There's always so much going on before a Mr Banana Head party officially starts. I've talked previously about meeting the birthday child. Whilst I'm setting up I play music including anything special they like. I know beforehand what this is but always feign complete surprise when they excitedly tell me, "Mr Banana Head, I know this song." I love the fact that this can be repeated for ten songs and at no point do they start to suspect that maybe I'd been told their favourite songs in advance.
Often it's the classics like "I like to Move It", "Let It Go" and a bit of Abba. Current faves right now are "Shotgun," anything from the Greatest Showman and obviously "Baby Shark". To be fair that's not as bad as other 'fun' action songs. I can't bear stuff like "Superman" by Black Lace or "The Birdie song." The Chicken Song by Spitting Image, now that's a classic. The times I do get really excited is when they request some proper 80's or old school tunes. The ultimate of course is requests for Kate Bush and this has actually happened three times now. I was of course very emotional but kept my professional game face on and just wept for joy internally.
As soon as the guests start arriving I'm trying to take everything in including anyone who seems a bit wild or who might want to eat a chair during the show. I'll normally say something like, "Is anyone here really good at counting?" When someone says yes I ask their name (which I generally forget within 5 seconds) and then get them to count something for me. It's boys / girls initially. Then the next person might be all children wearing yellow / trainers/ dressed as a superhero. It then gets a bit odd and can include hippos, ("who are really good at hiding so it won't be easy") and people that look like Kate Bush.
The real problems occur with the diligent children who insist on updating me as numbers change. Half way through the show they'll suddenly be a "Mr Banana Head, Patrick's wearing yellow as well." It can be very off-putting. Not as annoying as children shouting poo / wee constantly but not great all the same.
Where there's a child that's got wayyy too much energy I get them to count all the chairs in the room. Frankly that's a difficult job for anyone so it normally does the trick if they count properly. Sometimes they just look at them and say "a million" which is really annoying. Some children will come up and say, "Hello Mr Banana Head", to which my standard reply is, "Hello Grandma, how are you?" After they've screamed out that their name isn't Grandma I profusely apologise, admit I was confused. I then say, "I meant hello Grandpa" and walk off.
I'm not generalising but more often than not when boys arrive they start running round the room screaming incoherently. Girls tend to be more chilled, talking to each other or they'll come and talk to me. I ask the girls why the boys are running round the room and always get the same answer, "They're just crazy." They'll also be a few children who seem overwhelmed by it all and who stick to their parents like Velcro. I gently go over and say hello. Sometimes they'll open up and feel ok to leave their parent's side after a few minutes. Sometimes the mere sight of me approaching sends them scuttling behind them like a scared flamingo. Have you ever seen a scared flamingo? They really are the scuttle masters.
If there's someone who's attacking everyone and generally being completely crazy I attempt to bribe them by asking if they'd like to help me later on. I explain that I can only choose people who sit really nicely so if they do that, they can help after the break. This usually works a charm and they sit like an angel for the whole show. Sometimes however, it makes no difference and I have no option but to set the Komodo Dragon on them. That never fails.
By the time we sit down and start the show most of the children have met me, been called Grandma and feel comfortable. Sometimes a bit too comfortable and this means I get called Mr Poo Head and the like. I soon sort that out as I am not Mr Poo Head or any other bodily function Head. Seriously, children are so immature!
So there you go, a little insight into what happens before Mango the monkey makes his appearance and I balance water on my head and dance like a chimp.
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