My daughter turned 5 this past weekend.
I asked her what kind of birthday party she wanted and she said — for the second year in a row — a princess theme.
Last year, I went all out and hired a princess to teach proper princess etiquette (and sword fighting for the boy guests).
How’s a mom supposed to top that?
I decided that I didn’t have to top it. I just had to give her a birthday party that was fun.
So we had a princess tea party. We painted tea cups, drank with our pinkies up in the air and played Pin the Sugar Cube on the Tea Cup. But all those activities were done in just 30 minutes. I quickly realized that there was still an hour and a half left in the party.
It was at that moment that I found myself appreciating my daughter’s preschool teachers. They always seem to find activities to capture the attention of 4 and 5 year olds for longer than the two minutes my games were lasting.
Finally I just let them loose; letting them run and play. The irony: it was my daughter’s favorite part of her party.
I asked her if she enjoyed painting tea cups or eating cupcakes. Nope. The highlight of her birthday party was running around our backyard in her princess costume.
Well, if that’s the case, every birthday party in her future is going to be filled with an open field and some frilly costumes.
My favorite part was spent watching those girls as they use their imagination. One girl pretended to be a princess rescuing her sister from an evil king, another gave shots to people who were attacked by a dragon, and one pretended she had long hair and spoke to her napkin.
I was jealous of their imagination.
Do we still have that ability as adults to use our imagination like children do? I find myself struggling at times to come up with creative plots for Barbie and Ken. Perhaps my daughter should be the one teaching me how to play.
But in the end, I sat back and let the girls do their own thing. I stopped planning every second. And when it all was said and done, my daughter said, “Mommy, I’m exhausted. It’s a lot of work to be the birthday girl.”
Tell me about it, girl. You should try being the birthday girl’s mommy.