Happy birthday, Girlchild! My babies' birthdays are always such a sweet, nostalgic time for me. I go back through my journals so that I can savour what I believe to have been the most powerful and beautiful experiences of my life - their births. I was hoping to write more this week about my big three-year-old, but time ran away on me. So for now, here's "Past Deadline" from the Wednesday, Oct. 22 issue of The Perth Courier.
She’s three and has the pink to show it
Girlchild celebrated her third-going-on-13th birthday over the weekend. There were two events: a small party with good friends on Friday and a big family dinner on Sunday. Each event was pink.
On Friday we prepared pink cupcakes – cherry chip cake mix with extra pink, vanilla frosting with extra pink, a variety of sprinkles (mostly pink) and cherries on top. The cupcakes were inspired by the book Pinkalicious by Elizabeth Kann and Victoria Kann, wherein a little girl eats so many pink cupcakes that she wakes up the next morning and has turned (egad!) pink! It all works out in the end. By eating green vegetables she is restored to her beautiful self.
Girlchild assured me she would not eat that many pink cupcakes. She’s no dummy. Everything in moderation. Not only that, but one wouldn’t want to have to eat so many green vegetables. Certainly not.
Boychild and our friends’ two boys hardly scowled at all about the pink cupcakes and the pink loot bags. I suspect the distinct lack of dolls in their loot bags was a relief.
For the family affair Girlchild wore a (surprise!) pink dress. She requested pink, purple and red balloons. She was so into her birthday this year that we’ve been able to use it as a threat or a bribe for weeks.
“Girlchild! Get back into bed or there will be no birthday party.”
“Yes, birthday party!” she says as she runs back into her room and climbs into bed.
Now that the party’s over our next bribe/threat is Halloween. Yes, Halloween! You’ll be shocked to learn she will be dressed up as a pink princess for Halloween.
Speaking of princesses, her majesty had a princess cake at the family birthday. I probably would have gone looking for the (darned!) Disney Princesses on Cake or a reasonable facsimile, but my mom was at Hendriks one day and the sweet bakery lady tracked her down and said, “Tell your daughter we have princess cakes.”
I ordered ours with extra pink. Get rid of that pesky blue and yellow trim – only pink will do! Girlchild loved it and has squirreled away the four Disney princess decorations – after licking all the icing off, of course.
Ah, girls. It was pretty exciting for us when baby number two turned out to be a girl. It’s fun to have one of each, and Girlchild injects a good dose of girlishness into a sphere of friends who have boys. This birthday in particular had “GIRL” written all over it – in pink 254-point font. Stand back Tonka and Spider-Man; Polly Pocket, Barbie and Baby Alive are here! Boychild takes it in stride by occasionally attacking Polly Pocket and her cats with an action figure. If he’s in a more domestic mood, Polly might hang out with Uncle Spider-Man.
Just when I thought I was done with changing diapers, along comes Baby Alive with her freaky space alien purr and her propensity for wetting her pants. I suspect the idea is to teach little girls to be good mamas. That said, I’ve gotta say the “off” button is a nice feature.
Speaking of off buttons, does anyone know if three-year-old girls scream less than two-year-old ones? The only other three-year-old I’ve ever had hardly screamed at all, at least not in a tantrummy kind of way, so this is basically uncharted territory for me.
If hitting age three means we can kiss the terrible twos goodbye, I will definitely throw a party with pink, purple and red balloons and invite all the princesses I know. I’m sceptical, though. A few weeks ago a neighbour mentioned she thinks Girlchild is outgrowing the tantrum phase (read: screaming less). I tend to think we’ve all just had our windows closed against the cooler fall air.
I do take a little chill when I remember what many folks have told me: that the way a child behaves as a toddler is directly proportional to how he or she will behave as a teenager. Do you suppose the Baby Alive people make dolls that shriek like banshees but are quieted with a stern look? Maybe I’d better start thinking about my future bribes/threats instead.