Vanessa thought so when I consulted with her ... but she came over to my way of thinking pretty fast. My logic is like that. It wins people over sooner or later.
So Caroline wanted a princess party for her 5th, but I must have used up all my party-planning oomph back in August, and I tend to break out in hives when faced with the prospect of organizing the Perfect Birthday Party. So here's what we did instead. We had the cake and presents with the family on The Actual Day. Then, a few days later, I took her, along with her sister and three neighbor girls, to Embellish Salon to get their nails done.
Why was Embellish the perfect place for such feminine tomfoolery? Reason One: The walls are pink. Reason Two: Glittery stuff everywhere. Reason Three: Heated, scented neck wraps. Reason Four: They played Eloise: The Movie in the background. Reason Five: Mom gets to sit in an comfy chair and read the holiday issue of Martha Stewart Living.
Dear future husbands of these five girls: I'm sorry. Very, very sorry.
Dear future wife of the boy who had to tag along until he was rescued by my neighbor Jesse, who had done the Thanksgiving shopping for both of us: You're welcome. Very, very welcome.
I think they had a good time!
But lest you think I spoiled these girls irrevocably, that they're now proceeding precipitously down the slippery slope of Legally Blonde-hood ... here's what happened when we got home.
1. They whacked a homemade pinata to pieces.
2. We went to the park, and they rolled down mounds of dirt.
3. They set up their own spa in my kitchen, complete with mixing bowls full of bubble bath and magazines for the "customers" to read, and gave each other pedicures. I even rated a foot massage. With lotion.
I couldn't help thinking about the Betsy-Tacy books I still love so much, partly because Betsy and Tacy have the childhood that I wish every kid could have. In Betsy and Tacy Go Over the Big Hill, the girls celebrate their tenth birthdays, and their lives are fraught with the tension between their desire to feel and be grown up, and the fact that they so clearly -- and endearingly -- are still children. So much of that freedom to explore, to spend hours picnicking in the hills and playing in the streets, is a bygone dream for my daughters' generation. Now they have chaperoned park outings and a more constant adult presence. Yet that same force of imagination endures, making life at the same time simpler and more exhilarating.
Of course, it's not their nails or even their imaginations that make these girls so lovely. They care for each other -- there's no meanness in their play. I may even be so bold as to say they love each other. Which makes them, with or without embellishments, truly beautiful.