference. The gale blows, storms wash over and the skies shift between black, grey and occasional gaps of blue.Parents huddle under a tarpaulin torn in the wind, kids eat chipolatas wrapped in bread and do circuits at top speed, blissfully unencumbered by shouts from parents to “slow down” or “come back here”. The wind blows with such force the candles blow out before the song begins but the birthday kid couldn’t care less. He has friends and cake; it’s the perfect day.Source: