Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Ava hits like a girl. A badass girl. In a tutu.

Ava, princess tutu dress and all at her pre-birthday shindig over the weekend, nails one on the new Tee ball set after some coaching from dad. Guffaws at the end are because it was a line drive that almost took a cousin's head off!

Not only can she hit, she throws sizzling fast balls overhand like she spent spring training working out with a major league ball club.

Fourth birthday pre-funk

Ava doesn't turn four until later this week, which will also be the first day of school. So we opted to celebrate a few days early.

After the extravaganzas of the past few years - both our own and others we've attended - we wanted to keep this one pretty low-key with just a few family members: both sets of grandparents, a few of the youngest cousins, and a friend from the neighborhood, who ended up unable to make it because she wasn't feeling well. Still, it ended up being more of a gift-stravaganza than I expected. But who am I to tell grandparents, "No thanks"?
Things began slowly, with brunch and playtime for the kids since it was in the upper 80s: uncharacteristic for Seattle in September, but welcome and long overdue.

Next came the candle and cupcake...
Cool learning game...
And a collectible doll from one set of grandparents that has it's own tiny, upholstered chair. Ava was smitten, as evidenced by the huge hug.
Her other Grandparents brought a Disney princess table and chairs that was just right for an impromptu tea party.
Then came school clothes for the style-conscious future fashionista, who squealed at a pitch that could be heard by bats and fellow stylists countywide...
Next: an oft-requested pink ballerina umbrella. All of which would have been more than sufficient for a fourth birthday. Especially considering the other party accoutrements, all chosen by the birthday girl: princess plates, cups, napkins and plasticware scored at a local dollar store, and homemade gourmet (according to the recipe), cherry chip flavored cupcakes topped with pink strawberry frosting.
 But the piece de resistance (as evidenced by the ear to ear grin above) beside which every other gift paled in comparison? The full Disney princess collection of dolls provided by dad.
They got hugs.
They got put to bed right next to hers. They got LOVE.

I've got some issues with the whole princess industry juggernaut, but I also don't want to put too much adult-world angst on my newly minted four year old and make her feel bad about liking something that in her mind is just fun and pretty. And frankly, the pull of the princesses is pretty tough to resist: Dylan and his 3 1/2 year old male cousin at the party both took turns carrying a princess doll around in their chubby fists, as if to show "Hey, the girls think these are pretty cool so we want to play too." 

J. wanted to add another gift to the mix but I talked him out of it: "Jeez: hold something back for her 5th birthday," I said. "You've already set the bar pretty high." He agreed. And she seems to be properly appreciative, telling everyone we met for the next few days that she'd "had the best birthday ever, with cupcakes, princess plates and lots of new princesses." She even welcomed Dylan at her tea party. All in all, it was a lovely, low-key-ish day.

In my next post, I'll close out the birthday rehash with a scene from late in that day that assuaged my concerns over her focus on all things princess-related. It turns out loving princesses and being an athletic powerhouse are not mutually exclusive.