My daughter turns four years old on Friday, April 1st, and of course I, being the diligent and attentive parent that I am, starting making plans for her party months and months ago, gradually checking off each and every detail on the party-planning list, and now there is nothing left to do but tie the last of the ribbons on the lovely little hand-made custom goody bags for all of the pint-sized guests.
Oh, who am I trying to kid? I can’t even write that without a straight face. I never do anything according to a checklist, because I can’t ever seem to find the time to even make one in the first place. My entire life is scraps of paper and sticky notes covered with random frantic scribblings that I shove into assorted pockets and wallets and handbags and then promptly forget about until months later when I hear through the grapevine that so-and-so is mad at me because I never showed up for their National Bean Day party or whatever.
(Yes, I have an iPhone. No, I don’t know how to program the calendar feature. The only thing I know how to do with my iPhone is play Words with Friends and use Twitter. If I ever figure out how to program my iPhone calendar, I will probably end up flinging myself into oncoming traffic, because do you have any idea how much stuff parents are supposed to do?)
And it’s not like I am throwing one of those Super Sweet Sixteen parties or anything, the kind with live musicians and circus performers and live llamas. This is just going to be a small family-and-friends affair at my parents’ house, with your usual bakery cake and grocery-store sandwich platter and juice boxes and maybe a piñata, if the weather is nice, which of course it does not look like it is going to be because that stupid groundhog said spring was coming but he never specified when.
Here is what I still need to do for the party: EVERYTHING.
Here is what I already have for the party: WINE.
And I only have that because I bought extra bottles to give people as Christmas presents, and they never got claimed, so I am going to repurpose them, or upcycle them, or whatever the heck the current buzzword is for that.
And even then, the wine might not even make it to the party, because the closer we get to go-time, the more items that keep getting added to the alleged to-do list, and the longer that list gets, the more I need wine.
A vicious circle, that.
And to make matters worse, I have absolutely no idea what to get my own child as a birthday present. People have been asking me what she needs and what she wants, and I ended up giving away all the good stuff as suggestions to other people. Basically the only things left to get her are socks and underwear, and if I get her socks and underwear for her birthday, what is the Easter Bunny going to leave in her basket?
Every day, her favorite color changes. Her favorite movie changes. Her favorite song changes. Her favorite TV show changes. Some days she wants to be a Disney princess, and some days she wants to be Princess Leia. Sometimes she screams and cries that she wants to go to school with “wild thing” hair, and sometimes she begs and pleads for pigtails. The only thing that has remained constant for the last four years is that her very favorite food in the whole world is “anything chocolate.”
Here is what my daughter wants for her birthday: A PTERANODON.
Here is what I will be getting: MORE WINE.
I can’t keep up. And it’s partly why I sort of secretly dreaded throwing a party in the first place, which is probably why I never put a plan together. What if she doesn’t want a party? My husband doesn’t like to have birthday parties. And what if the party we throw her is somehow inadequate? What if she wants the Backyardigans on her cake, but we order Dora? What if she wants purple paper plates and yellow napkins and pink forks, but all we can find are red, white, and blue paper goods? I can’t deal with a four-year-old’s disappointment, especially if it’s all my fault.
I mean, COME ON. Kids aren’t supposed to realize their parents are faking it, just getting by on a wing and prayer, until they’re at least in their teens, right? How am I supposed to look my kid in the eye if she already knows I’m a total fraud?
Yeah, we’re definitely going to need a lot more wine.