Tuesday, May 21, 2013

A dog party! A BIG dog party! - thank you P.D. Eastman

Because she's lost 6 teeth and is nearly a Kindergarten graduate, #3 has deliberately given up pink and kittens as her favorites.  She insists that dark green and dogs are her greatest loves now.  So even though she started planning her My Little Pony birthday party about 10 months ago, her desire to seem "grown up" forced her to reconsider her party plans.

At first she declared it would be a werewolf party.  (Ugh!)

The next week she revised her plans: a wolf party. (Not much better.)

At last, two weeks before her birthday, a final decision was made: A German Shepherd party it would be! (What? Huh?)

Me: Do you even know what a German Shepherd is?

#3: Yeah, its a huge police dog. Like in Underdog!

Me: (in a very nervous voice) Uh, OK.  Sure, yeah.  A German Shepherd party. If that's what you want?

{I'd already been feeling like my creative days are over and that I'm ready to retire from mom-made birthday parties. So it was hard to meet this German Shepherd idea with much enthusiasm.}

We made it happen.  #3 and her puppy friends went to obedience school, had a kibbles eating contest, played a kitten chasing game and went digging for buried bones (or skittles) in the sand at the park. For a grand finale, we were visited by a real (huge!) German Shepherd which was sweet enough to be pet and cuddled by 9 little girls (and one 8 year old boy who didn't want the dog to leave ever!).

Happy Birthday #3!
#1 was determined to dress #4 as a puppy for the party. You can't see it in this picture but #1 fashioned a tail to hang off her back.  The necklace is #4's dog collar.
#3 with Sage, the beautiful 12 year old German Shepherd that surprised our guests. Sage is a retired seeing-eye dog for a the blind. She was so calm and well-behaved. 
Sage's owner is telling the kids all about how she helped serve a blind man and got to go to movies and restaurants and even to church!

Coco Puff kibbles!
How do you get 9 girls to all look at a camera and smile?
Buster did not want Sage to leave. He is one dog-hungry boy.
paw print pupcakes
My beautiful birthday girl with a look of contentment. 

The only weekend we could give this party happened to fall on a weekend that Spouse was already committed to work.  He wasn't around to "enjoy" any of the preparations or festivities.  (Thank goodness for a super responsible and helpful 10 year old daughter!)  This party exhausted me to the core.  But while I was sweating and swearing under my breath I was encouraged by the thought of #3's happiness.  I worry that she is too often left out of things, is dragged along to her brother's and sister's activities, is made to wait, is told "no" inequitably,  is put to bed too hastily.... is not getting as much of me as I'd like to give her.  It felt good to make a deposit in her bucket of happiness.

Friday, May 10, 2013

On the eve of her 6th birthday

I was starting to think #3 was going to be one of those 8 year olds with training wheels. Despite having received a bike from Santa, there was just no motivation to learn. I tried to manufacture motivation by offering rewards. Candy, donuts, extra computer time, a movie date were all turned up; the value not high enough to confront her fear of falling.

After expressing my frustration to a friend she wisely counseled, "Oh, everyone has a price. You just need to figure out what will really motivate her."

Friends. That was it! So I bribed her with play dates for every practice session. After a month and a half, yesterday she finally figured how to balance and rode unaided on and off for about a half hour.

As the wind whipped through her hair she squealed, "I LOVE this! I'm going to ride every day!"

Today we got out an old, smaller bike so she could work on her turns and stops. A chunky baby and a shy 10 year old came to witness what we all thought would never happen: #3 riding (happily) riding a bike!