They Literally Had a Ball


Katie jumped in my bed first thing on her birthday and snuggled as I recited “Now We Are Six.”

She replied, “Dad and Grandma already told me that one, Mom.”

Well, pardon me for wanting to inject a little culture into the day, m’lady.

We were lucky to have Katie’s birthday fall on a Saturday this year, so her party was an “official” observance of the event. As another stroke of luck, Uncle Michael also happened to be in town for a conference that weekend, and celebrated with us.

When Eleanor turned six, we had a “Cinderella” party for her, and so I decided to do the same for Katie: when the girls arrived, I played the part of Wicked Stepmother and made them all get to work “cleaning” my house.


They all thought this was hilarious, and as a matter of fact, they did a remarkably good job of finding a series of lost items that had rolled into corners of the room. I now have seven more pencils than I did before.

After all that toil, it was quite the surprise to receive an invitation to the ball from the Duke (aka William). But I (W. Stepmother) said they couldn’t go, and they all “cried” until the Fairy Godmother arrived (aka Eleanor).

Amazingly, Eleanor still had the original “invitation” from her own 6th birthday, dug it out of her nightstand drawer, and that’s what we used here.

Fairy Godmother took them all up to Katie’s room, where we had displayed all of the various princess dresses we’ve collected over the years. We have a dozen or so of them! Geez. (One party guest brought her own dress from home, ha.)


One the girls were all gussied up, they went to the kitchen to decorate paper crowns . . .


. . . and then the ball began! At first, Eleanor and I spent time teaching them “proper” dance moves, but then we turned on “Can’t Stop the Feeling” and dumped a laundry basket of balloons on their heads and let them really boogie down. (I was surprised at how most of the girls knew the words and sang along!)

Big change from Eleanor’s 6th birthday: this time, Jeff only participated under extreme duress



But all good things must come to an end, and the clock struck midnight. The girls rushed back upstairs to change out of their princess clothes.

And . . . okay, the idea here was to have everyone leave a shoe behind, BUT all of these kids have been well trained to take off their shoes when entering a home, so there were no shoes to leave behind. Awkward.

Anyway, we gathered up one shoe from each pair that was piled next to the front door, filled them with treats, and hid them in the closet. The boys then created a trail of paper hearts that lead from Katie’s room, around the house in a loop, and ended at the closet.


Whew! After all that partying down, it was nice to settle down to cake and ice cream.



Except . . .ugh. This is hands-down one of the worst cakes I’ve ever made.

I admit that, owing to the no-sugar diet I’ve been on, my heart wasn’t in it. It also didn’t help that Mrs. White, my trusty stand mixer, has been broken since Christmas and I couldn’t make my standard super-fluffy vanilla frosting.

It was technically a princess cake . . . but I stupidly forgot to refrigerate it, so when I went to frost it the crumbs came off the outer layer and ruined the frosting.

The frosting also wasn’t thick enough, so the whole dress kinda . . . melted . . . off the princess’ body.

It also didn’t help that my mind frequently floated elsewhere during the day: the global Women’s March was going on all day, and even though I couldn’t participate (because Katie) (and my knitted pussyhat still isn’t finished) I thought about the march all morning and afternoon. Yes, this led to weird tonal-dissonance moments like when I listened to Gloria Steinem’s speech while simultaneously frosting the princess cake. (Eleanor listened with me, and lit up when she recognized the reference to the “Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow” speech from Macbeth.) Or getting teary-eyed when I saw photos of sister-marches in Ghana and Iraq, while a group of spunky little girls danced around me, belting out Anna Kendrick’s “Get Back Up Again.”

But it was a good day, a powerful day. One I’m so blessed to give to my daughter — to both my daughters.


These pajamas and mini dollhouse were presents from Gma. Suzie

Many happy returns of the day!

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