Katrina's birthday was a LOT of fun. All the invitees were from her preschool class, plus one special longtime friend from Las Madres. There was a turnout of about 9 kids, which is plenty party!
Timing was perfect. By the time everyone had arrived and basically settled, the birds had arrived too. First, we got to meet Gordon inside, and watched him do a few tricks.
Katrina is not at all afraid of horses but shrieks at dogs -- how would she do with birds? Turns out, pretty well.
While we'd been inside meeting Gordon, the real bird show got set up outside, and we came out to see a small stage and the performers perched behind it.
Our simple new deck and patio worked great as a new mini-amphitheatre!
So, we talk about the birds, let them talk, watch them make silly faces and twist their heads around. One bird opened a soda can that Katrina held, and she got to feed the bird out of her hand.
She was cautious but very engaged -- just a litle scared enough not to be enthusiastic, but keenly interested. No nudging needed to participate either.
The people who run the bird show know their business -- it's a family affair, and the more photos proud moms can get of her little buggers with birds on them, the happier Mom will be and the more Mom will gushingly recommend the show. Sounds cynical, but in fact, I like such practical realities.
So, the bird-lady wisely got Katrina's brothers involved. One brother was all over it.
Then we got to see parrot tricks. What are the odds these guys have ended up on David Letterman at one point? It's adorable.
Zachary rides a bicycle
Yakky sings Clementine...apparently she's been all over national TV, including the Tonight Show. The couple that runs Happy Birds also does bird rescue, so maybe that's how Yakky came to them. This was really pretty remarkable!
Yakky sings Rock-a-bye birdie
Then this cockatoo gave kisses to everyone, starting with that super-sweet gooshy-wooshy pussycat softie, my son Gabriel.
All 3 kids got to feed Zach after a scooter run.
Time for some photo-ops with the birds. I was amazed at how cooperative Katrina was, though I could tell she was a little concerned.
Every kid got a photo-op with a bird -- lots of photo-ops built into the program!
Even Julian finally relented.
Now time for a photo-op with all 3, if we can. Rare for us to get all three, and even rarer all cooperating, looking up, no one blinks or picks their nose. But even if you get that, you'll still have some horrible screen or gas meter in the background.
Mom and Dad had a chance too -- this is a really rare good shot of us! Dave's actually smiling, for real, and looking at the camera!
After the bird show, it was time for food, drink, and, of course, cake. It looks ordinary on the outside, but I made it special on the inside: rainbow cake!
In the end, I think what Katrina loved best about her party was having so many other little girls her age to play with. She played somewhat with the boys too, but even the littler boys were having a hard time resisting the pull of the nonstop boy-behavior of the older boys. Seeing her in here with 3 other friends was really sweet. Later, she said to me, "Mommy, I want another party so I can have more FRIENDS!"
Later as it was getting time to leave, Katrina and two other friends found another way to play, by dashing across the lawn.
Fascinating to watch 4-year-old girls all very close in age run, they're all so different. Katrina's not nearly as clumsy as she used to be, but in watching her and two other girls sprint across the lawn, I'm struck at how less efficient she is. Not that she can't learn, and it's fine if she never does, but I don't see anything in her movement that would suggest a future in track. She was having so much fun though, this simple running game that she does with her brothers all the time, but this time with peers. Good for her.
The only downside to this party was Katrina's annoying brothers. They followed her constantly, were in her face, grabbing any toy she was holding, hyping her up and completely dominating her attention and chasing away her actual friends. They were very uncooperative when I told them to move away, and they got sent to their rooms several times (which means I had to chase them up there and angrily threaten to lock them in). It's annoying and embarrassing. It'd have been nice if they could just be there in the background, but no, since it was at their home, and they're older stronger louder and faster than most of the kids, they became powerfully possessive of their sister's attention.
Thankfully the bird show settled them down, though playing after the show, Gabriel made Katrina cry (at her own party!) by taking a toy away and laughing while he ran off with it and she tottered along behind, tears streaming down her face, crying, "Gabriel! That's MINE!" I was furious at him for that, and he spent the rest of the party in his room. Next year, no older boys at her party, especially not her brothers. I'll make it the foofiest princess party possible where they won't want to be anywhere near it. And you know, I might enjoy that too!