Tuesday, October 28, 2014

The Real Deal--Evie's Birthday, Part 2

Eve doesn't do change, new experiences, surprises, or transitions well. I've learned that I need to prepare her in advance, hoping that a few minutes of discussion will avoid a meltdown or hiding in fear.

That being said, I didn't think that her birthday party would be a time where I'd need to convince her that it would be fun, but I was mistaken. A few weeks ago, Lily suggested that Eve should be Alice in Wonderland for Halloween. Eve, of course, had no idea who that was, but when I explained that she had blond hair and wore a blue dress, she agreed. I read her the book so that she was familiar with the story line and could see how fun the tea party was. What a great theme for her birthday--a Wonderland tea party! The girls could wear their costumes, lots of "eat me" and "drink me" stuff for food. It would be perfect. I explained it to Eve, and she thought a tea party sounded great, but she didn't want to invite anyone. I've never had a kid like this, and I don't really know how to parent it. She really wanted to have a party, but inviting people over no . . . it's so foreign to me. I told her she didn't need to invite very many people, but it wouldn't be a party if she didn't invite her friends. I convinced her to invite five friends (and she even went to all of their houses to hand out invitations, which was painful at some doors), and I started planning.

Friday I spent most of the day setting up.
I found these teeny bottles online and filled them with lemonade.

I cut up caramel apples and carrot sticks, and I bought "Eat Me" tags and cupcakes (and I couldn't resist $9 for these gorgeous pink roses).

When Eve got home from school, I got out her costume, white tights, and black shoes and headband, all excited to transform her into Alice for her tea party. Suddenly, the shy, reluctant, afraid-of-new-things Evie reared her head. I was surprised to see it this time. The sleeves were itchy, and the dress looked weird, and "It's a birthday, not Halloween!" I reminded her that the invitation had asked all of the girls to wear costumes. Finally, I dropped my voice to a whisper, placed my forehead against hers, and proceeded to talk her off the ledge. I told her how beautiful and fun costumes were, how she looked just like Alice in the book, how the tea party was going to be the best ever, and then I asked her if she wanted to help me finish setting some treats on the table. Bottom lip protruding and tears still welled in her eyes, she reluctantly took my hand and followed me outside.
It was 96 degrees that day, so I couldn't keep flowers or food out for long, but she didn't seem to notice. She wandered from place to place, looked at the fancy dishes and asked what was in the burlap bags on each plate.
I told her the bags were filled with surprises that I know she loves--crayons, a small notepad, printed tape, and a few treats. The tears disappeared, and her lip crept back into place.

She placed one cookie on each plate and I could see the wonder begin to build in her imagination.

She pulled the book off the step and sat down to read for a few moments--just like fairytale Alice.

She had finally caught the spirit. I was relieved when I heard the doorbell ring. This was going to be okay after all.

We answered the door, and the second Eve saw her friend, her demeanor changed back to dark and teary. After closing the door, Eve began crying and running away--"See, I told you no one else would wear costumes!!" By that point, I had nothing left to do but pray that the next friend would be in costume. I've never been happier to see a blond, blue-eyed Barbie on my step when the doorbell rang next.

After that, it was all sunshine and cupcakes for Evie Alice.

We made crowns as party hats.

She opened presents (and another Alice helped her).

I asked the girls if they knew the story of Alice in Wonderland, but none of them did. (Now, if I'd thrown a Frozen party, all of the girls could have sung every song and quoted every line, but this Alice thing--blast from a past with which none of them were familiar.) I explained how Alice got bigger and smaller each time she ate something in Wonderland before I let them outside.

Like I said yesterday, five is a magical age. Those little girls were giggling and laughing and proper as dowagers as they found seats at the table. They joked about "fancy manners" and not using pinkies to hold teacups and mimicked British accents.

Even Evie.

I'd planned other activities, but the girls just sat around that table, eating me and drinking me and eating me some more. They sat there for 15 minutes, and I was content to sit and watch and listen. Their ladylike manners began to disappear after the first burp from lemonade the tea, and after the first guest dripped chocolate ice cream on her costume. Then they giggled and teased and laughed and sat around 15 more minutes, just enjoying the moment.

I went inside for a moment, and when I returned, they were all on the trampoline, still giggling and teasing and laughing, but by this time, they'd discovered the jar of pixie sticks.

"More sugah, more sugah!" they would shout as they ran between the trampoline and the jar of filled paper straws.

It was the best birthday party ever. I didn't try to make it more than Evie wanted, and four friends was the perfect size. They all played together and helped each other and enjoyed the party without any tears or hurt feelings or  . . . anything.
It was a perfect Wonderland, and chocolate ice cream washes out of white aprons.


  1. What a beautiful party you made for Evie! I'm sure she'll never forget it - and what a lovely memory it will be!

  2. My last of seven children is very much like Eve. He is 13 and in junior high. And I have often wondered how to parent him, so unlike the older six siblings. I have to laugh at the curveball thrown just when I thought I had this parenting thing down! Thank you for your wonderful blog, I have read from the beginning and you inspire me!

  3. You throw such a great party! I want to be a 5 year old in your family!

  4. What a beautiful party you created for Evie. Beautiful. Where did you order her dress from? I might need to steal your theme for my GD 3rd bday in December. Again, great party.

  5. Amazing party! I'm keeping this idea on the rocks for when Aimee is older! :)

  6. My middle one is very much like this. What's hard for her is she is between two siblings who are entirely different. We've been talking a lot lately about her not needing to be like them, that it's okay if she's more reserved. The kicker came a couple of weeks ago when she was asked to speak at Stake Conference (did I mention she's 9?!)--she was terrified beyond terrors. But in the end it was such a phenomenal confidence boosting experience--although when she was bombarded with people wanting to talk to her afterwards, she begged me to just hurry out of the chapel.

    What a beautiful party! So talented!

  7. this was just TOO CUTE!!!! i've GOT to get max watching alice in wonderland STAT!

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