the uplift mofo party plan
for the fourth year in a row, nash's birthday party plans have relied heavily on good, clear weather and for the fourth year in a row we have completely lucked out. it's going to be clear and warm and just fine.
mbd made the cake last night (carrot), and this morning he'll go map out the treasure hunt. this time 7 years ago, I think I was just arriving at the hospital, having awakened a little before 7 (after two hours of sleep, having been vomiting much of the night) to the gush of amniotic fluid leaving my body, then discovered that our phone was disconnected, then got into the borrowed car (ours had been totalled a few days before), went to the nastiest payphone ever (on moreland, at the edge of little five points), fended off sleazy, stinky guys, did NOT stop for food even though I was starving because I though perhaps there was some urgency to my situation, and then got to the hospital only to spend at least an hour sitting around in admitting...
april 1, 1997 was a lousy fucking day and I hated it. april 2, 1997 started out pretty fucking bad, they pulled the kid right out of my womb a little after 6 AM, showed him to me and I passed back out, but around 9, which is when we finally got him back, I was feeling momentarily good, nursing him was great and I called at least thirty people, sitting there in the bed with my phone list from home, making all these calls that went like, well, I had the baby a few hours ago... his name is Nashua... yeah he's pretty big for a baby... nursing is great... I never thought I'd have to spend 24 hours in labor AND have surgery, what a fucking rip-off... I don't know why I had to have surgery... no, not because he's big, I don't believe that... etc.
now, on april 2, 1998, we gave Nash his first ever bagel - his first encounter with white flour and eggs. and he loved it. we invited a handful of folks over but torrential rains kept most of them away. jane, mark and duncan showed. jane gave nash a t-shirt that said "read to me" and a rainbow babies board book. mark held him and danced with him. duncan came late and we watched soul food and cried together.
on april 2, 1999, I was pregnant and nash and I had both just recovered from a severe case of bronchitis about two weeks before. it had been an intense, scary experience. we knew a few people via hipmama.com at that point, and invited some of them over. as it turned out, tessa was the only one who could make it at all and mbd had to go pick her and her sweet baby up. we had just got a baby pool and nash and I played on our gorgeous front porch while we waited for them. but by the time they arrived, he was very cranky and weird, didn't even want to try the carrot cake, which was to be his first real (sugarfest!) cake. tessa and resse gave him a large floor puzzle that liam still uses sometimes, although it's seen a lot of wear and tear now. and a few hours after they went home nash began to puke, beginning a three day vomit and diarrhea fest that took the entire household by storm.
april 2, 2000, we had been living in mississippi since mid-november, and in our own ugly little house since february. we had my parents, my sister and her husband, and this couple we'd met and their child who was two weeks younger than nash. they were very into reiki. my sister baked the cake, my parents brought drinks and ice cream, I gave a nash a little wooden train. the reiki family gave him a big, plastic playhouse with pooh characters all over it.
april 2, 2001, we invited a small handful of folks to the beach at dauphin island in alabama, for cake, ice cream and playing. we asked that there be no gifts, or simple gifts from nature. our LLL/UU friend from mobile with the three kids brought him a bag of seeds to plant, and the reiki family brought some flowers. it was sweet, he was happy. my sister was there with her fat little baby girl, and my mother was there. I had goody bags for the kids - 6 of them - with bug catchers and pinwheels. nash and I played in the waves.
april 2, 2002 was the first big deal event. because we'd been living in this very neighborhood-ly neighborhood for several months, we had, for the first time, been attending other children's birthday parties and so Nash had some ingredients that he felt must be included in order for it to be a real party. balloons. a pinata. a really big cake. he made a picture for my sister of the cake he wanted, and she made it. my sister gave me $60 to hire a professional housecleaner in case of rain. we set up the back patio (no yard, just an enclosed cement space) with chalk, bubbles, toys, chairs. I got all martha stewart and created this garden-spring theme with plant pots packed full of ice cream, covered with grated chocolate and then with a flower (plastic) stuck in each. this was a scaled down version of my original plan which had involved real flowers, making homemade tofutti and having the kids paint the pots. I did spend too much money on balloons from party city, so that each child could be sent home with one. we had a lot of kids - maybe twenty? we invited at least 25. we had a store bought pull pinata filled with overpriced plastic toys, no candy: bouncy balls, tiny slinkies, dinosaurs, etc. and I knew that we were now immersed in a culture in which discouraging gifts would be completely ignored. plus it would bum nash out.
it was wonderful when nash brought out the ice cream pots on a tray and they all sat down angelically eating them. nash still talks about how cool it as that we "fooled everyone" with chocolate dirt. the pinata action was insane, some of the kids ripped it to shreds and kicked it around the patio. the gift haul was overwhelming - I'd never seen anything like it. and my parents were there, and my sister and niece, my brother inlaw videotaping everything.
april 2, 2003 nash wanted to invite "everyone" so I decided that our house was not an option. we chose the neighborhood park and invited everyone, handing out invitations at the neighborhood playgroup two fridays in a row. my mother sprang for snacks and such at Sam's, spending I don't recall how much on cases of ice cream sandwiches, goldfish, coke, juiceboxes, ice, everything. my sister brought her canopy tent. rosana fashioned the mother of all pinatas into a harry potter masterpiece and we stuffed it with candy and a ton of weird little toys that I'd trash-picked and cleaned off. we bought a small, good cake from the fancy bakery and let the kids gorge on candy and ice cream bars while we enjoyed it. it was a circus, it was a zoo, it was nuts. my parents were not there. nash lost his first tooth in the middle of the party. and my brother inlaw took digital pictures this time instead of videotaping. I forgot my camera.
and so tomorrow, we will gather at the park uptown, in the spot where our unschool group meets, and there will be goldfish and homemade hummus and fruit and juice and bottled water, a homemade cake painted like a jolly roger, a big ass pinata full of stickyhands and bouncy balls and chewy candy, a treasure hunt leading to a chest of chocolate coins, ice cream sandwiches, my mother and my sister and my niece, rosana and unschool group friends and church friends and kung fu class friends and a few of the neighborhood folks and dude, I have to remember to get some film for my camera. nash has another loose tooth.