Wednesday, August 27, 2008

You Know That Feeling?

I am thinking of Proust today, and of his remarkable ability to describe subtle, very specific moments of human emotion.

Tinkerbell turns six this weekend, in case you are one of the two or three people in the world to whom she has not already announced it. She's having a Spiderwick Chronicles theme birthday party.* Everyone is asked to dress as his or her favorite character in the Spiderwick books. Tink is going to be Mallory, I am to be the green-eyed elf, the Mighty Thor has been asked to impersonate an ogre, and Captain Destructo is, of course, a house brownie. Our whole house will be transformed into Spiderwick mansion, with the forest outside decorated** to hint at fairies and unicorns living there. The cake will be covered with spiders, enough for each of the 11 guests to have one, and will read "Happy Birthday" in the same font as the book covers. The kids will go on a giant scavenger hunt, pound flowers into handkerchiefs to dye them, and have the best. party. ever. At the end of it all, Tink will be six, 6, SIX! No more baby five-hood, good bye, she will fly away on big, grown-up fairy wings.

Or so she sees it. We will try. But the disconnect between how kids imagine their birthdays and how birthdays can ever really be is vast and disappointing, I know. And the feeling I am pondering comes at the birthday party. It's the "this is not how the party is supposed to go" feeling. It's the "this house doesn't look like the Spiderwick castle, and the field sprites are paper, and my friends are supposed to be doing what I say, not playing in the forest, and hey! I feel the same just like I did when I was five, and where is my big moment? Where is the Magic Moment that was supposed to happen? And, now I have to wait a whole year which might as well be forever to do it right this time?" feeling. It's my party and I'll cry if I want to.

Today, I am thinking about that feeling. That exact moment when you realize just how vast the disconnect between your dreams and reality is. Before you get depressed about it, when you are stunned and casting around for someone to blame. You know that feeling?

In the meantime, anyone have good ideas for a Spiderwick birthday cake???

*the books, not the movie, which she's never seen and probably won't for a while given that she still sometimes freaks out during the chase scenes in Curious George
in an eco-friendly way, of course


Tabitha said...

Cool birthday theme!! My five year old isn't quite ready for them, but I've got them sitting on the shelf for when he is. :)

As for a cake idea, hmm... I'd go with a tree scene, when the kids all go into the forest and find the fairies. Or, you could make the entire cake look like a replica of the Field Guide itself. That would be cool! :)

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry that I don't have a cake idea, because I do know that feeling. And I still have occasional birthday party nightmares - like the children are about to show up and I have no cake or goody bags. Pathetic.

But I do have a poem for Tink, called "The Birthday Bus":
My birthday is coming and I will be six;
I'd like a new bike and some peppermint sticks;
But if someone decided to give me a bus,
I'd accept it at once without making a fuss...

(from The Llama Who Had No Pajama, Mary Ann Hoberman)


Carrie Harris said...

Have you seen this?

I've been wandering around this site because my kiddo turns five soon, and he is determined to have a big Pokemon-Justice-League-Star-Wars blow out. Which is a really interesting combo if you think about it.

Jacqui said...

Tabitha, I am definitely sending the kids into the forest to find fairies. Perhaps I will show them weeds and tell them those ARE fairies and they should bring back as many as possible.

Debbie, you rule. I love the poem and so will Tink.

Carrie, thanks! There are some great ideas there. I think I will let Tink decorate the perimeter of the yard to create a fairy circle.

J. Thorp said...

I know the feeling, and in some respects (for me at least), it never leaves. I forever feel "on the cusp" -- like super-fantastic is just ... over ... there. How to reach it?

: )

As for birthday parties, the key, I think, is to engage them enough fun that they fail to notice the not-so-just-right details, or feed them enough sugar that they hallucinate it just so ...

Elise Murphy said...

Oh, darling Jacqui . . . what a party! Can you maintain your sanity through it all?

A Field Guide cake would be so so very cool.

The most complex cake I ever made was a Quidditch field replete with Harry and friends. Wow. I loved that cake. The kids just wanted to eat it.

Perhaps Tink will find everything she desires . . . and if not, you'll be there to catch her when she falls.

Jacqui said...

Elise, I'm not sure "maintain" is the word to use about my sanity at this point.

A Quidditch cake?? I am impressed. The current plan is to buy a cake, run my car over it so it looks like one of mine, and cover it in plastic spiders...

PJ Hoover said...

Yes, I know that feeling. But nothing is better than when you imagine something and it comes out just like (or better) than you imagined!

Rena Jones said...

Happy Birthday to Tink!