Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Rainbows and Unicorns

A few weeks ago, we had a sixth birthday party for Jarrah at the Helen Woodward Animal Center in Rancho Santa Fe. It was a really special day, and I have to thank my friend Stephanie for recommending their parties--it was the easiest one we've had.

Jarrah--bless her heart--insists on very LARGE birthday celebrations, which makes my job quite difficult, especially now that she has two schools of friends to draw from. In the end, I did the best I could do with the guest list, every single person came, and I think everyone had fun.

The party began with a craft to make a snake, and then moved into horse shoes, hula hoop and sidewalk chalk in the yard. It was a chilly day, but nicely sunny, so I didn't protest when Jarrah wanted to wear her ballerina outfit again.

Next the kids got to meet four animals, all chosen by Jarrah. And, of course, so typical for a six-year-old girl, she wanted to meet a snake (a Rosy Boa--several of the children thought this was her name.) A tortoise ("You could also have a turtle. What's the difference?" She rolled her eyes. "Mom. Turtles swim. Tortoises are land-based.") and a GIANT HISSING COCKROACH. She was actually torn between the cockroach and a big, white, fluffy, long-haired bunny, but you know what decided her? "I want to freak my mom out," she said. "Tell them that." I did. As you can see, I got over my fear well enough to submit to holding the thing and letting it crawl around my hand. And you know what? I think I might agree with one of the on-site educators that it was, in fact, "adorable." I liked feeling its little pincers gripping my hand as it walked.

We also met an unarguably adorable miniature horse, which for some freakish reason I have no photo of. After the meet-and-greets, the kids were turned loose in another yard that had been set up with hay bales, "life-size" horses and other stuff that apparently kids love because they had a blast. I reigned myself in on the food offerings this year--kids do not want my tea-sandwiches at 4:00 in the afternoon--and let them have at the Cheese-Its, fruit snacks, string cheese and juice boxes. Then there were cupcakes from VG Donuts--the best ones around--courtesy of Paul and Joy and poor Mary who was too sick to be there.

Check out the look on little Levi's face as the kids are meeting the Giant Hissing Cockroach. I think he almost hurled and sobbed at the same time.

I passed out goody bags I was especially proud of, as they contained teddy bears I'd scored at the dollar store. Not exactly an animal found at Helen Woodward, but close enough. Sadly, I hadn't made enough of them--who knew that everyone would come?--and Jarrah had to go without, which we then heard about in lamenting tones most of the way home. We're at an age, apparently, where the gratitude is richly displayed on all occasions.

But I got all the reward I needed when the sweet, smart girls who were running the party brought me to the office to sign the contract afterward. "We had a great time," they said. "What an incredibly nice bunch of kids. Every last one of them. What a pleasure for us."

It was like I had an adorably fuzzy little miniature horse where my heart should go.


Caroline said...

You made my stomach ache from laughing!

"I think he almost hurled and sobbed at the same time."

"I liked feeling its little pincers gripping my hand as it walked."

Looks like a great time -- glad she had fun.

Jen said...

GREAT post--and what a great party! But the cockroach! Oh my god.

The photos are great. I love the looks on the kids' faces as they contemplate the giant hissing bug.


Stephanie said...

A great time, love the photos of you and the cockroach!

Anonymous said...

Little Levi seemed not to be too happy in any of the pictures with animals. He's looking at that tortoise as if it might start fighting back at any moment.

And Joy may kill you later because of the look on her face in one of these. And the girl with the snake in the first picture of her; I don't know what she's doing there, but Wow.

And Jarrah looked more freaked out than you about that bug!!

Please squeeze her for us & wish the J-Dust a HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!


Logical Libby said...

I think I had one of those cockroaches in my apartment in D.C. Only, it didn't hiss -- it swore.

Jarrah looks lovely! And tall...

Michelle said...

What a party! Wow. I can see why that place came highly recommended. I'd love to see more pics of the hay bale area. Have any? Always looking to steal other's nifty ideas. ;)

Love that Jarrah--the animals she picked are awesome.