We served K breakfast in bed (banana chocolate chip muffins, her choice) because she has decided, based on the fact that we did it this year for D's birthday, that it is now standard-family-birthday-tradition. That's ok. My birthday is next.
Then I told her to go look and see who was in her new doll trunk. She looked at me as though I were insane -- "It's empty, mama!" -- but went down to check anyway and came thumping up the stairs with a gleeful shout, dragging the trunk behind her. "This is the BEST birthday present you EVER gave me!" Inside the trunk was Li'l Susie Sunshine, a doll from my childhood, a bit the worse for wear but still attractive with long blond hair, movable arms and legs and eyes that open and close, dressed in a long pink gingham dress with a pinafore. I had hung up her clothes in the other side of her trunk along with a hat, a hairbrush, a pair of shoes and a pillow and blanket. Pretty spiffy, according to my little one.
After a morning of food shopping, cooking and cleaning it was finally time for the party. Guests started arriving shortly after two. Since it was only family, it was a relatively small affair. K opened presents and was universally pleased. She did mention to me later that nearly every present was something to wear, and that was sort of true. Probably her favorite present was her tutu, along with the accompanying ballet tights, slippers and leotard we found at Target. She changed into those before the present-opening was complete, and kept them on for the rest of the evening, performing endless renditions of her version of the Dance of the Sugarplum Fairy.
The party was pretty much over the minute the cake was cut. Last year people stayed and talked and played with K and her presents, and I had a chance to take a picture of K with each person at her party, which I wanted to do this year, but people were kind of restless and grumpy and wanted to be off doing other things, so I let them go. I was ready for a nap myself.
We let K be the Sugarplum Fairy for a while before bed -- she seemed so relaxed and happy, not her usual tired, grouchy, early-evening self. She asked for ballet lessons. Again. And again I said, sure, someday you can have them. Someday being the operative word. When you're older. When I find a ballet school that is not Insane. Which I can only imagine will be in the far, far future. Till then, twirl in your homemade tutu to your heart's desire, and your father and I will applaud.