There is no question that Treya has a full understanding of what a birthday entails, although she herself has never had a birthday recognized before. In the course of her one year at home, she has witnessed many birthday cakes with candles ablaze as the dreamy eyed recipient extinguished the flames encapsulating the perfect wish in their imaginations. Since Dev’s birthday in November, Treya has been growing ever more anxious realizing her day was coming next. In fact, playing birthday in the play kitchen is probably one of the most popular pretend games she enacts; from making and baking the cake, to setting the perfect table to then singing you her rendition of the actual birthday song. When given the signal, you may blow out the wooden candles - not before - and she starts the whole procession all over again.
We decided to do a reenactment of Dev’s lion hunt party, but with a few twists to better suit Treya. Normally I keep the plans under wraps until the big day, but to make sure Trey understood what was happening, I included her in preparing the invitations, the baking of the cake and making the hand print lion goodie bags. The biggest change - daddy in the lion suit was NOT a surprise this time. He was dressed and in clear view of all the guests the whole time....less scary for sure! Transformation of our house into a mini jungle was the only secret kept. On safari day, I woke Treya whispering the birthday song in her tiny ear, to which she squealed with delight and popped right out of bed. Devi took her on a tour of the house, discovering all the decorations and hidden animals ahead of time, as Dev proclaimed herself my safari helper for the day, declaring that both girls had a need to know.
Madly gluing and pasting away, a herd of paper plate lion heads were quickly assembled by our guests in no time, helping them to warm up to each other for the rest of the party games. Pith helmets precariously perched atop their heads and binoculars around their necks, they listened to my clues to identify the animal they were to search for. Lead by Devi who assisted Treya, the explorers traipsed through our three story jungle in search of wildlife, finding a giraffe, monkey, zebra, tiger, elephant and finally the king of our jungle. When lion daddy was finally found he lead us right into the Ziggy says dance, scarf dances and an animal march with instruments through the house, before settling down and reading stories. Treya was beaming. She was just enjoying the day to it’s fullest; certainly making up for her first two party-less birthdays. She laughed and danced her little heart out.
I made tiger tails (hot dogs wrapped in crescent rolls) for lunch with various other accompaniments for refueling and witnessed kids actually eating at a party for the first time. They chowed. At last it was the big moment. Cake time. Treya could hardly contain herself. She stared in amazement as I lit the three little candles at the base of the lion face cake. Crouched beside her chair, I could see the reflection of the candles’ glow in Treya’s big brown eyes as we prepared to sing, my heart warmed by the sight of her fascinated gaze, poised in anticipation. The kids did a great job singing, with Treya herself singing the loudest, “appie bur-tay to me!” Priceless. The blowing took her several tries, with air directed up, down and sideways before reaching the target, but the guests remained patient until the final flame went out, then clapping wildly for her accomplishment. I think the old wives tale indicates that all candles need to be blown out in one breath to receive your wish, but something tells me this jelly bean’s wish is coming true just the same.
Her charm bracelet and new baby doll...
that says over 50 (non-stop) things.
What were we thinking?!
I have to say that of all the kid parties I’ve hosted, this one was one of the most fun. Just the right amount of kids, the right personalities of children and adults. Just a delightful good time all around. Even opening gifts went well. Treya did an excellent job of listening to me read each card, carefully unwrapping the gift and doling out thank yous and hugs all around without being told. Even Devi did great with not even a twinge of sibling jealousy. At the end of our party, the girls all disappeared into the play room for a few minutes while the grown ups finished our conversations. Not a peep! They all shared toys, got along great and even managed clean-up; clean-up, everybody clean-up when asked.
Ready to blow out her candle
wearing a crown of her choice,
a gift from Jenya - a crib mate of Devi's.
The true icing on the cake (every pun intended) came that night during our traditional birthday dinner at the Old Spaghetti Factory. Oma joined us and got to witness our girl, her face just beaming with excitement through the birthday song, and then blowing out the candle that came on her spumoni ice cream, before a restaurant full of onlookers. To the applauding crowd Trey yelled, “Me tee!” holding up three stubby little fingers. Yep, you certainly are all of three, my delightful and precious birthday girl!