Invitation created on Paperless Post.
As promised, here are some photos from Hazel’s 10th birthday party. We only do parties on even years, so Hazel had two years to debate and think and plan and set high expectations. This seemed like a recipe for disaster, this girl has high hopes for things like birthday parties. But, she planned pretty much all of it on her own and never second guessed any of her ideas or decisions. This she did NOT inherit this ability from me! At the end of the day she was all smiles saying that it was the best birthday party ever (even though of course there were some glitches, and lots of imperfections). She then asked me if I wanted to know her secret --- “you just have to lower your expectations and then you’re always happy.” Old, wise soul.
Anyway, the party was perfectly imperfect. Mostly because she really did call the shots and was cool with me ratcheting some of her elaborate ideas down. We had a good time pulling this off together. Nothing was perfectly pinterest, but I’m realizing more and more how much kids don’t care about that. They care about ownership, about having ideas and building on them. They’re not trying to create something out of competition, but out of that creative spark that’s bursting out of them. I hate it that part of that dies as we move away from childhood.
Anyway, I’m digressing (are you noticing a theme here on my blog lately? Letting kids take over, simplifying, taking a back seat parenting approach? Where is this all coming from? Maybe more on that later.)
Hazel’s chosen theme was books. Of course this made me smile. I love that she loves books and reading, that she is a little bookworm.
She asked her friends to come dressed as a favorite character from a book. She was Anne of Green Gables. We had the white rabbit from Alice in Wonderland there, Calvin and Hobbs, Hermione and some other folks I wasn’t as familiar with. Oh, and we had Ralph S. Mouse from the Mouse and the Motorcycle (not much resemblance, but Peter grasps any opportunity to look like a cool biker dude). As friends arrived we made this cool book art. This is an addicting (and very aesthetically pleasing) thing to do with some down time. The kids all got pretty creative. We just used an old book from one of my Wellesley Women’s Studies classes and sliced it up with an x-acto knife. The kids played some improve games where they had to introduce each other’s characters (in their own character). And one where they had to act like their character might act in a certain setting or scenario while others watched to guess what the scenario/setting was. As soon as you thought you knew the setting you could jump in and start doing what you thought your character might do in that situation. It was pretty funny. We had a Yankee book swap. Great way to pass around some already read books.
Jeff also lead a game where the kids had to guess which books certain passages came from. I was off getting pizza, so no photos of this….but I heard it was a hit. And then the real hit….Hazel’s traditional piñata. She’s had a piñata for every birthday party. This book one she and I made out of an amazon box. It was pretty darn strong and took some serious whacking to break open. And then, of course, presents and cake. I love the present opening part of parties. I love seeing how excited the giver is to give and the birthday girl is to receive. And I love that it gives them a chance to thank the giver in person. We always play “Heavy Heavy Hang over” as we open gifts. This is a British(?) tradition where the giver says a little rhyme: Heavy Heavy Hangover thy poor head. What do you wish with a bump on the head. They then give the receiver a little bump with the gift and the birthday girl tells them one nice thing they wish for the giver. Hazel’s default wish is that the giver will get a swimming pool in their back yard. I just love that it slows things down a bit and helps the gift receiver to think a little about the giver before tearing into their loot.
And the girl always picks blondies over birthday cake. That’s as easy as it gets.
Even with all of her involvement, pulling that party off was exhausting. But I’m pretty sure it was worth it, judging from the constant smile on her face.
She’s already thinking about her 12th birthday party.