We threw a Fairy Tale themed birthday party for Maya the Saturday before she turned three.
Will party organizing get easier or harder as she gets older?
Whenever the subject of birthdays had come up in the previous – oh, I don't know – 6 (!) months, Maya had been very clear that her birthday would have "cake and balloons and candles." "Cake" would alternate with "chocolate" and she was also very particular that it was "cupcakes." (Chocolate cupcakes with chocolate icing.) Though we almost screwed up the candles when the big day arrived, I had felt pretty confident we could meet those expectations.
My bigger concern was how to host more than two three year olds in our tiny house, especially as we got closer to Maya's birthday and realized how the enourmety of her social circle. Thanks to two years of playgroup coop, Spanish school this year (just one day per week), and neighborhood kids, we could easily have invited 30+ children that Maya identifies as her friends. We decided not to include current classmates, since we would celebrate with them at school, and limit the party to friends Maya didn't get to see every day. But, we still ended up with an RSVP list of nine!
We didn't consult her on the theme, but we chose something that seemed to fit. We invited all the children to come in fairy tale character costumes. When they arrived, we decorated paper crowns. We then embarked on a quest. Our original plan was to use the playground of the school across the street and hunt for beanie babies that needed rescuing followed by a dragon pinata (Pull pinata, no slaying involved at 3 years old. Slaying can come later.) Unfortunately, the very community-oriented charter school padlocked their playground gate that weekend (they don't always). Luckily, a quick brainstorm with a neighbor and first parent to arrive saved the day. We went for a sticker hunt around the block as we searched for the friendly dragon (in our backyard). The kids loved it.
Whe the subject of birthdays came up the next morning, I asked: "Maya, did we have a party yesterday?" The tone of voice and look in her eyes while repsonding "Yes, it was my party" made it worth the effort.
Nearly Halloween birthday pretty much guarantees excess . . .
That party was just the begining of the birthday-to-Halloween extravaganza that we can look forward to pretty much every year, I think. The following week, there was a Halloween party at Spanish school, a birthday party with another child at coop playgroup, the neighborhood Halloween party, a playgroup Halloween parade with cupcakes, and, finally, trick-or-treating.
The fairy ballerina princess costume above got worn (without wings and eventually without wand) four times and missed one event because it was in the wash (we have alternative fairy outfits). By Halloween night though, Maya was no longer a fairy ballerina princess at all. She was a bat.
Without fail, neighbors would ask our trick-or-treater if she was a princess or a ballerina. She was wearing a sparkly black leotard and pink tutu after all. Maya would answer with a very straight face "No, I'm a bat," often followed by a "pirouette".