There was a time when the local firehouses allowed kids to have birthday parties at the actual stations. We would do that in a heartbeat, but alas, the option isn’t available anymore. And, for good reason. Apparently, on one-too-many occasions, a call came in and the firefighters had to leave the station and the party. Nothing like the high-pitched wail of multiple sirens to throw a damper on the high-pitched wails of multiple children.
There was also a time when firefighters would drive their fire truck to a KID’S HOUSE (!) for the birthday party. I can’t even imagine such a thing. That, obviously, got squashed. I’m guessing the idea of having fire trucks spread around the city at kids’ parties is probably a bad idea. “Sorry it took an extra three minutes to get to the emergency, Mr. Johnson. Little Jimmy Smith was turning three.” That probably wouldn’t fly.
So, just as we did last year for K-Man’s Thomas the Train-themed extravaganza, we hit the Web to start our research. We thought we might have a few streamers, a little of this touch, some of that touch and we’d be good. Well, according to what some of the other parents have done with their firefighter-themed parties…we suck.
I can’t believe what some of these people are doing for two and three-year-olds' birthday parties. Some of the ideas were so complex and ornate that there’s simply NO WAY a three-year-old could comprehend the work they took to produce. Hell, I’m surprised some of these families actually stopped short of burning down their houses in order to make the party as authentic as possible for their kids. Can’t have the party at the firehouse? No problem, we’ll just start a four-alarm blaze and bring three or four firehouses to us! How’s THAT for a firefighter party, Little Johnny?
I’ve started talking to the local firefighters – all of whom know K-Man – about what we might be able to do. And, I’m thinking that instead of paying for a clown (or performer of some kind), we’ll have an offduty firefighter come to the house. (S)he can show the kids all the gear and teach them how to stop, drop and roll. Maybe we’ll even take a trip to the local firehouse for a tour. No, the party can’t BE there, but the party can certainly stop in.
The fact is that K-Man is going to be three. His imagination – like his friends’ imaginations – is in full swing. They don’t need a whole lot to get excited. A few plastic helmets, some red and orange streamers, a hose and a fire-truck-shaped cake should pretty much do the trick. Oh, and of course, a firefighter jumpy. Certainly don’t need a whole lot beyond that.
In the end, the birthday party is about the celebration. It’s about having all your friends and family around. It’s about fun. The theme is…well, the proverbial icing on the cake. K-Man will have his b’day party and he’ll have a great time. He’ll love the firefighter touches. When it’s all over, what he’ll probably talk about more than anything is that his best little buddy, Charlie, was there. And, frankly, that’s the way it should be.