Our original plan for Scarlett's birthday? Throw some money at an establishment like Monkey Joe's, invite some kids, and let them run wild. But my older sister, knowing how we suffer from too-much-month-at-the-end-of-the-money syndrome, helpfully suggested that we have the party at her pool.
Done! Now all we had to worry about was the cake. My plan? A cupcake cake, from our local grocer's bakery. My sister was all skeptical. "I can make cupcakes," she offered.
"Lemme just see what they have," I said. I flipped through the look book. We had wanted something with Yo Gabba Gabba, since that seems to be Scarlett's favorite show. Of course, they had no YGG. It seemed my options were either something Scarlett actually liked, but with a crappy toy (like a Dora cake with just a plastic Dora figurine) or an awesome toy of something that Scarlett didn't care much about (like a Hello Kitty cake with a bubble-blowing figurine[!!!!]) Hmm. So I asked a baker the price of a cupcake cake with 24 cupcakes. The verdict? I called my sister. "You can do the cupcakes."
The day of the party came. We arrived at my sister's place, gifts and kids in tow, to help set up. My sister was not happy with the cupcakes, which, it turned out, she had ordered from some other bakery. Ordered? Bakery? I thought she was making them herself. I said nothing.
"Look at them," she said, her contempt undisguised. "The frosting is two inches thick. The circles are all the same size. And they're the wrong color!" Apparently, my sister had requested that the cupcakes be decorated to match the drinking cups she had bought, which had a pattern of differently-sized, overlapping circles. The cupcakes did not match. It was like our own mini-Cake Wrecks moment.
Then it was time for the party. Scarlett kept posing in the mirror in her new bathing suit, flipping her hair and talking about how "stylish" she looked. Snort. She had some new arm floaties and she was beyond excited about how well she was "swimming" with her floaties and tube ring.
The other moms marveled at how Sosie was being so calm and smiley sitting in her car seat. "What do you do to make her so calm?" they asked me.
"I think God knows I'm terrible with children, so He gave me some easy ones," I said. They laughed. I wasn't joking. Oh, well.
The kids swam and splashed. We had pizza. Then it was time for presents. Scarlett is the best. Present-opener. Ever. She squealed in delight over everything, even the clothes. We're thinking of employing her to open all of our presents at Christmas so that the appropriate amount of gratefulness is displayed.
When most of the party guests had gone home and it was time to clean up, there was more lamenting from my sister. "I forgot all about the goodie bags! And the ice cream!" All of my sister's plans had slowly gone awry.
Later, Mom called. She had just spoken to my sister, and she was all giggly about how things had gone wrong. "Your sister is too funny," Mom said. "She wants to do everything herself so that it will turn out the way she wants it. She is just like me!" Really, Mom? You are just noticing this now? She has only been like this since I've been old enough to form coherent memories of her.
Then, after that? I received this text from my sister: "Maybe it would have been easier to give Monkey Joe's $100." There's always next year.