Tuesday morning’s greeting, 7:30 a.m.,
“I've got my RUBY SLIPPERS!”
“Wake up, Ganjin!!! Do you know what DAY this is??”---punctuated by the two clunks which occur when small feet have successively kicked two hard little shoes into the air, to land beside the bed. “It’s the day of our PARTY!!” as she stepped up onto the step and crawled across that great expanse of bed to me.
A few more enthusiastic offers of coffee, a hand to help me up, a few words concerning lists and plans and look-at-my-dress-I-wore-a-dress!, and I was up. She’d mentioned party the day before, just in a little passing conversation, and said that Mommy and Ganner needed a party because their birthdays were the first ones in the year. I said, yes, they were in January, and were we having a party today? Of course, she affirmed, “I’ve got it all planned. We’ll make Cards and Decorations and Hang them and make Cupcakes and it will be their Birthday!”
I mentioned that indeed, we did, used to have Gracie a half-birthday in July, for she was a January girl as well, and the weather up here just was not conducive to a nice outdoor birthday party befitting a Southern girl. Any handkerchief droppin' or Farmer-Dellin' would be in the SNOW. And we were off.
The day began, with two sheets grabbed from inside the printer drawer, two pens from the cup, and perhaps four square inches in which to set my coffee, in the preparations and crayons and scissors and plans which were our morning. She made HER list, which consisted of capital letters down the lefthand side: A large C and a D and an H, with another C and several other notations. And as we went, we checked them off.
We sat with crayons, stickers, markers, and made the cards. We found a nice target online to print for Ganner’s card, and wrote an appropriate sentiment inside.
Mommy’s had a flurry of birthday cakes and party hats and streamers inside and much love depicted in as many little sticky-things as would adhere.
At last, satisfied and a bit fluffed-up with her accomplishment, she ran for her apron, stringing mine along behind her as she returned. “Time to make the cupcakes,” she announced, and went to the cake-mixes. “Red Vel-vet” she read. “Guh-er-man Chocolate, D-arrrK Chocolate, Exterra mmma-oist Golden. This is harrrd,” she said. “None but the Red were in my sight-words.”
I insisted on clearing away all the craft supplies before setting down the mixing things (she reaches the mixer better at the table), we made a clean table and set up our mise as she read from the Dark Chocolate box: “1 ¼ cups water. ½ cup oil. 3 eggs.” And she measured them, pouring water from a plastic glass into the measuring cup with a squat-down, judicious eye on the red line, then the oil, and I was allowed to break the three eggs into the mixture. “We don’t want any SHELL in there,” she echoed my voice from countless cakes.
“Wet into dry,” she said sagely. “Make a well.” And she did, stirring the stuff til not a bit of dry was visible, then manning that scary mixer with a mixture of caution and excitement at the grand accomplishment. Papers in the pans, half the batter poured into the rinsed-and-dried-clean measuring cup, and she poured, ever so carefully, as I ran the spatula over the spout each time to stop the runover.
Into the oven, and a quick cleanup before our lunch, which was spent over peanut-butter-and-honey graham crackers for her and a cucumber sandwich for me, with as much gravitas and agenda-planning as any two Gucci Wedding Planners with power-point and spreadsheets. We settled on the table décor, the wall hangings, the cupcake display, and that we would order takeout Chinese. (sigh of relief from me).
Cupcakes frosted with a corner-snipped baggie, adorned with sprinkles and a cloud of pink crystal-sugar. Extra layer and huge muffin (the first two pans I grabbed when there was WAY too much batter for 24 mini-cups) cooling on the rack. They got slathered with the rest of the cream cheese frosting from the Betty-Crocker can, great snows of the pink sugar, and one big strawberry to crown the tiers.
You could tell time by that strawberry; at one o’clock, it stood straight and proud atop that rounded, slippery muffin. By three it had slid a bit toward the precipice, and at five-thirty, when Mommy arrived, we’d been holding our breaths and contemplating spearing a skewer down through the whole thing before the huge pout of the icing-lip spilled it down the side. All was well, and we did have to remove the strawberry to cut the layers, so no avalanche. .
She spent the intervening hours with a Tinkerbell movie and a couple of bowls, her scissors and assorted cuttable papers and materials—--a long strip of rainbow wallpaper edging, several colorful big drinking straws, chopped bits of a too-small pink-foam medieval-lady’s pointy hat, with the wisp of netting from the top added in as “cotton candy ice cream,” making a lovely confetti “soup” for our delectation. Mainly, I think, because she’d made a simpler version the night before, and as she had handed round our portions in doll-dishes, Ganner had snuck his handful of dry soup into his pocket, upended his empty bowl into his mouth, and “eaten” the entire serving in one satisfied gulp, to much preening and astonishment from the cook, who took that as a great compliment. After all, it WAS a PARTY---we couldn’t serve ordinary cootie-feet and Legos.
Then we worked on wardrobe, going through drawers and pretty boxes of this and that, an old jewelry box, which yielded shiny things, a big sparkly brooch for the cleavage of my black “dress”—an extra-long T-shirt with pretty gathering at the yoke---and the appropriate gloves and handkerchief for each outfit. A little string of pearls, which she gladly accepted UNTIL she saw a big string of dangly rhinestones, and that was HERS. We made ribboned pony-tails, wore our ruby slippers, and had the table and ourselves all decorated when the two surprised honorees came home.
The arrangement which looks a bit like a slipshod parlor lampshade is a worse-for-wear little umbrella thing which is meant to keep a picnic pie free of whatever critters might fly by. The Whoville yellow blossom is on its last stems, rescued from a two-weeks-ago bouquet we’d had on the table, and the purple statice, ditto, dried to a crisp and stuck in a quart milk- jug from the recycle bin.
The cupcake stand has a history of its own---I’d found it at Goodwill years ago, and painted it white for her Mommy and Daddy’s wedding, where it bravely held melting, running red candles on the buffet til they spilled over onto the immense white Battenburg cloth in rivulets like Frodo and Sam at Mount Doom. The display was her idea, and a nice one, I think.
We had a lovely time over dinner and dessert and presents, and the hostess was MOST pleased. I don’t think even that chattery girl has talked that much in one day in her life. Her Mama texted that she was still exclaiming over it way after bedtime, as she recounted the party to all her stuffed toys on her bed.
She knows how to throw a party, that one (literally---note that the "plate" is a snuck-onto-the-table Frisbee). Just look at these fabulous party favors.
Or maybe soup.
Or maybe soup.
LINKING TODAY TO BEVERLY'S PINK SATURDAY.