I don’t have many pictures of Lia on her 6th Birthday. It was the day after Somer’s Wedding, the day Emily and Ella left, and we were generally lack lustre and slow, recovering from the weekend. The girls, however, were ready for an early morning twirl…dressed once again in their flower girl dresses (now bespattered with the delights of the reception dinner). Amelie’s over her kitty pajamas. Some gifts and spumoni at Spaghetti Factory, and we were satisfied…especially knowing that there were more celebrations to come on the weekend.
We haven’t had an invite-other-people birthday party in this house for…um…three years. Half of our parenting life. For various reasons, most circumstantial.
But if you really dig deep into my psyche, the truth is that I don’t like missing out on the fun with the Birthday Child. And if I’m hosting a party, then I’m occupied and preoccupied with things beyond celebration and enjoyment and relationship…you know, things like cleaning. And cooking. And hosting. Which are all great, usually, but leave me feeling disenchanted when it comes to my children’s birthdays. (Lia :: Mom, you can come out of the kitchen to play.)
So when Lia started talking earnestly and repeatedly about having a birthday party for her 6th birthday, I decided to give it some serious thought. Surely there must be a way to have a party with friends that I can be fully engaged in.
So we invited two families. And served burritos. Absolutely none of the meal was from scratch. Didn’t even grate the cheese.
Every one was requested to dress fancy, and they did not disappoint.
We began the afternoon by decorating masquerade masks that I had printed on cardstock. Lia is wearing her Birthday Crown, a la Soulemama’s book The Creative Family. (I missed the boat on that one…I let her choose what colors and embellishments she wanted…but in hindsight I should have just designed it myself. Well, we were festive this year and next year we’ll make another one.)
Introducing … Jean-Luc, Cosette, Flower, Marguerite, Butterfly, Alexandra, Miko, Georgette (that’s me), and Lola. with Bob and Levi (who didn’t get fancy names for some reason…let’s call them Jacques and Henri).
Then we posed for some group photos. I should have gotten a picture of Devo and myself…he was bescarved and behatted, and I was resplendent in my college recital dress with a boa and a silver cape. We were quite a pair.
This was to be a party where all invitees played together…including the adults…so we began the games with several rounds of continuous storytelling. Alexandra, the KGB spy, was a favorite recurring character. Lots of laughing, lots of imagination. Luckily no peeing the pants.
Next up, a game of Sardines. Nobody had ever played sardines before, so it was extra fun. Sardines is basically hide and seek…backwards. “It” goes and hides. When somebody finds “it”, they hide also. So pretty soon there are a bunch of people packed (like sardines) in a tight spot. Last one to find the hiders is the next it.
Turns out we have a great house for sardines.
And you know what was the most fun for me was that the parents weren’t sitting off to the side, chatting and smiling benevolently at child-only games. We were all playing, laughing, hiding…with the kids. It was great. Perfect party.
And now Lia is SIX, and I’m having a hard time adjusting. Waldorf theorizes that when children begin losing their teeth is about the same time when they become much more aware of and participating in the outside world. And it really seems to be true. It’s wonderful, but I can’t help but being a little sad, too. Growing up takes some getting used to.