Thursday, October 17, 2013

Once upon a dream...

'Something poofy or something fun?' My daughter and I sat at the dining table with piles of paper and markers scattered out in front of us. The doodles and pointers in the various sheets held testament to the fact that there were some very important decisions that had to be made, starting with the dress. After all it was that time of the year again. The time both she and I had been eagerly waiting for all year; her birthday. 

December was still two months away but the wait was getting a bit too exhausting and there was always a lot to be done. Unlike many other moms, who found their kid's birthday rather stressful and a bit too heavy on their pockets, for me it was somewhat the contrary. Well firstly, it was the one time in the year when I got to do all the things I loved the most at one go (conceptualize, plan, organize, shop, write and cook) and secondly unlike those showy extravagant parties with a DJ, pony rides and what not, mine was simple, minimalistic and totally budget-friendly. Agreed, I love my daughter and wouldn't hesitate to go all out when it came to her special day, but how could I forget the poor guy paying for it all, my darling husband.

So like all parties, the first big step was to decide the theme. For me it was a no brainer; a magical Disney princess party. I must be honest here and admit that though I clearly knew that my daughter would be equally happy with some jungle gym theme or a pajama party and was also well informed that according to the parenting bible, it was almost a crime to use your child as an excuse to relive your unfulfilled dreams, I didn't care.

And why should I? I was certain that she would have a blast as it would be a dream come true for any five year old to have her very own special fairy tale party. But especially because I knew this was going to be my one last chance. My little Kindergartener was growing up fast and had even started substituting her play dough and little kitchen sets with virtual tennis and lego friends. I had very little time left and knew it wasn't long before she completely left me and her papa out of the planning committee. 

Yes, I admit it. I was guilty as charged. I had always wanted a princess party with magic wands, glittery tiaras and sparkly gowns. I had always thought of it, dreamed of it and craved for it, since the time I saw my very first Disney movie.

It was eons ago. And I still remember that day as if it was only yesterday. I had sat huddled with a friend in her floral printed couch in her fancy English home in London. My little blonde friend had squealed when her mom announced that we could watch 'The Little Mermaid.' I hadn't understood what could have probably evoked such intensity of excitement and thrill. I remember even feeling a bit embarrassed when her mom repeated the title again with a little more gusto lest I hadn't heard it clearly the first time. Little did she knew I had no clue what she was talking about. 

But all that was going to change in a matter of minutes. Not only was I going to be some kind of a genius in merpeople and other enchanted mythical creatures under the sea all in the hope of becoming one in the near future to getting entangled in a fairy tale so deep that it would take me twelve years, several heart breaks and a couple of surgeries to realize that my life was going to be far from a magic carpet ride.

But at that moment, I was floored. I remember praying by my bedside the same night, desperately wishing that my boring black locks would one day magically transform into Ariel's flaming red hair; hoping every time I walked past an aquarium peeping into it, in the hope of finding a little friend, who too would remain as loyal to me as little flounder. I remember combing my hair with a fork, proudly calling it a dingle hopper as my mother watched in utmost horror. I remember the times I had flitted around in the 'oh-so-not' pretty pool in my neighborhood pretending to be a little mer princess, flipping whatever little hair I had back then. I also remember the flutter of excitement I felt every time I laid eyes on Prince Eric and how I had made big plans to marry an English boy as I firmly believed that was my only chance at a real first kiss. I remember imagining myself in a puffy sleeved wedding dress but most importantly I remember in believing in the magic of true love.

Years later, as a married woman, I had walked the streets of Kuala Lumpur. I was on my honeymoon and I remember seeing the pirated DVD of 'The Little Mermaid,' displayed on the shops' wooden stands in China town. I remember the same flutter of excitement I had felt. I didn't have my English Prince or a white puffy sleeved wedding dress. But I did have my kiss and I did have my true love.

So here I was, almost twenty three years later since I saw my very first Disney movie; the outcome of my fairy tale ending, sitting right beside me, doodling on her pink birthday invites. And though I was certain that one day she too would have her own dream fairy tale ending to write about, right now, it was time for her to get a sneak peak...

