Mara turned five on Easter Sunday. We celebrated the day before by having a few of Mara’s buddies over for a ballerina-themed party. Most of the parents stayed, but two did not, one of them a dad. He apologized for “dropping off” and beat a hasty retreat, muttering about work he had to do.
It was a Grande Tyme. We happened to hit on a Schedule of Events that worked out really well for a two-hour party that didn’t seem any too short by the time it was over. The girls ran around for ten or fifteen minutes while everyone arrived, and then the very first thing we did was sit them down around the table for a snack. They ate pretzels, cheese sticks, grapes and apple chunk kebabs on toothpicks with orange and red ribbon frills. Apple and “berry” juice boxes were offered. All the participants chose apple so as to “be like the birthday girl”. The timing of the snack proved felicitous indeed. All the girls were starved.
It was my idea to play Duck Duck Goose, which was a big hit but almost didn’t happen. Mara didn’t really feel like it, so the bill was about to die on the House floor, as it were, but I asked the girls if they would play it if I played too, and one of the older girls said that sounded fun. Just like in Twelve Angry Men, the jury of seven finally turned completely around, although in less time. We played Duck Duck Goose for twenty whole minutes.
Next it was time to make necklaces. Thanks to Angela’s preparedness and resourcefulness, each participant was supplied with a little cup of beads and little wooden letters to spell their name. We helped them string them in the right order. This proved to be the perfect sit-down, eye-hand crafty event to follow the physicality of Duck Duck Goose.
Then the cupcakes were brought out. The celebrants could choose from pink, orange or white frosting. The table was divided, pinks on the east side and oranges on the west side. The oldest girl braved it alone and chose white. Then they were given M&Ms and sparkles with which to decorate their cupcakes. The spectacle of seven kids mauling cupcakes heaped with candy and licking frosting off their elbows in sherbet colors is a sight better left to the imagination.
The revelers then adjourned for the Opening of Presents. We had coached Mara a little beforehand in how to be gracious, to retard somewhat that devastatingly brutal honesty that kids exhibit around gift opening. It worked. With only occasional prompting from us, she thanked each of her tributaries upon opening their gifts, and even rose from her Opening of Presents Throne to embrace each of them in their turn. It was sweet.
Where did the time go? They say the days are long and the years are short, and I’ve found this to be true. Already.