We’ve always thrown big birthday parties for Matteo, (see his first and his second) but this year was going to be tricky. We didn’t want him to feel like his birthday was lost in the shuffle of Vincent’s arrival. But he’s finally at an age where birthday parties are exciting and a family-only party wasn’t going to cut the mustard. He absolutely had his heart set on inviting a bunch of his new school friends to celebrate with him, however, having a new baby one month before his birthday gave me little time to plan and hosting a lot of new people at our home wasn’t going to be an option.
Being a typical three-year-old boy, Matteo is obsessed with firemen, policemen, ambulances and rescue helicopters. He told us he wanted a fireman birthday and asked if a fire truck could come to our house. Well, no. Sorry, kid. But we could bring him, and all of his friends, to the fire truck!
I called the fire department and they said each station hosts free tours and you can make a reservation ahead of time for your group. The only catch is that if there is a call, all the firemen have to leave the station and then you’re out of luck. With no other ideas, I decided to go for it. I sent out invitations, crossed my fingers, and hoped for the best.
Luck was totally on our side. The day of Matteo’s party was also the day of the Mifflin Street Block Party, a HUGE all-day party involving thousands of drunk college students – and just about every police officer and fire department in the city, who are there to make sure things don’t go totally haywire. But by some miracle, when we showed up for the tour of the station, the firemen hadn’t yet been called out to the party – and didn’t get a call the whole time we were there.
It was such an awesome party. The firefighters were totally amazing. They showed the kids the engine and let them crawl all over it.
They did a really cool demonstration for the kids, showing them all of their gear and how they suit up for a fire.
When I confirmed our reservation for the tour I was told (by a very gruff firefighter who, luckily, wasn’t on duty the day we came) that I should expect the tour to last no more than 30 minutes because the kids would all be terrified and start crying, and we wouldn’t be allowed to see any other part of the station besides the garage with the engines. Because of this, instead of a cake, I individually boxed cupcakes for the kids, expecting I would just hand them out as everyone was leaving.
But the team that was on duty was so great. Not only did they give the kids a full tour of the fire station including their living quarters and the pole…
they invited the kids to sit in their kitchen to eat their cupcakes, and gave each one a coloring book about fire safety. They even sang happy birthday with us!
It was so much fun and all of the kids had great time. And there was no crying! Matteo was weird and wouldn’t wear his fireman’s hat. But the weirder he is, the more fun he’s having.
Thanks so much Madison Fire Department Station 3!
(And special thanks to the amazingly talented Carrie Kilman for taking such great photos!)