Seven may as well be twenty-one, because both ages seem totally unfathomable to me. Yet, here it is! Devi turned 7, choosing to celebrate by having an Indian Princess Party. Dressed in a new salwar kameez, tikka and with her hair pulled back in a bun, I can begin to see the young adult begin to bud inside her. (Pat is never going to let her date!)
I think the best part about throwing home birthday parties comes on the eve before the party, when as the kids sleep, the house is transformed to match the theme of the party. For this one, we covered the floor to ceiling windows of our family room with a giant white paper silhouette of the Taj Mahal. When Dev awoke the morning of the party she shouted, “The Taj Mahal? We are in Agra, India!” indicating that we had indeed accomplished our goal. The dining room became a tent by draping bright colored sheers from the corners of the room toward the center. This is where our party began as I explained the words “Diwali” and “Diya” to our young guests. Instructed by Oma our resident potter, she demonstrated how to form the air dry clay into lanterns to hold tea lights to burn during the festival of light. The girls decorated the outsides of their diyas by pushing bright colored beads into the soft clay sides in all kinds of patterns and designs.
The final game was a memory game, in which I had filled a tray with all kinds of Indian related items like spices, a scarf, a henna cone, a paper mache elephant, tiffin, statue of Ganesh, an Indian travel book, tea, incense, bangle bracelets, some rupees, a mortar and pestle, and more so that the tray was completely covered with objects. I uncovered the tray and explained to the girls what each item was called, how it was used and then covered up the tray again. We went around the room and had each girl name something off the tray from memory, trying not to repeat any of the items. I was so impressed! They really paid attention and had excellent recall. It was nice to use this teaching moment to challenge them just a bit.
At last it was cake time! At Devi’s request, I had made a two tier peacock cake...with jewels...and candies...and a real peacock on top. Well, it had real feathers anyway. All in all, the party was a huge success and I think everyone left exhausted, full, and knowing a bit more about Indian culture. Success in my book, and in Devi’s. Lots of hugs were doled out along with many thank yous, namastes, and a few high fives as well. Days after I could hear our girls humming the prince song and pointing to their shiny nose ring and then up to the stars...