So, my eldest daughter is a tomboy, and wears her hair pulled back and cries if she can’t stay in jeans and tennis shoes. She wanted mini-golf for a birthday and tends to hang with boys. She likes video games and math and to build things, especially elaborate structures from anything she can get her hands on, but mostly walls formed by stretching ropes between furniture and doorknobs, then covered with blankets. She can fill a living room with a “boat” or a “castle.” She likes to make what she calls “contraptions” with various bits of things–legos and rubber bands and hunks of playdough.

So then comes Elizabeth. The fluff of pink. The blonde babe. We all know about her princess-ness. This is culminating in her 4th birthday party, which is this Saturday.

Elizabeth suffers from second child-itis, so all her parties prior to this have been small family affairs, nothing like the crazy kid and clown fests of Emily’s toddlerhood, where balloon twisters, face painters, moonjumps, catered food, and bazillions of invitees ruled the day. (We hadn’t quite worked up to pony rides, but it was in the works. Oh, that and one of the little trains that can be set up to go around your house…)

But those were the old days.

This party is elaborate but primarily labor intensive rather than flashy. Ten little girls, ten pink tutus (still being sewn by mama), ten princess crowns, a whole lotta beads and string for jewelry, and well, the castle. My ex and his dad are both engineers. I knew they could pull off a castle. First I gave them a rough sketch.

They graphed the outline onto two sections of 8 foot plywood and cut it out. They added a hinge to the middle for stability and then hinged on two more sections of plywood for the sides to make it stand.

I came in and began painting, first the outline of the front of the castle, then outlining the towers and peaks to be filled in with other colors. When the base colors dried, I sponged on bricks and other details.

I still hope to add more detail and perspective, perhaps some windows, but for now I have to get back to the tutus. The castle is close enough for now, although we will add vines and flags to it before it goes to the park, a section of my old neighborhood that has a real forest feel.

The party is Saturday, so let’s hope for NO RAIN! (Any anti-rain dances you know, start boogeying.) Then little Eliza gets to be a princess, and I guess that makes me the QUEEN!

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