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Jack’s birthday is coming up. He wants to have a slumber party. It was my suggestion. Why? Why did I mention slumber party?  What am I, crazy?! I just loved slumber parties when I was a kid. It was so 1970’s, right? Bring your own sleeping bag, stay up all night giggling, come home in the morning cranky and out of sorts from all the excitement and political power plays of the group dynamics.

How can I not facilitate that experience for my son? But is he too young? He’s only turning eight.

birthday

Sometimes it’s challenging to equate my childhood birthdays with my son’s. For my eighth birthday dad rented a bus and took a bunch of kids to Magic Mountain (now Six Flags). My older sisters enjoyed it more than me, really. The rides were a little scary.  I did get a Snoopy Doll with an outfit (the pilot outfit) which I loved! It was a rock star kid’s birthday party. My early birthday memories are the product of parents who were living large and loving it. Like so many aspects of my upbringing, it’s challenging to apply to how I was raised in relation to my own son.

Not to mention I’m also sort of an expert on kid’s birthday parties.

When I was in my early 20’s just out of University I got a job performing at children’s birthday parties for Robin the Clown.  She was a brassy, new yorker with a condo in the valley and a red Mercedes with the license plate RTCLN. Everyone who worked for her secretly hated her, which of course made me feel sorry for her.  She paid us $40 a party and provided the goodie bags, the lame magic tricks, and the often smelly costumes. Every weekend, I drove all around Los Angeles showing up at random stranger’s homes in rich and poor neighborhoods making or breaking the kid’s big day.

birthday

Some highlights from my career as a kid’s birthday party entertainer:

  • I swallowed a long piece of blonde Barbie wig hair singing If You’re Happy and You know it Clap Your Hands at a swanky country club in Hancock Park.
  • I left a Mickey Mouse head on the top of the trunk of my car by mistake in Yorba Linda (birthplace of disgraced U.S. President Nixon, coincidence) and had to pay Robin $150.
  • My rainbow afro clown wig got caught on a branch of a tree in the park and got pulled off my head  after I performed a kick-ass set for a 5-year-old.  A group of kids saw it happen and pointed at me yelling,”Bye fake clown!  Bye fake clown!” all the way to my car.
  • A rich, blonde orange county mother gave me a ride back to my car and confessed to being a one time high end call girl in Japan.  I was dressed as Ariel from the Little Mermaid.
  • I finally quit doing the parties when a mom complained that my Barbie was “mean”.

Precious Chong is a writer and actor living in Toronto. She’s also a professional stilt walker and is the daughter of cult movie hero Tommy Chong.

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