I’m not really sure if I can claim this as a retro theme or not, but it’s my blog so I’m going to. I can now officially say I have a two year old, rather than the clumsy almost two I’ve been writing for the last few month. Good Friday was technically the Big Day, however we held off until the Saturday for the real celebrations to take place.
I’m not sure if many others caught the story in the news sometime in the last week or so, but apparently there is a growing trend for extravagant, party-planner planned children’s birthdays, some costing in excess of $10,000. This, surprisingly, is not the path we chose when organising the 2nd Birthday Bash, instead opting for a fairly low key, family and a few small friends in the backyard in keeping with my simple life philosophy. Not a professional clown, fairy or magician in sight, in fact there was nothing professional about it, but we had a lovely day.
Now the retro bit comes in when deciding on the catering and as the birthday girl in question was not yet up to making requests on cake and other foods, I was left with the deciding vote on all counts. Anyone remember the classic Woman’s Weekly Birthday Cake book? Silly question I hear you all saying, of course you do (and for those of you not lucky enough to have inherited an original copy, WW have just reprinted it minus a few of the Disney characters who are now covered by stringent copyright laws). This little number has been my inspiration in the birthday cake department since about a year ago and I’m rather proud in saying that both attempts have turned out pretty damn well – as you can clearly see below.
Besides the birthday cake, I also prepared the birthday party must haves of fairy bread (white bread, butter and PROPER 100s and 1000s), funny face biscuits decorated by father and said 2 year old daughter (though finished by me when they both got bored!) home made sausage rolls, and cocktail frankfurts.
Aahhhh these bring back memories of many a birthday party from youth. Nothing sophisticated about it, just good old fashioned fun, with plenty of sugar and loads of food colouring. I’m sure the parents of the other little ones in attendance were really thanking me later that afternoon as the kids crashed from a their sudden sugar rush. And all this the day before the Easter Bunny was to make his annual visit!
On the present front it seems that I have been successful passing on my philosophies on the commercialisation and marketing rubbish that now bombards children and parents in every department store around (or perhaps my friends and family feel the same way, I’m not sure). There was not a Dora the Explorer (my daughter wouldn’t even know who this was never having seen a single minute of this show), Wiggles, Disney Princess or Winnie the Pooh to be seen. In their place, she received a beautiful tea set which she adores, a slide that has been given a fair work out since, some Duplo (my husband has been itching to get into the Duplo/Lego stage since she was born and could wait no longer), some owl bookends (dubbed two hoos) and books, a cooking set and wooden vegetables (a god send for when I’m trying to cook) and a music box.
I wonder just how long my influence over these matters will continue. I’m sure with the start of Kinder or the return to childcare of some description the battle to keep our lives merchandise-free will become increasingly harder. For now, however, I revel in it and in my daughter who happily goes from playing tea parties, to trains, to demanding to be outside in the sandpit or on the slide, to reading every book on her shelf in one sitting, with no idea of gender-stereotypical girl activities. She is clearly her own person and the rapturous joy she finds in going down the slide twenty times in a row, watching a flock of racing pigeons fly around and around, telling herself a story or singing a song and always wanting more (I get bored with it all far sooner than she does) fills me with a happiness I didn’t know existed before becoming a mother.
I can feel another entry along this line coming on soon, perhaps it’s the pregnancy hormones, or just my desire to see the brighter side of life and live more simply and optimistically coming out in me. I’m sure children are the greatest tonic in our hectic, increasingly time-poor lives.