Party fit for a princess!

Though evites are always the easy way out, nothing says royalty more than a hand delivered scroll with a magic wand

   Every princess needs a little make up station

A few pink balloons and streamers are all you need to transform any room into a page straight out of a fairy tale... 

A cardboard castle, passing the poisoned apple, and placing the tiara on Rapunzel; just a few things to keep the little princesses busy

A princess cake, cupcakes topped with edible tiaras and pizza: They maybe royalty but when it comes to food, keep it simple!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

5 going on 15!

'I want to wear this.' My five year old diva sat clad in a plaid kilt skirt and a black tank. On her left hand she was waving her silver colored twirly skirt. 'What would be next?' I wondered as I watched my little one jam to a Katy Perry song blaring in the background. She had already started picking out her own clothes. Could cropped tees, colored highlights and tattoos be next? I shuddered...Could 5's be the new teens? 

'I am not wearing that tomorrow,' my five year old whined as she stared at her pair of green corduroy pants and matching printed tee that I had neatly laid out in her bed for her to wear to school the next day. 

I couldn't understand what was wrong. It was one of her favorite and she had only recently gotten them as a gift. They fit her perfectly and looked great. 

'This mommy,' she said waving a silver colored twirly skirt in front of me. 

But fall was almost here. The trees had begin to shed and the the temperature had slowly started to drop. I couldn't hear the birds anymore and the sky had turned to a warm golden hue. Even with my sweatshirt on and windows closed shut, I could still feel the chill against my skin. 'It's too cold for that sweetheart,' I replied. 

'I want to wear this mommy, ' she continued, her tone low yet firm...lest her 30-something mommy had failed to notice the ongoing trend in her little kindergarten class. 'Everyone is going to wear this and Savannah thinks jeans are only for boys.'

I hadn't missed the changing trends nor failed to keep up with the latest in five year olds haute couture. I was well aware that floral printed sun hats were now replaced by polka-dot fedoras, comfy sketchers by glittery Mary Janes and boot-cut jeans by tutus and twirly skirts. I had seen it everyday; at school, five year old girls' birthday parties and even playgrounds. 

Though I was well aware of the peer pressure my little Kindergartener was feeling and that it was highly possible that 5's could after all be the new teens, I wasn't yet ready to let my little curly haired princess turn into some glam doll just because everyone else did so. After all, this was the very same girl, who not long ago had mispronounced butterfly as bullakite and pajama as jampaja and I wasn't ready to say bye to her...not just yet!

So as always, it was time for an important life lesson. To teach her, why it was so special to be different. But I was no preacher. I was a mommy, a story teller and that is what I had...a little story to tell her why it was okay to be different, to stand out from the crowd. A story of a little red flower who didn't want to be different...inspired by a little glass vase of flowers that stood besides my daughter's night lamp. 

The little red flower!

Once upon a time, there was a little red flower. And Flora was her name. 
She lived in a shimmery, shiny glass vase, besides a little girls bed frame.

The girl loved her very much. And gave her kisses day and night. 
She said she looked so special, glowing in the morning light.

She would call her pretty and always say something nice. 
It made Flora happy and always made her smile. 

But one day, it happened. The little girl was gone...
The little red flower felt so sad, as now she was all alone.

Though there were other flowers, who too lived in her glass room
All yellow dandelions, who had just begin to bloom.

You are not one of us, they said, as we are all the same
You look so different, it's better you go away.

Flora now had no friends and she felt so sad.
Wished she too was yellow, being red was just too bad.

She thought of a plan and wondered what she could do
She could paint herself yellow, in a few strokes, maybe one or even two.

Now she looked no different, they all were now the same
But the others still didn't want to talk, coz now they hated the smell of paint

The little girl came back and saw her red friend gone.
She felt so sad, as that was her special loved one.

There were no more kisses and everything felt so strange.
The poor flower felt so sorry. 'How I wish I had never tried to change.'

   (My little inspiration)