Those of you who have known me for a long time may remember that stage in my 20’s where I celebrated my birthday with a week-long festival called Jessival. I don’t quite remember how it started but it was a fabulous excuse to party for a full week. It sounds obnoxious now but I was 20 something and lucky enough to have a strong cohort of people who wanted to party with me.

Sadly I had to leave Jessival in my 20’s. A week of partying now makes me feel really anxious, and let's be honest, without being fueled by booze we’d all probably go home after dinner on the first night anyway.

I thought I’d seen the end of week long parties but it turns out that they are hereditary and it is in fact Alice who had taken the reins of extended birthday celebrations. We haven’t coined a name yet but the working title is Aliversary.    

Alice’s birthday is the 8th of May but it kicked off with May Day on May 1st. May Day is our family holiday where we take the day off and do what we want! Kind of like a ‘yes’ day. This year we took the kids to Mary Poppins then stayed in Melbourne so we could spend the next day (first of may) mooching around the city doing nice things together.

Frank (7) appreciated that even though it was a yes day, there were going to be limits to what we’d agree to. Frank took his time and got some items that he’d wanted for a long time. Alice on the other hand thought that she should get something from every shop we walked into. Her ‘yes day’ quickly became a more than normal ‘no day’. 

All and all the day was great! Matt and I got to say a few ‘yes’ to the kids and that's what it was all about. It was also the start of the seven day countdown to Alice’s birthday! 

The following week was spent planning Alice’s party which was to be a Mad Hatters Tea party with 8 of her classroom friends. This is one of the first parties Alice has had that wasn’t an excuse for us to have an adults party. She called the shots and we capped the limits.

We spent all day Saturday doing party prep which included making ‘pass the parcel’ and ‘pin the tail on the donkey’ - or in this case we had ‘pin the mo on Alice’. I’d printed out a massive picture of Alice and we drew different items for the kids to try and stick on her - there were funny glasses, moustaches, lollipops and angry eyebrows.

The party was on Sunday afternoon and I’d underestimated how loud and raucous ten 5, 6 and 7 year olds could be. Maybe it was because we ignored them and their antics at our adults party but the vibe was HIGH. 

The party was a hit and Alice had an absolute blast. Being a kids party rather than an adult one it also meant that the party lasted for the scheduled 2 hours and then everyone went home! This was great because I was starting to get tired. Everyone had a massive week and an early night was essential because Monday was Alice’s actual birthday!

By this stage everyone is over Alice’s birthday apart from Alice! She was up at 6am ready to go. You forget how exciting it is on your birthday. Especially around the 5, 6, 7 mark - it has this kind of mystical wonderment about it, like Christmas and the tooth fairy.

Unfortunately for Alice it was a Monday like any other and she’d have to go to school and after school care but we’d do something special for her birthday dinner. Her request was for sushi…

Now regional towns aren’t the best for monday night dining and Ballarat was no different. We did manage to find one place that did sushi on their website so we booked in for 4 people at 6pm.

For some reason Monday was a massive day for both Matt and myself. I had heaps of meetings, we had a person from the state government coming to talk to us about the prefab system. Matt picks up the kids on Monday evenings so I was going to meet them at home just before going out for dinner. 

I rush home at 5.45 and Alice is standing in the lounge with a face covered in pink highlighter where she has drawn manga kitten features, a leopard print dress and a pair of red high heels (my one and only, ever) . I immediately told her to take the heels off but she said Dad said she could wear them. I give Matt a cross look, who just shrugs and says - it's her birthday.

There isn’t time to remove the kitten face but Alice assumes me it was deliberate and she wanted to keep it on - it's her birthday so I put the face cloth down. 

We arrive at the restaurant late since Alice has to be carried most of the way because she can’t walk in a pair of fricken ADULT WOMENS HIGH HEELS. I make Matt carry her and the scene reminds me of terrible photos that come out after the Melbourne Cup of drunk ladies getting carried away with their high heels in the air. 

The restaurant is so quiet and cold that we think it's closed. The waitress assures us that they’re open and leads us through to a section of the restaurant where the Teppanyaki is set up. Shit. I’ve accidentally booked Teppanyaki! Alice wants some sushi and Frank might have a couple of Gyoza. We don’t need a personal chef for that.

There is some confusion about whether we should sit in the regular side of the restaurant or by the BBQ and we decided that maybe Matt and I can get Teppanyaki because the kids will find it interesting… We go to order and find out that they haven't had a sushi chef for a year now and no longer do sushi. 

Alice can’t hide the disappointment behind her highlighter kitten face. They recommend some sashimi and being a good sport, Alice is keen to try it. Alice doesn’t like sashimi, we realise as she spits half chewed king fish into a napkin I’m holding. Frank does like the gyoza which is a success.

The rest of the meal was this terribly awkward situation with our family sitting at the top of the BBQ facing the chef. On the left we were joined by a single man (probably a doctor from the hospital just wanted something quick to eat and accidentally ended up at Teppanyaki like us) and on the right, another family with a teenager daughter. The family dynamic was hard to read but this teenager was pissed at her Dad and his girlfriend. You could’ve cut the tension with the chef's razor sharp knife in his holster. 

The funniest (most awkward) thing about this scene was that the chef who was cooking our dinner was really cross at the waitress! Everytime she seated someone new around the BBQ he looked furious! Maybe they weren’t meant to do Teppanyaki on a Monday night? Who knows what was going on but it was strange! 

The only redeeming factor was that the food was amazing. The chef’s rage didn’t seem to affect the quality of the dishes, which was just as well because it ended up costing us a fucken fortune! 

It’s now been a few days since Alice's birthday and I finally feel that life is returning to normal again. I underestimated how consuming a 6 year olds birthday week could be but to be honest I’m also extremely proud that the ability to celebrate ‘well and true’ has been passed onto the next generation!

Video of the week
Parkway Drive vocalist Winston McCall explains how he 'scream sings' | Australian Story
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Bang on: Eurovision, Coronation, Dolly Parton’s Rockstar
Font of the week
Nohemi: Font of the week by Rajput Rajesh

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