Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Emergency Party

Sunday was the fourth birthday party I’ve thrown Sy, but the first at home. (#1 was at Lake George, #2 in India, #3 in Philly.) It was also the first party that I let him share with his friends.

Well, that’s not true, exactly. For his 2nd birthday, in India, we invited every kid in the neighborhood plus all the kids at one orphanage. But we had the party at a park, not my house, and there weren’t a lot of parents, just kids running around crazy, and someone else cleaned up.  Which is completely different than playing hostess to a mass of kids in your own home.

I figured for our first attempt at a friend party, we’d limit it to just a few kiddos. And, lucky for me, Sy’s little best buds are all girls, which leads to more squealing, but less killing, stabbing, destroying, etc. I promised him next year he could invite all his boy-buds too, but thought it’d be best to start out small.
I think any mamma knows that present-opening time is the most stressful part of such an event. That is when your kid is most likely to say something like “I HATE dinosaurs” or “I already have this one” or “Is this ALL I get??” That last one happened at a recent party I went to, and I still giggle about how cute it was.

Pre-party, I went into full lecture mode about having a grateful heart. Why? Because everyone knows that the way to get your child to have a grateful heart is to lecture him. Lectures breed righteousness, right? Wrong? Shoot.

Well, it (sort of) worked for me. Sometimes it’s about short-term results, people, not the big picture. He excitedly opened all his gifts and said thank you (every time I reminded him). He got a couple of shirts to which he responded, “I don’t get shirts for my birthday!”

He meant, “Um, hello? It’s my birthday people – I want toys!” But I tried to giggle loudly enough and murmur responses to give the illusion that he meant, “Wow! I’ve never gotten a SHIRT for my birthday!” That’s okay, he got excited about them later.

And then it was cake time. Now, I watch A LOT of Food Network. Well, I used to, before we cancelled the cable. Now I just dream in re-runs.  So, I’m pretty much an expert on decorating cakes. Except I’m not.  I already shared with you my strict cake-decorating rules, which emphasize creativity, not perfection.

Sy has spent the last month or so going back and forth between wanting an Ambulance cake and a Fire Truck cake. This is due to his current obsession with emergency situations. Because I love him, and I knew his indecision was a recipe for disappointment, I decided to make both.

For those of you homey types who want to see the directions, I used this, and this fondant recipe. For those of you who just want to make fun of my pictures, here you go:
I was pretty proud of my efforts, even though the results were a little crumby and sloppy. I mean, he is turning 4 and the sooner he learns to accept “good enough,” the better off we are all going to be.

Emergency Response cakes, Fireman games, squealing kids, a birthday boy battered into having a thankful heart – all added up to a successful party and an exhausted mommy, and it’s not even his birthday until tomorrow.

(This is the kids being firefighters, putting out the "fire" with squirt goons and watching the fire float away.)

PS - Why did PBS Kids change their programming? Where is Clifford the Big Red Dog?


The Gori Wife said...

Those cakes are fantastic! That's way better than good enough. And I love the "putting out the fire" idea and I think I may steal it for my birthday boy's party next year.

Beth Lepore said...

Love the cakes! Great work! Hope you put your feet up after the party and ate the leftovers!).