by Nicole Freire
Somehow I have been talked into throwing a slumber party for my youngest daughter's birthday. I might have been able to deflect the request but in my defense, I have spent the last five days huddled in bed with a box of aloe and lotion infused Kleenex, blowing truly staggering amounts of green awfulness from my sinus cavities. It's like something out of the X-Files. The Snot Files.
Anyway, that was gross. I apologize. A few days out of polite society and my manners fall to pieces.
So, the birthday party… I like throwing my daughters birthday parties. We've had Madeline-themed parties, tea parties, pink birthday parties, rubber ducky parties, flower fairy parties, you name it, I've thrown it. But we keep things fairly mellow and the numbers low (both guest-wise and dollar-wise).
And as my girls have gotten older, we've moved away from cakes shaped like garden hats and pink jellybeans for everyone, to more family-centered parties. The child gets to pick the restaurant, we eat, we go home and have cake and open a few presents. My big birthday chores have dwindled down to making cookies or cupcakes for the birthday girl and her classmates.
Last May, my eldest daughter, seized by the realization that she was getting older and parties involving hats were falling by the wayside, wanted a huge sleepover. And because I knew this would be her last enormous party, I went along with it. This is how I ended up hosting a birthday party attended by every single girl in a combined 4th, 5th, and 6th class. There were so many girls that we ended up erecting two giant tents in our backyard and putting them all outside to sleep. Hah! As if they slept at all. My husband and I took turns, every hour on the hour, trying to shush the horde of girls and suggesting that perhaps sleeping might be an option. My last shift was at 4am and they were all up bright and early at 8am.
I still have not fully recovered.
But my youngest, well last year, all she wanted to do was go to Chuck's of Hawaii and eat meat. That was exactly how she put it. "What do you want to do for your birthday?" "I want to go to Chuck's and eat lots of meat."
Which we did. She ate so much meat, in fact that our waiter kept whispering to us, "I've never seen a child eat that much meat!"
This year, the carnivore wanted a slumber party instead. Just a few girls, nothing huge, a handful of girls and their sleeping bags, some pizza, maybe some cupcakes, easy right? And all was going fairly well until she casually mentioned that she wanted a ‘starry night sleepover'.
And how do you throw a ‘starry night sleepover' I asked?
Well Mom, you have to make stars!
Huh, she wants to make a craft, that's ok, good way to occupy some hyper girl time, she wants to make stars. Okay, maybe cardboard stars? Or maybe I can find some star-shaped Christmas ornaments?
You know where this is leading, don't you? I can feel the crafty wheels in your heads turning … craft, stars, cardboard, glue … Oh no, she's talking about … she's going to use … GLITTER.
That's what's in the picture my crafty readers - a $9 bottle of fancy Martha Stewart glitter. I have 10 cardboard stars, some foam paintbrushes, some glue, and a big ol' bottle of gold glitter. Actually, because it's fancy-schmancy Martha Stewart glitter, it's not just gold glitter, it's "Florentine Gold Glitter" because maybe we'll be making frescoes on our ceiling while we wait for the pizza to arrive.
We haven't had glitter in our house for a few years now, so I was stunned at the glitter you can get nowadays. Martha Stewart alone had 10, TEN different shades of glitter. And while I may be a teeny bit crazy for hosting another slumber party, I am not crazy enough to buy more than one shade of glitter. Although they were so pretty…
So - another year, another party. This is ok with me now, as I realize that in just a few years, really not so far away, they will not be asking for tea party themed birthday parties. Or want to get out the glue AND the glitter to make a craft in a record 15 minutes, leaving hours to scream and jump around my living room. It's too cold for a tent in the backyard this time of year, so I'm hoping that at some point they'll all stagger into the living room to collapse in a large pile like puppies and maybe, just maybe, sleep for a little while.
You don't even have to make them coffee to cajole them out of bed either. All it takes is a box of donuts. In fact, that may be what it takes for me to get out bed the next morning. A donut and the reality of having to vacuum glitter out of our living room rug.
I can take it. Bring on the glitter. I am so ready.
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Nicole Freire is a freelance writer who lives in Santa Barbara.