Happy April Fools’ Day! The closest I came to getting fooled (or “pranked” as Christopher would say) was when Chris told me the neighbours’ cat was out on in our yard. She wasn’t. Pretty low-key stuff for someone who was raised by my mother, the Queen of April Fools’ Day. In recent years she has gotten less daring as we’ve all gotten more wary and I didn’t even get the requisite phone call this morning telling me that the premier had resigned due to a terrible scandal, or anything like that.
As it turned out, our day was full enough anyway even without pranks. We started off this morning to attend the “Sci-Fi on the Rock” convention at the Mount Pearl Hotel, just like the good little geeks we are. Wandered around observing the happy-but-odd people selling collectible action figures, spaceship models, and secondhand books and DVDs, and wondered about the ultimate wisdom, from a career-planning perspective, of training our children to be geeks. Darth Vader from Vaderparty, who visited our house for Christopher’s birthday party, was there, as was my student Vince who was teaching a workshop on lightsabre techniques. A good time was had by all.
But the main event of the day was Emma’s birthday party. For this birthday I decided to go all-out and cater to the fact that my daughter is my complete opposite when it comes to girly-girl frills and frou-frou. I never had any time for that stuff as a child but Emma is face and eyes into it, so for her party I had my friend Sherry, a bona fide hairdresser, come over and do the girls’ hair and paint their nails (I did draw the line at make-up for seven-year-olds, though!) We also had T-shirts the girls could decorate with iron-on decals and fabric markers, so every girl got a hair-do and a T-shirt out of the deal. Eight girls came, but not all at the same time — one came early and left early; three sisters came late and left late, so it was spread out a little and not too intense. Everyone was there for the key moments of cake-eating and gift-opening, and Emma counted the party a great success.
It’s funny about this girly-girl thing — there’s obviously a large degree to which gender roles are socially constructed, but there’s some element that’s innate within the individual too. No mother on earth would have been less likely to raise a girly-girl than I (except perhaps my own mother, who when I once started singing in a high falsetto voice at the age of about six rolled her eyes and said, “Femininity rears its ugly head,” a comment I am still working on deconstructing). Yet Emma is what she is — brilliant, funny, inventive, likely to follow her dad into engineering if her gifts with puzzles and spatial reasoning are any indication — and completely committed to All That Is Pink And Frothy.
As a mom, I had a blast at Emma’s party and thought it was a huge success. As a child in her Grade One class, I would have hated it. The three standard templates — or stereotypes — for little girls seem to be Girly-Girl Princess, Tomboy, or Bookworm. Gee, can ya guess which one I was??? My ideal birthday party as a child probably would have involved all my friends coming dressed as characters from their favourite books and acting out scenes. (Not unlike the Sci-Fi convention, now that I think of it!) Of course, these would have to have been my imaginary friends, since actually having a party like that in my real life would have made me Even Less Popular than I was in elementary school, which really doesn’t bear thinking about. I’m glad Emma is who she is, that she’s turning seven, and that she has friends who like what she likes and love hanging out with her. And even though I didn’t have those kind of friends in Grade One, I’m very glad I have them now! Friends like Sherry, without whom this party would have been impossible. Friends like the Strident Women with whom I’m going out to relax and unwind later tonight. Girlfriends rock!!
The pics here show both Emma and Christopher after having their “makeovers” at the party. I posted a bunch more pics from the party and a couple from the Sci-Fi convention over at our Flickr site (there’s a link here in the sidebar to it) but they’re only viewable by Family and Friends. This is a transparent plug to get more people to add themselves to our Friends list at Flickr so you can gaze in awe at my beautiful children … let me know if you want to be added to the list!!
I updated the book blog at Compulsive Overreader with a few new book review … check it out!