Brazilian Birthday Success!

We survived our first Brazilian birthday.  We met all of L’s classmates. They understood my Portuguese.  It was everything she wanted:  blue, cupcakes that she got to decorate, chocolate covered almonds, coconut brigadeiro (with real chocolate sprinkles that might have taken a tumble in route to the party), and pão de queijo.   L was so excited she didn’t even eat her cupcake, but she talked a lot about it.

I did learn that apparently few kids here drink “leito puro” (pure milk).  I thought their teacher was referring to them drinking powdered milk.  Nope. None of the kids, other than L, wanted to touch the milk since it wasn’t mixed with chocolate.

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Now to prep for our next visitor. Let the planning begin!


Mom Failure: All Dressed Up With Nowhere to Go

So I am kind of on a roll.   Last week, precisely when I lost L’s Tinker Bell birthday invitations that I never replaced since we are doing it at school anyway, we got one in the mail–the one I was worried about setting a precedent before we had L’s simple party at the school.

Well, I swore the party was tonight and while I thought that a Sunday night party from 5:00 – 9:00 p.m. was a bit ridiculous, I assumed it because it was (1) a holiday weekend, and (2) because this is how Brazilians do it. This will teach me to make assumptions.

We spent all weekend prepping L for the party, going shopping for a present for her classmate, wrapping it up, having L write a card, and tonight she chose a special party outfit.   While S and I weren’t thrilled about going out on Sunday night and loading our kid up with sugar, we were excited to actually meet some of the other parents.

When we got to the building and rang the bell, we realized immediately that something was amiss. The doorman didn’t seem to recognize that there was a birthday party in the building.   I pulled out the invitation to confirm we were in the right place and that is when I saw it–the date.   The date actually said 01/09/2012, meaning last Saturday.

In my defense, old habits die hard.   I only found the invitation in L’s backpack on Tuesday, thus I assumed that the party was this upcoming weekend and when I glanced at the date, I intuitively looked at the middle 09 since we Americans usually list the date month/day/year (we don’t have to get into the fact that I date all my computer documents according to international standards).

Anyway, there we were, all three dressed to make an impression with nowhere to go and having to break it to the little one that there would be no party, friends, games, cake, or candy.   I tried to explain that I made a mistake and confused the date.   Ten minutes later L told me, “I made a mistake too.  I wanted to go to M’s party.”   Not sure the whole message got through, but she did understand that there was not going to be a party.   We settled for pizza, building a tent, and frosting L’s cupcakes when we got home.



Birthday Anxiety

Brazilian kid birthdays are a big deal.  Tons of food, elaborate themes, party houses, trampolines, ball pits, games, candy, lollipops, sweets, and beer to help get the parents through.    If you don’t believe me just look here, here, or here.

L’s third birthday is on Monday and this whole birthday extravaganza hasn’t ever really been our thing.   Not that L hasn’t had great birthdays.   On her first birthday we went to a nearby park, I made an awesome layered lemon cake and totally bombed L’s monkey cake (so much so our friend told me it looked like burnt lungs).   On her second birthday, we had a wonderful BBQ at the park where we ate good food with our friends and the kids ran around and wore themselves out.   Both low key.

Given that neither L or us have many friends here and that it is a holiday weekend, I originally planned to just have a family birthday party for her.   I figured we will have plenty of birthdays to come where her inflated expectations will lead us to do ridiculous things (though I am not sure we are talking Brazilian ridiculousness).  But I did decide to ask L’s school if she could bring treats and the director suggested we just hold the birthday party there.

Perfect.   Simple, short, and I won’t have to clean up.  But as the director mentioned what we could do, I realized that even the simple expectations were above and beyond what I had envisioned.   I guess cupcakes on napkins wasn’t what they had in mind.

It is at this point that I realized the conflict of expectations I have going through my mind.   In Chicago, I would have worried about sending too much sugar in the treats, especially since it is at noon the part-time kids won’t have eaten lunch yet.   Here, I am suddenly worried about not having enough stuff.

So as L and I went downtown to shop for her birthday party, I decided to strike a happy medium.   And here is what we came out with:

– Theme:  Blue (Don’t ask.  I don’t know.   Despite a recent obsession with Tinker Bell, L decided we would do everything blue–table cloth, cups, plates, spoons, balloons, goodie bags, and brigadeiro cups)

– Savory Treats: Pao de queijo

– Sweet Treats: Cupcakes with sprinkles and brigadeiro

– Goodie Bags:  A cup filled with homemade play dough, mini bubbles, a whistle, a lollipop, and a mini bag of jelly beans.  I couldn’t bring myself to fill other people’s houses with tons of cheap plastic toys that I wouldn’t want in mine.

I am counting on the school for songs and games.   In and out in a half hour!

I have to say I was, up until last week, comforted by the fact that L had no point of reference of what Brazilian birthday parties were actually like.  Then on Tuesday we received an Angelina Ballerina invitation to L’s classmate’s birthday party on Sunday night from 5 – 9 p.m.   So much for that.   But I guess there is no better time to learn that some parents are just lamer than others, and L was blessed with those, at least when it comes to birthday parties.

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