more of our magical weekend of celebrating quinn’s 8th birthday…
we invited our chosen family and also actual family (the pancakes!) to a dragon party. we were blessed with gorgeous weather (the breeze was a little chilly, but the sun was magnificent!) so i was up at 6 am popping up the canopy and setting up tables. i did a minimal amount of decorating: i blew up a total of 4 balloons for the entire party. the bunting i spent my thursday evening sewing really added a splash of color, and the flowering trees in the backyard made up for any lack of decor. i laid out a tarp with blankets on top, set up a coat rack with costumes, dragged an old chalkboard and sidewalk chalk out of the playhouse, and strategically placed bubbles.
i made playdough in every color of the rainbow, and set out a tray of bits and baubles to adorn sculptures- wiggly eyes, popsicle sticks, pipe cleaners, and feathers, glittery “dragon” eggs to nestle in playdough nests (the easter decorations being out so early at the dollar store really helped my dragon egg schemes!)
i also made a giant bowl of pizza dough that morning, and all party guests got to roll out and top their own pizza. something about dragons as a theme, the possibilities are limitless. beside the pizza station was a sign reading, “top your own dragon-fired pizza!” it was actually so easy to get carried away with the dragon inspiration that i had to cut myself off at some point.
after opening presents (he got some awesome homemade gifts from friends! our favorites, since it’s all we ever have the money to give in return!) there was a mysterious note at the bottom of the pile of presents, and it was intriguing enough to get the kids back outside running around before cupcakes. the note sent them on a treasure hunt all around the yard, to locate clues leading to a treasure a dragon had hidden and disguised as an egg. they had to find “the place where the small orange-bellied dragons, no bigger than your hand, swim and float in the duckweed” (newts, in the pond) and look “beneath where the tiny flying dragons with feathers and flashing red chests come to feed on nectar” (hummingbird feeders). finally, they arrived at the dragon egg pinata i had spent my wednesday evening building. (once again- i would never dream of making a complicated pinata, but an egg? cover a balloon in runny glue and newspaper and tissue paper? anyone can do it.)
then, cupcakes! definitely out of my comfort zone to be using an icing bag, but i gave it a shot to make the dragon look like he had scales. my son once again had plenty of input in the color scheme (red eyes, green scales, black horns…) though i came up with the cupcake train idea thanks to the internet and rolled with it before i asked for his color thoughts. note to self: it was such a good idea to make the cupcakes at the same time as the school cake, and chuck them in the freezer for the week! all i had to do was thaw and frost them…. do this again next year! because i heard a certain boy already ask, “can we have another dragon party when i turn 9?”
quinn had a ton of fun, a few tense moments (he is still easily overwhelmed by crowds and overstimulation, but his moments are much briefer than they used to be!) later that evening, as he was building his mos eisley cantina lego set, i could see him relaxing back into solo play mode. it’s one of those areas where i dance on the edge with him, allowing him exorbitant amounts of unstructured alone time, but pushing him out of his comfort zone now and then socially, having him practice those skills that don’t come as naturally to him as, say, constructing a hinged lego roof while absorbing 4-syllable vocabulary words from lemony snicket audio books.
wait a minute, that’s no eight-year-old!
we got to keep our pancakes overnight, and spend time at the beach with them the next day. i love the friendship q has with the girls, especially b pancake, with whom he is particularly close. she does such a good job pulling him out of his shell and helps him live life a little more out loud.
as we were turning back from the water to head home from the beach, a bald eagle came in to perch above the cliff overlooking the beach. as i got closer with my camera, its mate came in for a landing as well.
then my 8 year old asked if he could climb up on the cliff “just real quick” before we left for home.
oh, twist my arm, son. (can you spot the eagle in the upper right?)
at home in nature, and at home in his own imagination, he climbed up, soared in, perched on some eggs, and took off soaring again.