When Quinlan decided she wanted a Harry Potter party a couple of weeks ago, I was equally tickled and freaked out, mostly because I'd never actually thrown any of my kids an official party, let alone one involving dragons, magic, and wizards for a bunch of 4 and 6 year old girls.
I thought about making it a Harry Potter tea party but my inner feminist smacked some sense into me.
And so, I found myself making bloodworm and blind cat eye centerpieces out of spaghetti and pearl onion, and filling my craft store cart with toy dragons, snakes, spiders, and bull frogs.
Definitely not your typical girl's birthday party decor. Because if you hit the "girl's" section at any party store, you might think the pretty pink princess monster took a gigantic shit in the aisle.
Maybe my daughter knew that I had paid my dues over the years, with three years in a row of Ariel birthday cakes, Barbie halloween costumes, and a collection of "play" make-up that somehow always ends up on walls and clothes.
And really, if she wanted some sort of Barbie Luau Party, I would have obliged her - leis, hula skirts, limbo and all, though with much less gusto and plenty of inner eye-rolling.
My main concern wasn't so much that my kid was wearing a striped tie, white shirt, black shorts, and a cloak at her birthday party, but that the party goers, all girls, would somehow be off put by the lack of, well, girliness.
But I threw on my old grad school robes and a terrible British accent, waved around a wand of my own, and wouldn't you know, they all had a smashing good time. No moans, groans, or screeches even. On the contrary, they dug it, all of them bound and determined to find the gigantic plastic snakes, spider, and bullfrog that I had hidden in the yard.
And really who can blame them? As much as tiaras, princess dresses, and sparkly make-up can make for plenty of fun, so can a few two-headed dragons and a plastic tarantula.
Somehow we've come to believe that girls are genetically programmed to like all that glitters, when really, that's absolutely not the case. They can have a diamond on one and a frog in the other, and still turn out just fine.
In fact, they'll be better for it.