Friday, March 04, 2005

Party like an American girl! 

Several months ago, Annabelle fell under the sway of American Girl--the books, the magazine, the bazillion dollar dolls. She quotes American Girl like the newly converted quote Scripture: "Well, American Girl says you should rinse your hair in cold water to make it shiny. American Girl says you should choose a pet to match your personality. According to American Girl, you should spend 5 minutes every day cleaning your room to keep the mess under control."

All of that is sound advice, although I always thought it was beer that left one's hair shiny. Apparently though, American Girl ALSO suggests that in the dead of winter, you should throw a tropical island party even if your mother is a complete and total partyphobe who would rather undergo a colonoscopy than host a slumber party.

Annabelle has been lobbying for this party since the moment we set foot back in Germany, and I just didn't have the heart to deny her. I've been dreading it though. Really, really dreading it. I'm not even sure why. Her guest list is small (3 kids!), and they're all terrific kids.

Tonight is the big night, and I am pleased to report that things seem to be going really well. First, I have to give credit where credit is due and say that Annabelle has worked her young American tail off getting ready for this party. She made her invitations, she cleaned her room, she planned a menu and helped me shop, she planned a craft activity (toothbrush and toothpaste holders made out of painted terracotta pots), she even made a life size board game in which she and her guests are the game pieces.

The thing that impressed me the most was how incredibly laid back she was able to be about certain aspects of the party. For example, yesterday we realized that we did not have leis for the guests to wear even though that had been on her carefully typed out list. No leis?! How could that be? I immediately went into panic mode and began brainstorming places to find leis in Germany in March. Annabelle on the other hand said, "Eh, don't worry about it. The party will be fine without leis." DON'T WORRY ABOUT IT?! How come nobody said this to me when I decided it might be a good idea to make elbow-length gloves for my 5 bridesmaids the week before my wedding? What is this "do not worry" thing of which you speak?!

It amazes me how delighted Annabelle can be with so little. Late this afternoon, I draped our dining room and foyer in crepe paper, and you would have thought I was Martha Freakin' Stewart based on her reaction. Here's a very happy Annabelle hanging out with the lucky cats while we waited for her guests:

While I baked the pizza, Annabelle and her friends played the life size board game she had designed. She made a huge die out of 2 cereal bar boxes taped together, and they tossed that to know how many spaces to move. The "game board" itself was a series of pages she had typed and printed using the computer with directions like, "You just won a surfing competition. Go ahead 3 spaces and claim your prize, dude!"

Yes, that's a boy you see on the left there. We haven't gotten to the point yet where boy-girl sleepovers are taboo.

Finally the pizza was ready, and they sat down to enjoy their tropical dinner. The little umbrellas in the drinks were a huge hit, although the drink itself (an American Girl recipe called Caribbean Breeze--pineapple juice, orange juice, half a banana, and ice blended together) met with mixed reviews. I found it to be quite tasty. American Girl recommended I add a couple ounces of rum to my cup. OK, well, maybe it wasn't American Girl's idea, but it was some darn fine advice!

We've had only one small setback, and that happened just as I sat down to post this. Annabelle came in crying because she had slipped on a sleeping bag and hurt her tushie. "Slumber parties are much harder than I expected," she wailed.

I fought down the urge to concur wholeheartedly and say, "Here, sweetie, let's just hide out in here." Instead, I faked it for all I was worth and offered all sorts of Harriet Nelson encouragement: "Oh, sweetie, you're doing great! Your guests are having a great time. Your food was a hit, your activities were a hit. You're just getting tired right now and I don't blame you, because gosh! being a good hostess is a big responsibility."

She stopped crying and perked up considerably. She came by a little while ago, gave me a big thumbs up, and stage whispered: "I think I'm getting the hang of this!"

The lights are out right now, and the party has degenerated into 2 factions: those who Want To Sleep and those who DON'T. I'm hoping that the sleepers win out PDQ.

Just a few more hours, and the party will be over. Annabelle has chosen Eggo waffles for tomorrow's breakfast, and she has a little Playmobil surfer dude for each guest to take home.

It's too early to call for sure, but I believe we can declare the party a success. If so, I can take a couple bucks out of her therapy jar. I think I'll use it to buy some more rum.

great job, AB! Sounds like a lot of fun.

Bon, cold water closes the cuticle on the hair, that's why it makes it shiny.

And is there a litttle Captain Morgan in ya?
Then what is the beer for, Tina? Oh, yes, Captain Morgan is a friend of mine.
The boy is clearly wise beyond his years...

Sounds like a really fun party; with or without the rum.
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