Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Of Tulle & Self Mockery

General update on the speech issues:  I requested an IEP meeting with the school, set for next Monday.  Conveniently scheduled at the same time as The Girl's 4 year check up which I just remembered I forgot to move, where I'm going to chat up her pediatrician and vomit up pour out all of my concerns, arguments, and counter-arguments.  Should be a fun week.

Editorial note:  All the photos in focus are my SIL's.  The blurry ones are mine.  It should be easy to sort out whose are whose.  

But let us talk of lighter things, of tulle, and cupcakes, mommy's domestic skills, and my confused half formed social agenda.

Oh yes, mom. Let's talk about THIS.
Plan A:
Many, many weekends ago we celebrated The Girl's fourth birthday.  I was responsible for the birthday cake and party theme.  We don't do anything fancy - balloons, streamers, and maybe some match-matchy party napkins.  Simple enough, right?  The Girl likes dolls, books, animals, and Signing Times.  Pick one, preferably one that doesn't involve kidnapping Rachel (of STime fame).  T-minus two weeks I was thinking a zoo theme.
I LOVE zoo animals!

Plan B:
T-minus three days I was still thinking a zoo theme but I've hated every birthday cake we've ever bought from the two local bakeries.  They haven't even been Cakewrecks bad, which would have least provided conversational fodder, they've just been half-assed.  Then I remembered we had the female equivalent of the cupcake toppers we'd used for The Boy's pirate/Spongebob birthday AND, bonus, we could take all the money we would have dumped into a day old blob of frosting and buy a fancy hunk-o-beef, instead of the leather we usually make our guests gnaw.  Win-win!

Plan C:
T-minus two days my SIL mentions a friend of hers makes Cake Boss-level cakes.  I spend an hour drooling over her pretty website, then lose another day trying to track her down, because I'm nothing if not decisive, only to find out she was in Chicago.   She refused to fly home early for me.
Help!  It's pulling me in!
Plan B, again:
Fine.  Princesses it is.  T-minus 24 hours, Matt picks up the fancy hunk-o-beef and a couple party favors.  Except he comes home with Disney princess themed crap.  Gasp!  The Horror!  And this is where I have a hard time explaining why the generic princesses we already owned were acceptable, but Snow White and Jasmine are not.  Generic princesses still have the potential to spurn dissolute princes and grow up to be wise and generous ruling Queens (Virgin Queens, of course).  We already know Snow White just lounged around, waiting for a boy to fix things.  Right?  It wasn't even the Disney bit - yes, large, wasteful, multi-national company but, man, I do enjoy their parks.  Matt refused to return everything until I acknowledged this might not be the most rational argument I've ever made.

Looking queenly.

Plan B, Section II:
In laughing about my haphazard party planning skills at work, someone mentioned a tutu-tiara set they'd seen.  A TUTU!  WHY, OF COURSE!  If we're going to go off the deep end of gender stereotyping, let's go ALL IN.  I can too plan a pink princess party!  Except we're not going to buy the easy cheap one already made by a small child in a third world country, THAT part would be wrong.  Just in case this post does not make it clear, my domestic skills are limited.  Crafting is not included.  But I love a challenge and what's more hard core than making a tutu 20 minutes before the guests arrive?  [Answer:  pretty much anything].  Luckily my dear friend D and her craft-magic MIL came early.  Matt was otherwise occupied with the BBQ so I pulled out my stash of pink fluff and talked them into tying little knots for me.  At one point Matt came in to grab the pepper - I refused to make eye contact and told him to just keep walking.  There is nothing going on here that you need to know about.   He hates last minute.   
Where did my foot go, mom? 
All those do-it-yourself websites are right, it really does only take 20 minutes for a no sew tutu.  Three people and 20 minutes.  In case you're concerned, in order to correct the imbalance in the universe her 5 year party is going be biker chick themed.
"Can you BELIEVE what mom made me wear?"

And one more for the road:


  1. You do seriously crack me up. I think if we could hang with each other for just a bit, we really and truly might get along fabulously.

    The Girl looks darling. Just darling. I think you did a wonderful job. We have had the obligatory princess party ... year one, while the sweet love was seizing her pretty little head off the entire time, that was a blast. Year 2 was on hold ... too busy fighting leukemia and after that we decided that Zoey gets a major birthday bash from here on out. We have had a butterfly party for her 3rd, a fairly party for her 4th and this year it was a Parisian theme. How ever do I keep this pace up, I have no idea.

    As for the Disney run. If it is Disneyland, I am in. Disney World, probably not. But proud of you, either way, that is for sure.

