13 Oct2007


As a kid, I was always thrilled to “make” my own space, lean-to, room, tent, house, whatever you want to call it. When I was about 6, that meant a large bedsheet draped over a bunch of chairs or couches. Later it got a bit more sophisticated and at age 9-10, when my family moved to a newly constructed home, I had an actual one room lean-to made out of of excess 2×2’s and used plywood in the empty lot next door. I used to “escape” to this place to play marbles with friends, engage in battles with the cool green spiders we stored in matchboxes, get a caffeine high on a family sized Coke we would swipe from the pantry and just spend hours with friends without adult supervision… Things haven’t really changed much in nearly 40 years, as I find kids today still love hanging out in their own makeshift space. That was a long introduction to a three-post series on The Kid’s 12th birthday party…


The Kid had her first sleepover birthday party at age 8. That year, she decided she wanted to have a “camp” theme… but they didn’t seem like the “sweat it out in the yard with bugs types.” So we thought of a “hybrid camp”… we purchased two cheap garden tents for about PHP800 each from the hardware store, then had cacha panels made for the sides. One tent was assembled to full height and a second tent was done at half height (the bedroom), you see the results above. We assembled this tent in our living room. We then decorated the inside of the tent as though they were in the woods, with converted gas lamps, mosquito netting, sleeping bags, flashlights, etc. and this became their party central headquarters. They even had “Camp Kid” t-shirts and bandanas to complete the look. It was an absolute hit. So good in fact, it was clear the idea would be repeated again and again, just like the annual treasure hunts. So the next year, at age 9, The Kid decided on a Safari theme, and the inside of the same tent was converted into an African animal adventure, complete with animal rugs with heads (synthetic, a Megamall store), papier mache animal heads, all of The Kid’s existing stuffed animals, animal prints (Divisoria) draped over couches, etc. At age 10, the tent transformed once again into a middle eastern or Arabian tent, complete with carpets, lots of draped fabric, and as a surprise, a family friend came over late in the evening and performed an honest to goodness belly dance! But the best part of this party had to be Marketman doing his crystal ball trick… Near midnight, I gathered all the girls in the tent and I waved my hands over the crystal ball and started to divulge some of their deepest darkest secrets. Little did they know Mrs. MM had called each of the girls parents and asked them things that no one outside the family would know. So I knew what their favorite stuffed animal was, the names of their pets, the times they were happiest, the trips they took, etc. and I wove this into “my crystal ball says, your favorite pajamas are…” and it truly FREAKED out the girls no end. I had to keep making excuses to go to the bathroom and check my notes for more details. They were calling their parents past midnight screaming “The Kid’s dad is totally psychic, he really KNOWS stuff MOM!” Hahaha. I had so much fun, and so did they apparently. And even The Kid didn’t know what we did so they were in awe until the next morning when I came clean at breakfast. That was a hoot.


For her 11th birthday, the Kid did a small sleepover at the beach, so the tent took a rest last year. And frankly, I thought that would be it. Turning 12 is a major milestone. I think 12 is the new 15 or 16, with kids these days a lot more sophisticated than they were in my days. While the Kid still wanted a treasure hunt, I tried to discourage it as last year’s version just took so much effort and it is hard to keep 12 year olds surprised… So we agreed to bring an end to the treasure hunts… but the tent made one last (I think) appearance but we were struggling with a theme to this year’s festivities… Noticing that fashion appears to be taking a forefront to their free time, we quickly figured out a nice segue into the teenish years…


“The Look for Less” is a t.v. show where folks are given a budget and have to replicate a look. This year, the tent turned into The Kid’s closet, or actually, a fashion tent. First the Kid and guests leafed through local and foreign magazines to select a “look.” They were then whisked to the nearby Market!Market! Flea Market! and with a very limited budget and just 60 minutes, they had to replicate their chosen looks as best they could. I have to say, they were quite brilliant at their tasks and did a fine job of recreating their looks, down to accessories in some cases… But the best was yet to come…



  1. dee says:

    cool! i’m so inggit! my parents never threw me a bday party with any thought put into it. i only had the usual — cake, food, and clowns and magic when i was younger. now they just give me moolah to throw my own party. haha. i hope the Kid knows how lucky she is to have parents like you! :)

    Oct 13, 2007 | 12:46 pm


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  3. Katrina says:

    What a cool and creative dad you really are, MM! And I like how you enjoy it as much as the kids do, because it shows you haven’t lost your own sense of fun. Also, as an added (and perhaps unintended) benefit, apart from the wonderful memories you’re giving The Kid, you’re teaching her to be imaginative and resourceful — qualities that will certainly be useful when she becomes an adult.

