Feathers and tiaras and fairy wings oh my!
Somehow I could see this exact party playing out just like this in the Castro in San Francisco.
I had so much more fun than I thought I would. Helping a flea year old open her presents is much better than any Christmas or birthday I've personally experienced in a long time. However nice it is to get a gift certificate to a spa, or new pair of earrings, it's infinitely better to watch someone else get a sea animal sticker book, or a bath-time Princess kit. Or maybe I'm just losing my mind.
Each present she received was met with sheer delight. She loved everything, from the cardboard 'fairy wand' given by a very intuitive friend, to the bubble bath filled plastic sea creatures in another parcel. Absolute raptures. At one point, bleary-eyed and tufty-haired when opening presents first thing, she turned to us and said 'aren't we having so much fun?'. I'm going to revel in this for as long as possible, because I know the day will soon be upon us when she yells 'but I asked for a pony you morons, my day is ruined'.
She was less ecstatic *of course* about the longed for Playmobil aeroplane and airport we special ordered. In the run-up to her birthday, we'd asked what she most wanted, and she always said 'a airplane'. That and 'candy' were the only two items on her wish list. The plane and airport took an aeon to assemble, but was the best fun I've had in ages.
I'm actually thinking of asking for a Playmobil 'hospital' or 'shopping mall' for my own birthday just so I can spend another blissful couple of hours putting all the plastic pieces together. I'm not being sarcastic, it was a perfectionist nerd's wet dream. Anna has warmed to the idea of the plane (I think she was initially disappointed in the fact it wasn't going to fly....). She passes many a happy ten minutes taking every member of the cabin crew in to the aeroplane toilet and warning them that it will be noisy and that they must hold on to them's Mummys to be not be scared. Apparently she still has some residual issues with the noisiness of aeroplane flush toilets...
I made her cake from scratch (scratch includes a cake mix if you're me, but the icing was pure talent). It was actually the second attempt. The first failed to emerge from the tin and trying to pry it out left me with a virtual confectioners jigsaw puzzle of crumbs. LK took one look at the carnage and said 'we're not throwing that away'!
Round two with cake tins buttered to within an inch of their lives was more successful. HRH demanded 'lellow' icing and I managed to find real Smarties at the local Indo-China market (where else?!). Smarties have changed a lot since I were a lass. They are now made with all-natural food colourings and look slightly anaemic and odd. Or maybe they'd just been on the shelf since 2003. I'm sure they are much better for you without the food colourings, and the orange ones do still taste orange, but I miss a nice bit of E129 and E127 with my cake and ice-cream.
On the English birthday party theme, we also played 'pass the parcel' a childhood game that I really loved. For those uneducated, it's a game that involves a gift that has been wrapped many, many times, with occasional smaller gifts scattered throughout the layers. Music is played and the parcel is passed from child to child. When the music stops, whichever child is holding the parcel gets to unwrap a layer. Completely novel to every child at the party, although it's amazing how quickly those yankee doodlets cottoned on to the fact that if you passed the parcel r-e-a-l-l-y s-l-o-w-l-y you stood a better chance of winning. Smart cookies. I mis-calculated though and Anna ended up winning the grand prize which was accidental nepotism I swear. The prize was The English Roses by Madonna - the first in a 'series' no less. Hmm, I think you can keep the rest Madge.....
Overall the day was a huge success. Less harried than her first birthday, and more child-participation than her second. Roll on #4.
Well, just as soon as I've had a year to recover of course.....