Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Goin' On A Lion Hunt!

A Safari through the Ross Jungle began at 10am last Saturday, when 15 of Devi’s closest three year old friends embarked on an animal hunt that with any luck would lead them to a lion sighting. To ensure everyone knew what sort of lion we were hunting for we began with a craft, constructing lion heads out of yellow paper plates. A little glue, paper circles and triangles, googlie eyes and lengths of furry string to make the lion’s mane and each kid was set to begin. It was pretty much instant mayhem as the adults tried to guide and direct the tots to make the lion head just like the sample I had made, when clearly the children were far more artistic and could “see” their own lions in their heads. They did a great job producing a whole pride of wonderful lion faces, each one unique and expressive.

With pith helmets atop their heads and binoculars drawn up to their eyes, we began our animal search. The kids were so cute carefully listening to the clues I was giving to help them know which animal to search for. “This animal begins with the letter M. He eats bananas and lives in trees!” Monkey was screamed aloud before I could even get out the last sentence. Rather than let the children run willy nilly through the house looking for animals, we opted to show Devi where they all were ahead of time so that she might help guide and direct. It worked perfectly as she shouted, “Come on guys, follow me...I know where the monkey is!” And so went our search upstairs for frogs, the main level for giraffes and the basement for elephants.

Finally it was time to find our last animal. The lion. King of the jungle. Devi didn’t know where this animal was, but she was aware that for the past week or so all three of us and Oma had been painting a jungle mural in our garage. I asked her if we had a jungle at our house, she nodded and took off running for the garage with all her little friends trailing behind.

There asleep on the floor in our “jungle” was daddy in a furry lion suit. All the kids began to cautiously enter the jungle. I thought a sleeping lion was not that scary, but daddy got so “into” character that when Devi gently woke him up he roared and scared the children half to death, a few even broke out into tears. No doubt we are now responsible for the years of therapy required to counsel these poor petrified children! Okay, so a bit over exaggerated, but a few kids were a little upset, including Devi - not because she was afraid of daddy, but rather that she was sad for her frightened friends. All was quickly remedied when we began the singing games. We used scarves as tails and sang about them, sang about animal sounds and danced to the “Ziggy Says” song. All the kids then nestled in close to Patrick the “friendly” Lion, and king of the Ross jungle, while he read them a jungle story. It was darling to see him in his lion costume reading to all these little kiddos with our birthday girl center stage in his lap.

Aunt Joan and Oma were our jungle helpers who were instrumental in keeping us organized. Together we served pizza lunch and then had our lion head cake and cupcakes. Lastly Devi opened birthday presents among the jungle vines and all of her little friends, politely thanking each guest. Devi passed out the goody bags that she decorated herself with her hand print as the legs and tail of a lion and paper lion heads glued at the palm. Overall our two hour trip through the jungle went really well. I think Devi really enjoyed the whole day...minus the roar. It was another of those motherly visions that I have thought about for years that has now finally come true.

The following day was her actual birthday and she asked to go to the Old Spaghetti Factory for dinner. Devi has always been very easy to take to restaurants but on this day she was such a little lady. She wore her birthday crown throughout the meal, put her napkin in her lap without prompting, used her utensils nicely and was polite to ask for things. She told anyone who would listen that today was her birthday and would hold up three fingers. She was delighted when our waiter came to sing the birthday song to her, but was baffled that there was only one candle in her spumoni ice cream when she had clearly told him she was turning three! Very sweet.

It is hard to believe that my baby girl has turned three. I don’t know where the past two years and two months since our meeting have gone, but the child who now sleeps in the room adjacent to ours, for all intensive purposes, is convinced that she is all grown up. Perhaps it is her strong will and independent streak that gives this illusion, which brings me to wonder about the personality traits of her birth mother, Jhuma. I know she must be wondering about what became of her Bhargabi. Does Devi look like her? What traits do they have in common? On the eve of the celebration of Devi’s birth we say a silent prayer for Jhuma, who gave from her heart the greatest gift. We truly hope that somehow she is aware that the baby she gave life to is loved, well cared for, knows of her birthmother and today has turned three wonderful years old.
Decorating cookies to take to school for her birthday.

Trying on one of the outfits in the "goodwill" dress up kit mommy and daddy made for her birthday.


Kristi W. said...

Wow, Julie!!!! I'm so impressed. I have never pulled off a birthday party even close to that amazing. Wish we lived closer so Daya could have joined in on the jungle fun. Happy birthday to Devi!!!!! Hopefully we'll make it over to your neck of the jungle soon.

:)Kristi W.

Four..and ONE from India said...

What a cute and fun idea.What a cute cupcake and looks like all was fun! We love that spagetti factory too,the nearest one to us that we know of is two and a half hours away! Love that dress up outfit yall made,cute,cute. You always have the cutest ideas. Maybe u can help me come up with some baby shower ideas? Gidget:)

Four..and ONE from India said...

I second that,what a fun party to be at:)

Anonymous said...

My favorite part of the whole story was imagining you telling Pat, as you both were tucked in and falling asleep...
"Pat, I have a plan for Devi's party"
"Yes, thats good..."
"I was going to go w/ a Jungle Theme"
"Sounds good Honey, mumble mumble"
"I was thinking of doing some stuff to the garage walls - you know"
"Yesshhh, mmhmm"

(in a whisper..)"Pat? Honey? Pat? are you awake?"

"You are going to dress in a big lion costume too, and hide for the kids to find you."

"Glad you like my idea!!! Goodnight!

I know Pat is more willing than that, but seriously Julie, all that excitment for the kids to find him? How could he possibly hold it in? The ROAR he has been practicing in the parking lot at work for weeks!



Pam said...

And I thought Micah's Curious George party was good...hmmmm..obviously I need you to come and plan his 4th birthday party in February. LOL!
How awesome are you Julie!? The kids look like they had a blast. Happy birthday sweet Devi. Wish we could have been there to tiptoe through the jungle with you!! :) Except Micah probably would have hit the lion who scared all his friends. LOL!

Peter and Nancy said...

Panic at the party! I was laughing at the roar incident -- that will be a great story as Devi grows up. :o) Looks like the party was as much fun for all the adults as it was for the kids!

Happy birthday, Devi!
Nancy & the still-2-year-old Anya Rashi

Karen said...

What a wonderful story, and a great party! Wow! Love the cake, the binos & hats, the lion all decked out, the SCENERY (egads woman, that was pretty MAJOR), and most of all the bright shining face of your princess! Happy Birthday to sweet Devi!

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful neat idea! Creative too! Devi is adorable as always and it looks like the kids and Mom and Dad had a great time