Jenna is turning four! She's having a Rapunzel birthday party.
The third quarter of the year is always manic. Barely six weeks after Emily's birthday is Jenna's. Which is the day before Halloween. All involve some kind of deadline-heavy sewing, especially Halloween. When the girls were younger, it was a bit saner because there were fewer actual parties and fewer actual walking children going trick-or-treating needing insulated costumes. By comparison, sewing for Christmas is a piece of cake - relaxing and lovely and slow. So these couple of weeks have been fuller and busier than ever!
But back to Rapunzel. Having done parties for Emily for three years now, it is a lot of fun to have Jenna take her turn. She is so thrilled about everything, and it is a treat for me to work with her to plan her party. She got to hand-deliver her invitations to two school friends, and she kept peeking in our mailbox to check if the mailman had come to collect the invitations that needed to go by post. She counts down the days to her birthday each day, and she's already lined up birthday themes and guest lists for the next 11 years of her life.
Emily's tea party was dainty and sprinkles and color and sunshine and girlyness , which is just like Emily. Jenna's will be funny and dramatic and Heroines Who Save The Day and wigs and fantastical adventures. Apart from tiaras that Jenna specially requested, we are trying to depart from the princess theme, because the real Rapunzel was the daughter of commoners, victim of her mother's food cravings. She was named after the very vegetable -rampion - her mother craved, and I've always loved the version of her story in which her father gallantly (if desperately) snuck into the witch's garden to steal the prized vegetable to save his wife from pining to death.
I could never be sure if Rapunzel's mother was already pregnant when she craved Other People's Lettuces (some versions say yes) but I say Hurrah for the husband! Hurrah for men everywhere who drive miles in the middle of the night to buy their pregnant - and belligerent - wives the strangest food! In my case, it would have meant my longsuffering husband taking a plane halfway across the world to bring me delicacies from Singapore, preferably cooked by Mum, in tiffin carriers that would have set off all the metal detectors at the airport. And then I'd also have felt obliged to name my daughters Mee Rebus, Ayam Buah Keluak, and Koo Kee Yong Tau Fu*. Mercifully, he didn't.
We liked Rapunzel's story so much that we're going to read it to Jenna's guests at her party - just so they know she isn't Barbie, and there were no dragons or magic paintbrushes (yes, we've watched that movie, too) in her story. A nice, slow, intellectual, quiet start.
And then everyone gets to wear wigs and fancy maiden dresses.
And make Rapunzel + Prince Whatzisname peg dolls and cardboard towers.
And - we'll be indoors - so there'll be a Tug-Apart Pinata, not a Smash-Up one.
And daft games, in which we pin Rapunzel in her miserable tower - although one could just as easily imprison the witch, the horse, or the head of lettuce, if one misses the mark.
And eat rampion treats (OK, maybe just cookies) and drink from goblets and say (or variations thereof) "prithee, whither be the privies?"
And do competitive fishing to see which fair maiden in her tower can nab the most princes on the ends of their plaits (whoever reels in the witch gets a penalty - ha!)
I'm hoping there will be lots of laughing and jumping and cheering and general undaintyness. Jenna, who's in it for the beautiful long yellow hair, has absolutely no idea that her mother has gone absolutely bonkers with this theme! Can she pull it off? Tune it next time to find out!
I leave you with this hilarious classic Sesame Street video that our kids love. Kate regularly acts this out at playgrounds that have upper and lower climbing levels, playing both Rapunzel and the Prince - it is a hoot!
* No, not Nutella. This was pregnancy, people! Not just any old sewing-emergency.