Saturday, July 12, 2008

What's all the fuss about?...

... is exactly what the look seemed to say that my daughter gave me this morning... as I squealed at the top of my lungs "guess who's birthday it is?" It is 8 in the morning and I am practically shouting. I can understand her perplexement as excitement is rarely an emotion expressed in the AM... except when my daughter helpfully hands me my bedside glass of water and ends up dowsing my head or the bed. This generally illicits a bit of shouting... among other things... But to the birthday question she looks at me blankly. She has no clue what a birthday is though I've been trying my darndest to get the message across all week. "Ja-Ja?" she responds. Ja-Ja is what she calls her cousin Jayden, who is 5 weeks older and knows exactly what a birthday is. Jayden actually hasn't stopped talking about my daughter's upcoming party for the last 3 weeks. She rattles through her list of expectations... cake, presents, ice cream, as though she is an expert on the subject (2 year old party crasher perhaps?). Sephira however is content enough with having pancakes for breakfast.

Suddenly I feel like a fool. It's a growing suspicion that will be continually re-affirmed throughout the day. I'm really beginning to realize how little 2 yr olds actually care about birthdays... and how silly parents are to not realize it. I feel even sillier as I am rushing her out of the house with threats and bribes simply to get her to attend her own party- which as she has no concept of the word, she may possibly be starting to believe that it is a sort of purgatory 2 yr olds are sent to as atonement for all their previous 24 months worth of misbehavior.

Oh the party...

"B" has let me know that she is headed to location 1/2 hour early to decorate. There is not much more I can even say on this point... just know that I am rolling my eyes... much like a 12 yr old. And this is where things get a little awkward for me. Upon arrival to the "party room", I feel completely assured that I have made the right decision for our particular family. The party table is neatly set with individual place settings, craft materials in place and ready to go. Another table is neatly arrayed in misc juice box flavors, snacks, undecorated cupcakes, party hats (construction hats for boys, crowns for girls), presents, party favors... it goes on and on. A very odd sensation comes over me... sort of how you feel in 11th grade when you're looking at the popular girls at school, and though you're certain that you would never want to be like them, you strangely find yourself feeling like you're missing out on something you're supposed to be a part of. This is how I felt as I quietly placed our humble bag in the corner and slunked (slank? slunk?) out of the room. And though "B" was all smiles, graciously greeting me and wishing my daughter a happy day, I couldn't help but feel there was something more I was not quite catching onto. I had however observed that while party mom was busily preparing party room, party girl was nowhere in sight.? But onto it the party... my child played and played and played and even though I had never managed to convince her of that nap before we came... played some more. At this point I feel like a complete idiot. Why had I EVER thought it would be a good idea to shell out $60 (out of $120) for a party room? I could have spent $8 for 2 kids to play and we could have eaten our cake on the sidewalk! Outside on Main St. , the streets were closed for "chalk it up" ... a day where everyone in the town decorates the sidewalk with chalk. Bands were playing and I was certain she'd have been just as thrilled. Not to mention that she had spent the morning begging me to take her to the "wa-wa" which means the river where she loves to play. But NO... mommy had already paid a deposit.

An hour and 15 minutes later it was our turn for the "party room." Out shuffled "B's" group, decorated totes and hats in hand as they headed off to play. Meanwhile, I am dragging my child into the room, trying my best to convince her that she really does want cake (actually I made peach pie... peaches were on sale... SHE'S TWO!... leave me alone!) and that it will only take a few minutes. And this is where the afore-mentioned awkwardness turns to a straight up nausea though not by anything I am able to directly put my finger on. On the table in the corner are 3 goody bags- one with my daughter's name and 2 with her name and the word "guest" below it. For her guests? Ok... thoughtful... kind. Behind that, a polished silver pie cutter has been placed atop my little peach pie. Hhhmm... And in the corner, a pile of presents... with my daughter's name on them... I say presentS... as in plural... as in many. At this point "B" enters the room to retrieve some forgotten item. I ask her "did other people get Sephira presents? That was really unecessary." She looks at me with a triumphant smile on her face, "no" she replies, "We did. She's just so SPECIAL to us, we couldn't help it" and she whisks out of the room. I am nauseated. My happy thoughts are are fighting to be heard. Did she think I was depriving my child? Does she consider me a bad mom for not heaping "stuff" all over my daughter? If there's anything that irks me more than mean people who are outrightly rude, it's passively mean people who never actually say what they think but spend countless hours contriving ways to let you know how they really feel. But they're always smiling when you talk to them, making it very hard to ever pinpoint if actual meanness is taking place or if it's all in your head!!! I'm so seething mad at this moment that I'm having a hard time remembering all the good lessons I just learned. I'm having trouble caring whether I can be civil to B later in public.

Of course my daughter loved the pink princess dress-up costume that "B" got her and refused to take the silver high heels off for nearly the rest of the day. I'm grateful that she at least held off on the tiara and the wand. Those who know me know how hard I've tried to stave off the pink and the princesses in my house. It may be an inevitable part her future... I don't know... but I"m not trying to set her up to think that it is her mandatory role as a little girl. But what can I do. My sister bought her play make-up and she spent at least 1/2 hour standing quietly by herself applying it to her forehead, hair, and arms (also pictures to come.) She actually growled if anyone came near her. Oh, and she didn't even touch her homeade organic peach pie.

By the end of the day, I had a very happy but very tired 2 yr old. I was out $60 but I had learned enough to (hopefully) get through the next 16 birthdays. I packed up my little girl, with her orange and pink face and her fluffy new skirt and headed to dinner. As we were seated at the pizza place I finally relaxed and breathed a sigh that we had made it through the whole experience. It was then that I heard a familiar laugh and looked up to realize that we had been seated across from none other than..... B.

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