Monday, March 30, 2009

The Gift

This past weekend, Wee Three attended one of her very first birthday parties.


She went without me... which wrenched my heart more than it should have. Truth be told, it was not just my heartstrings that were stretched... it was my nerves that were a bit frayed, as well. I was worried, because she was honoured to be the only girl at her little friend David's party.

Now, this would not be "news" if we were talking about Child Number Two, here. In many ways, my second daughter is the "son" I'll never have-- she is delightfully gregarious, has self confidence out the wazoo, has stopped my heart (and those of a few emergency room doctors) with her death-defying, fearless feats, and, well... has always run with the boys, quite frankly. Whenever party invitations have arrived on our doorstep, she has always raced upstairs and thrown on her "bestest" (read: rattiest) playclothes, NOT a fancy-schmantzy dress.

Wee Three, on the other hand, is a timid little creature when it comes to public appearances-- particularly at school-- in spite of her current title of Resident Tyrant Princess when we're at home. (And just so you know, I continue to retain my title of Tyrant Queen, in spite of being no match for my progeny).

Nope, I wasn't sure about sending her to the party alone, but Wee Three's delight at being invited, and her enthusiasm to prepare for the Big Event, settled it: She was GOING, and that was that.

We shopped for David's birthday gift together. She had originally wanted to purchase a set of hand puppets, but changed her mind when she clapped eyes on an amazing remote-controlled Tyrannosaurus Rex. Wouldn't you know it, David just LOVES dinosaurs, and thankfully, this one was extremely reasonably priced.

I had the gift wrapped at the store, but the moment we arrived home, my darling daughter promptly threw one of her now-famous "super-fits": SHE wanted to wrap the present, and she wanted to do it ALL. BY. HERSELF.

As the wrapping paper had "mysteriously" been torn off the t-rex during the aforementioned super-fit anyway, I grudgingly rummaged through the basement for tissue paper, and then embarked on a half-hour exploration of the rest of the house for a roll of sticky tape.

She wrapped it up, all right-- by the time she was done, that thing was taped up so tightly, a life-sized t-rex would have had difficulty escaping the plasticized, mummy-like encapsulation.

But it was a supremely happy little girl who proudly set off in the dress she had chosen (ALL. BY. HERSELF.), and carted her gift out to the loser cruiser.

I dropped her off, said goodbye, and watched as she took David's grandmother's hand, and allowed herself to be steered towards the playroom...

Two hours later, it was the same smiley girl I collected at the door-- and she was bursting with tales of NEW TOYS, RACE-CAR CAKE, MUSICAL CHAIRS... and WINNING AT BINGO!! (Woo-hoo! If the economy doesn't turn soon, at least I know I could ship her down to the local seniors' centre to help us earn a few bucks...)

The great burst of conversation continued through suppertime, as she sat with the family and retold every occurrence, down to the most minute detail. But when she came to the final event of the party-- the gift-opening-- she covered her face with her hands and giggled.

Mother: What, sweetie? Did David like the dinosaur you gave him?

Wee Three: (more giggles)

Mother: Because if he didn't, I can take it back, and we can exchange it for something else.

Wee Three: (suddenly serious) Oh, NO, mum... David liked it. He liked it a LOT. He opened it, and took it right out of the box, and his mummy got some batteries, and he walked it all around the whole house! He REALLY liked it.

(Family makes murmurs of appreciation)

Wee Three: In fact, David liked his present SO much, he came right over to me and gave me a BIG HUG, and a BIG KISS!! THAT'S how much he liked it!!

Needless to say, it was at this news that the two older sisters just about dropped their forks-- and so did their father.

But the youngest girlie read her dad's emotions perfectly. She stood right up on her chair, reached across the table, and patted him on the arm.

Wee Three: (lovingly) Don't worry, Daddy... I didn't kiss him BACK.

Yes, she's a heart-breaker already, my wee girl...
and it looks like her father's is going to be first.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

It's St Patrick's Day Again... Ooooh, Boy...

Three of my favourite "men", one of my favourite songs.

Oooooh, boy...

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Haru Matsuri

It's spring???!

Well, apparently so! And we'll take it around here, any which way we can.

Which is one of many reasons I was absolutely delighted that the girlies and I were able to attend the Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre's annual "Haru Matsuri": a Spring Festival, during which the doors of their beautiful and culturally rich building are flung open to the public, and we are all treated to the very finest art, food, dance and music that their country has to offer.

Child Number Two has been studying Japan in her Social Studies class, and has been absolutely fascinated... we have read everything we can get our hands on, from "Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes" to a sweet little novel from my childhood, entitled "Miss Happiness and Miss Flower". We have watched hours and hours of Youtube videos, depicting traditional music, dance, puppetry, theatrical performances, tea ceremonies, and weddings.

But nothing-- and I mean NOTHING-- has been as enriching an experience as was our day at the Spring Festival.

These lovely young ladies met us at the door...

Followed by these little people in their pretty kimonos. Which made us wonder... Would we be fortunate enough to be allowed to try on some of these beautiful traditional costumes?

The answer was, of course, YES.
And Child Number Two couldn't WAIT to be the first to get dressed.

I asked zillions of questions, particularly as the obi was being tied in a rather intricately knotted bow...

And then, it was my turn. The kimono chosen for me was of pale green silk, patterned with enormous butterflies. The embroidered obi was so heavy in weight, it took nearly ten minutes with two ladies pulling it tightly, and twisting it around, to arrange the knot properly. When they were done, however, it was a sight to behold...

The eldest girlie was being dressed in a tangerine-coloured kimono dotted with little flowers in a rainbow of colours, when Wee Three suddenly decided to get into the "game"...

And as she was being dressed, the older girls received a lesson in origami-- an amazing paper-folding technique that we have actually been practising for several years. It was quite an honour for them to be taught by a professional, however, rather than learning designs from illustrations in a book...

And then, it was time to start looking at all the exhibits.

One of the most amazing sights was a beautiful display of little dolls, depicting a village market by the sea...

We could have stood and gazed at this for hours. But there was much more to be seen. Dancers, musicians, and artists showing their creations...

Even QUILTS! This striking wall hanging was my favourite.

The girlies watched this gentleman paint lovely scenes and flowers with beautiful bamboo brushes and different colours of ink...

And when I was finally able to tear them away, there were more doll displays to be viewed.

We finished up the day by visiting the food court, and purchased special Japanese noodles for our supper. When we asked how we should prepare the noodles, the kind salesman wrote down an entire recipe for us, and said it was a traditional dish that his mother used to prepare for him.

It was, of course, delicious.

Yes, the wind may be howling out there, and sleet may be rattling against my window, but after a day like this, I've got spring in my heart.

And that's what really matters most, after all.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Loony. But priceless.

Overheard during opening exercises in our kindergarten class this morning:

"O, Canada!
Our home and naked laaand...."

Ah, the national anthem will never be the same for me again...
Brings new meaning to"standing at attention", non?

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