    1. Of course we would get along fabulously! Next trip to SoCal I'm going to track you down (she said ominously).

      And as I said elsewhere, your past summers & the events you mark Zoey's birthdays with are testament to true strength. Not the events themselves - horrific things can happen to everyone - but that you have survived with grace & joy intact.

  2. Oh my word, that tutu is excellent! Bear is a girly girl. I did not plan it. I tried to buy her the blue Cars sippy cup. I tried the black Cars sippy cup. I tried the Toy Story one. We walked out the the PINK princess cup. Disney princesses because that is all there is out there. Fortunately, I have her in red Cars pull-ups to sort of even things out. Nearly all of Bear's clothes are pink and purple. It is what it is. It is what she picks out. I just don't know where all of this girly stuff came from! I am all for tutus though! We are doing a zoo theme for the birthday :-) Anyway, happy 4th birthday sweet girl!!!!!

    I am anxious to hear how her IEP goes. Keep us posted, mama!

    1. I swore I wasn't going to do the pink girly-girl stuff. I don't know how we (Ellie & me) get sucked in. Soooo pretty..

  3. Haha - when my daughter turned 4 or 5 she asked for a wedding cake for her birthday!

    1. Awesome! And she has excellent taste - I do love that almond flavoring.

  4. Oh my lord. That is all awesome. I LOVE the tutu--and here's my feminist take on it: it was over-the-top, performative, hyperfemininity! She was PLAYING WITH femininity--it wasn't enforced or coerced. It wasn't sneakily infiltrating her consciousness. You were letting her riotously perform it in a kind of draggy way. Which is awesome.

    Also, let's compare how much work you did for her birthday party and how much work we did for Maybelle's. You actually made food, got cupcakes, got plates with pictures on them, and had an outfit for your daughter. We got a big empty room, I made my brother blow up about 100 balloons, and we had a cake from the Piggly Wiggly. Oh, and Walter did an iTunes playlist which he hooked up to a real speaker system so that there was dancing music. But that was IT. So your party sounds like a real accomplishment!

    1. "Performative hyperfeminity"!
      This is why I love you.

  5. Oh, how I've missed reading your blog! You're my kind of Mom. We have attended a Disney Princesses birthday party (two of them, in fact), and I basically had to avert my eyes from the decorations and try not to let too much obvious sarcasm drip from my voice. If it's any comfort, Ben gravitates toward the pink and doe-eyed end of the character spectrum, too -- he personally picked out a pink Hello Kitty water bottle. This puts us in the very awkward position of trying to decide whether it's more important to foster independent thinking and freedom from gender stereotyping, or to protect him from getting slammed on the playground. Try to build the ideal society of tomorrow, or prepare our child for living in the reality of today. In any event, ya gotta love tulle, and I think Alison's analysis is spot-on. And you could always aim for Biker Chick for Halloween.

    1. Excellent idea! Had kind of forgotten about Halloween. Biker chick it is! (Assuming Matt pays no attention to my plan). And my favorite line de jour seems to be this parenting gig is HARD & not for the faint of heart.

  6. Can you say Dollar store? :)
    We farm our b-day parties out - one year at the park/playground. I never do more than cake and ice cream - ever! I get my cakes at Hannafords always since the kids LOVE them. I do get matching napkins and plates (dollar store). I despise party favors- did I say despise? Who wants more junk, not me. This year we had it at a nearby campground with a pool/playground/minigolf ($5. per kid). I got each kid a tremendous lollipop (dollar store - probably was made in China with toxins :). About 15 kids came- big hit! I describe the kids as hive-like - no steering necessary, they just moved as a block from playground, to pool to mingolf, devoured the cake and ice cream, opened presents (which I'd actually rather not have but geesh everyone brings anyway) and parents came and got them....too funny. Then I went home and had a gin and tonic.
    K.- you are perfect just as you are! I LOVE the tutu - and the photos.

  7. We went to a birthday party a week ago where the parents had the utter gall to put the focus on the kids and their entertainment, rather than competing with other parents for the 10th Annual Martha Stewart Birthday Extravaganza Grand Prize. The party was held at a local indoor venue featuring a bounce house and large inflated slide (brilliant -- no housecleaning!); food consisted of pizza and cookies. There might have been balloons. The kids had a blast. Then we went to another party yesterday where the kids also had a great time, but you can tell that Momma was planning those precious popcorn holders and that baseball glove-shaped cake for two months at least. Ben's birthday is coming up in October, and we'll probably slot in somewhere in the middle there. Meaning, there will be a theme, a cake, and an activity or two, but nothing that requires either sewing or neon Sharpies.