What Will It Be? Barbie, or Ninja Turtles?
A couple days before the big event, I took Allyson to Kroger with me to order a birthday cake. We pored over the cake catalog together, our heads bent low over the shockingly disorganized book--all the category dividers were in the front, and the corresponding pages were randomly stuck in at the back. I mention this because it made it very difficult to go back to her favorites after we'd scanned the whole book.
I told Allyson she could pick her own theme, which turned out to be quite a job. She exclaimed excitedly over almost EVERY cake. "Ooh! Winnie the Pooh!... Oh, it's Dora the Explorer! [vetoed, same cake as last year]... Look, Spiderman! Big turtles! [Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles--I was holding my breath hoping she wouldn't pick that one]... BARBIE!!!"
It was impossible to make a choice based on Allyson's enthusiasm, so I just narrowed it to two or three choices. "Do you want this one?"
"Or this one?"
At last, she settled on the Barbie ballerina theme, and we waited in line to place our order. At least the flavor choice was instantaneous: chocolate! [That's my girl!]
When the lady asked how to spell her name, Allyson proudly and clearly announced, "Allyson! A-L-L-Y-S-O-N!"
Despite Allyson's perfect diction, when we picked up the cake a couple of hours before the party I was disappointed to see that they'd spelled it with an I instead of a Y. You would think cake decorators would be more attentive to spelling! We were in a rush to pick up the potato salad and beans from our favorite barbecue restaurant, so I decided to just let it go.
Allyson wore a princess birthday ribbon, which didn't technically match the Barbie ballerina theme, but she'd been so thrilled when she spotted it at Party City that I just had to get it for her.
She had a wonderful time playing with all her cousins in the backyard, especially her beloved Sissy--my sister Emily's daughter Savannah.
We grilled burgers and hot dogs, and the kids sat on the back porch and ate a bite or two before getting back to some serious playing.
Meanwhile, the adults relished the air conditioning in the dining room and enjoyed some adult conversation--such as my brother Rick's story about my niece's dog, who ate some dental floss and then had poop-on-a-rope dragging behind her on the grass.
Soon Allyson was badgering us to serve cake and ice cream. She reported that Sissy wanted to know when we were going to eat cake. Bill told all the kids they had to wear party hats to get cake--even the boys, and even though they were purple and pink princess hats. All the kids obediently donned purple hats, though they had different ideas about how to wear them.
Cousins Sam and Jacob
And then came the moment Bill and I had been waiting for.... When Allyson opened her pink Disney Princesses bike helmet, I asked eagerly, "What's that?"
"It's a... helmet."
"What's it for?"
"Do you have a bike?"
Just then, Daddy emerged from the garage, wheeling a tiny purple bicycle. Allyson clasped her hands in delight. "It's just perfect for me!" she squealed.
She wanted to go outside and ride it right away, but by this time it was after 9:00, so we told her she'd have to wait until tomorrow. But we let her take it for a quick ride down the hallway (a dangerous precedent, I'm sure).
The party was a huge success. Everyone hung around until after 10:00, which I loved. Allyson could barely stand by the time she wished all her guests goodnight, and she was slurring her words. "Goodbye, Aunnnt Di-di-annne! G'bye Gramma n Grampa!"
At bedtime prayers, I started to thank God for Allyson's gifts, but she kept interrupting. "Tell him thanks for the stamps! Tell him thanks for the ballerina tutu!"
"You can tell him yourself, you know," I laughed.
There was none of her usual popping out of bed half a dozen times. She was OUT! I wasn't too far behind her after my day of vigorous house cleaning and endless errands.
First Bike Ride
True to our word, we took her out on the bike as soon as it cooled down a bit the next evening. She grunted, her muscles straining, as she pushed the little pedals and got the bike in motion. As soon as she'd picked up a bit of speed, she pushed the pedals backward and screeched to a stop.
"I was goin' too fast," she explained.
We had to keep reminding her to look straight ahead as we walked beside her erratically weaving bike. She wiped out a couple of times, but she didn't cry, though her lips trembled the time she fell on the sidewalk.
"What happened?" Daddy asked.
"The bike did it," she explained matter-of-factly. And she climbed right back on.
Yep, our little Barbie ballerina is growing up.