    Oct 13, 2007 | 12:56 pm

  4. Trish says:

    You amd Mrs MM are the coolest parents I know. YOU ROCK!!!

    Oct 13, 2007 | 1:17 pm

  5. allen says:

    Please adopt me :)

    Oct 13, 2007 | 4:01 pm

  6. steph says:

    The Kid’s very lucky to have parents like you :)

    Oct 13, 2007 | 8:07 pm

  7. edel says:

    my kid’s turning 7 early next year and she’s been bugging me about a slumber party! i like the safari tent idea and maybe have some matching jammies/nightshirts made for my daughter and her friends =)

    happy birthday to The Kid!

    Oct 13, 2007 | 8:44 pm

  8. kaye says:

    wow! cool… it’s always special when you can have a bunch of your closest friends overnight just chatting and munching on food.. you’re a sweet and thoughtful dad.. i wish i had one too… *sighs* lucky kid you have there! you and Mrs.MM rock!

    Oct 13, 2007 | 9:16 pm

  9. shalimar says:

    hay this is part of my job sometimes when a party hits the boat finding a theme or so
    the kids of my boss at age of 9 already know what kind of party they are having for their bar mitzvah.

    great parents!!! happy birthday to the kid… since am in athens… the greeks would great NA THA EKATOSTISEIS MAY SHE LIVED TILL THE HUNDREDTH

    Oct 13, 2007 | 9:30 pm

  10. odette says:

    Did you by any chance go the supermarket with the teens?

    Oct 13, 2007 | 11:20 pm

  11. chunky says:

    lucky, lucky kid! those are memories she will keep remembering forever. now, that’s truly priceless. keep up the good work Mr. and Mrs. MM!

    Oct 13, 2007 | 11:38 pm

  12. Mandy says:

    oh wow, that has got to be the coolest party! shopping challenge for fashionable 12 year olds! the kid’s lucky to have parents like you and mrs. mm.

    Oct 13, 2007 | 11:39 pm

  13. monica says:

    What a cool idea! Thanks for the shout out to “The Look for Less.” I actually work for E!. Happy birthday, Kid!

    Oct 14, 2007 | 12:07 am

  14. mardie says:

    kewl! you make a heck of a daddy MM. happy birthday to The Kid.

    Oct 14, 2007 | 11:03 am

  15. Jennifer says:

    You have the most wondeerful ideas! Hope I remember them when its time for us to give my daughter her own parties. :)

    Oct 14, 2007 | 12:14 pm

  16. zeph says:

    Happy 12th Birthday to the Kid! Great job MM! I agree that not a lot of parents would go to the lengths of being this creative with their children’s birthday parties. The Kid is surely having a magical childhood!

    On the tents, I agree, we had a sandlot across our yard and we’d hold forts, setting up tents with mom’s linens. Of course, we’d get a mighty whooping in the a** for messing with our bedcovers, but it was all worth it.

    Oct 15, 2007 | 10:27 am

  17. Blaise says:

    Aww, MarketMan, you’re such a cool dad! ;P

    Oct 15, 2007 | 11:26 am

  18. teth says:

    cool dad, huh!

    Oct 15, 2007 | 12:55 pm

  19. suzette says:

    during my childhood, tents gave me a feeling of privacy and independence. aside from my bedroom, it is my small personal space, where i can be whatever i want to be:)

    Oct 15, 2007 | 9:50 pm

  20. peanutbeanma says:

    awesome parties!!!! awesome dad!!! im sooooo um…borrowing (or should i say “plagiarizing” – wahaha) these ideas come the day my 2 and 4yr.old gals are a bit older…

    Oct 15, 2007 | 10:08 pm


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