If you think Donald Trump is the most unpredictable person out there you probably don't have children! The old cliché "Out of the mouth of babes" is said for a reason. They can be brutally honest and say what they see without any filter. This can be side splittingly funny or completely terrifying. By the way, I just looked up the "mouth of babes" saying and it originated from the bible, who knew? They're also unpredictable in another way as they can spontaneously burst into tears at any given moment. I'm not talking about crying because they've fallen over or someone's snatched something from them. These are the moments when tears come completely unexpectedly.
I generally speak to children as if they're adults. Not just at parties but all the time. I do my best to gauge how they are so I know how and what I can say to them. 99% of the time it's fine, occasionally it goes a bit Pete Tong. That means wrong for my mum and everyone else not down with the kids. Today I'm proud to present to you my all time top five cries at a Mr Banana Head party. These are in no particular order, I love them all. Not that I love it when children cry as that would be very mean. Putting aside the actual tears, the reasons are just brilliant, funny and sometimes completely random.
The Tearful Top Five
5. Mango's Real - During my first year as Mr Banana Head I was booked for a girl's 4th birthday. She'd seen me before and loved it all, particularly Mango the monkey. I arrived at the house to set up and we were chatting away to each other. When the party started she was happy and excited. When I took Mango out and he turned around she jumped up, burst out crying and ran out the room to hide in the kitchen. She refused to come back until he was gone.
Later on I drew a picture on a board that magically came to life. As his mouth opened and he spoke she jumped up again, burst out crying and ran out again. As before, she refused to come back til George the taking picture was gone. This was only odd as she'd seen it all before and loved it all. She'll be a teenager now and hopefully ok with puppets and talking pictures.
4. Samuel Smelly Head - The birthday child always gets a card and present from me. They make up part of the prize for winning the Mr Banana Head Jungle Race Game. Examples of what's on the front of the card have been Jessica Jelly Head, Alfie Apple Head and Max Monkey Head. On Sam's 5th birthday his card was addressed to Sam Smelly Head. During the game I explain that whoever wins gets a prize and a card and I read out the name on the card. As I said, "Sam Smelly Head" I looked at Sam to see his whole face screw up. He then threw himself to the floor screaming, "I haven't got a smelly head."
I tried to reassure him that I was only being silly but to no avail. Tears and repeated sobs of "My head's not smelly" carried on for ages at the back of the room with his mum. Luckily he won the race so hopefully his enduring memory of that 10 mins of his life will be winning a bubble gun and pirate sword balloon. I would like to stress that this was the only time there were tears reading out the name. Other Smelly Heads have been fine along with Thomas Toothpaste Head, Charlie Chicken Head and many more.
3. The Human Giraffe - A bit similar to number 4 but this does make me laugh when I think of it. Again, not the birthday girl crying but the whole situation. I told you, I'm not mean. This was also during the race game. I'm giving the adults silly hats to wear and the first is a rather splendid giraffe head hat. My line is, "When Jason / Bob etc was younger he never used to be a boy, he was a baby giraffe. He had a really long neck and everything. Of course, on this occasion he was the dad of the birthday girl. Every other time I've said this line it's got a laugh from the children.
This time however the birthday girl's lip started to wobble and before I could say anything she burst into tears shouting, "My daddy wasn't a giraffe, he was my daddy. I quickly reassured her as did her dad that I was only being silly but she wasn't having any of it. Continuing wails of, "He's not a giraffe continued for about three weeks but she won the race so silver linings and all that.
2. Don't Disrespect Homies - This happened two weeks ago and was the inspiration for this post. It was a five year old's party and one of the first guests to arrive was immediately in my face and trying to hit me. Each time I tried to talk to him he went charging off. I'll be honest, when this happens it does make me a little nervous for the party. As long as I can speak to them it can be nipped in the bud and it's fine. When they're running off it's a bit more tricky to deal with. Anyway, I spoke to the other children as they arrived and after a few minutes we sat down and started the party.
To my relief and slight confusion the in my face boy was sitting at the table crying his eyes out. The birthday boy's mum tried to help and see what was wrong but he wasn't having any of it. He stayed at the table crying for about 20 minutes and then finally came and sat down. For the rest of the time til tea he stayed at the back of the children, quiet as a mouse. After he'd eaten he came to speak to me and I asked what had been wrong. If I had 300 years to guess the reason I still wouldn't have gotten it. Are you ready? A few of them were playing tag and the table was Homies (the safe place where you can't be tagged). One of his friends tagged him there which caused his tears and subsequent end of the universe breakdown. He was fine for the rest of the party and didn't partake in any more tag during the break. Probably a good idea.
1. Milk On The Brain - My last magic trick involves pouring a jug of milk into a newspaper perched on the head of the birthday child's dad. If there's no dad or he's not around we have Grandpas / Uncles / Random guests. It then disappears into his brain and the climax is getting the milk out of his brain through his fingers. Throughout the routine I'm watching the birthday child to make sure they're ok with it all. There can be a myriad of thoughts and worries going through a child's head at any time so I can appreciate how milk going into their dad's brain might be a little bit disconcerting. If I see the slightest lip wobble I'm straight over, whispering in their ear to reassure them that all is ok.
I watch the birthday child now but I didn't always. Originally I didn't give a second thought to the possibility that it could totally freak them out. During my first year I had a five year old girl's party and we spoke about her dad helping me with the magic trick. She was fine with it and so when the time came I called him up and started the routine. As I was about to pour the milk she cried out, "I don't want you to do that to my daddy," and burst out crying. He suggested having her Grandpa instead and she was happy with that. Well, happy until I went to pour the milk and then we had a repeat of "I don't want to you to do that to my Grandpa."
Her Uncle was suggested as a third choice but as before, at the crucial moment the tears came along with, "I only want you to do it to a complete stranger, no one in my family." By now we'd run out of time and it was almost Christmas so the complete stranger was let off too. Looking back now I wouldn't have persisted with the routine but as half the family were suggested as alternatives I cracked on with it. As with my first offering, I'm hoping she got over this and hasn't still got an aversion to milk jugs and rolled up newspapers.
So there you go, my tearful top five. Hope you enjoyed them but not too much and see you next time.
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