Parenting - - In This Issue - Nicki Tay­lor

A princess party that isn’t

When Vi­o­let was four, the theme of her

kindy disco was ‘fairy­tales’. Amongst all

the four year old girls dressed as fairies

and princesses, there was one lit­tle girl

who had de­cided to go as a knight. So

it wasn’t ex­actly a sur­prise when she

asked for a ‘Knights and Cas­tles’ party

for her sixth birth­day. How­ever, as the

day came closer, it be­came clear this was

be­com­ing more of a ‘princess’ party, with

Vi­o­let as the self-ap­pointed queen and

all her guests as princesses! In our fam­ily

we have al­ways cel­e­brated princesses

who are cel­e­brated for their courage,

kind­ness and clev­er­ness, rather than those who are val­ued for their

phys­i­cal ap­pear­ance and sit around wait­ing for Prince Charm­ing

to ar­rive to save them or make them com­plete. So we turned to

his­tory and lit­er­a­ture for some won­der­ful ex­am­ples of strong

princesses and queens. The Nar­nia se­ries of books by C.S Lewis

pro­vides a won­der­ful pic­ture of kind, strong and coura­geous

Team Tay­lor throws a princess party that isn’t a princess party.

lead­ers in Queen Lucy and Queen Su­san

(and their broth­ers). We in­cor­po­rated

th­ese ideas into the birth­day in­vi­ta­tion,

dec­o­ra­tions and ac­tiv­i­ties to make a truly

spe­cial cel­e­bra­tion that also sent pos­i­tive

mes­sages to our royal guests.

The cen­tre­piece of the party was the

Royal Ban­quet Hall where af­ter­noon tea

was served and we used strong colours

of pur­ple and gold as well as spe­cial

ban­quet cups in bright colours to make

this a truly royal cel­e­bra­tion. We drilled

holes in the ceil­ing and walls, tied wire

across, and hung me­tres and me­tres

of pur­ple fab­ric along the ceil­ing and a cou­ple of drops of fab­ric

from the ceil­ing to the floor. Then we tied them with gold rib­bon.

We placed Vi­o­let’s new chan­de­lier as the cen­tre­piece and used

colour­ful ‘goblets’ that Vi­o­let had fallen in love with from a dollar

store. I bor­rowed a gold run­ner from a friend and we used some

pur­ple glass­ware Vi­o­let had found at Look Sharp to top it all off. I

searched for images of the Nar­nia char­ac­ters and their mag­i­cal cas­tles

on­line, printed them on a home colour printer and then fit­ted them to

our ex­ist­ing frames to cre­ate a wall of inspiring images.

At the ban­quet ta­ble each guest had a name tag that spoke of

one of their at­tributes – Princess Heidi the Clever, Princess Mieke the

Kind, Princess Esther the Brave and Princess Kayla the Thought­ful to

name a few. As we do at each of our chil­dren’s par­ties, we shared a

few thoughts on Vi­o­let and her courage and cre­ativ­ity, and her deep

em­pa­thy and kind­ness. The fo­cus was not just on the phys­i­cal beauty

and ap­pear­ance of our princesses, but on the at­tributes that make

them truly spe­cial and unique.

Drawing again on Nar­nia for in­spi­ra­tion, Vi­o­let sug­gested that any

good princess would need to know how to hold a sword and shoot a

bow and ar­row. Thus Josh en­tered the world of Pin­ter­est for the first

time, work­ing out how to as­sem­ble bows and ar­rows from plumb­ing

tubes and duct tape (sur­pris­ingly easy as it hap­pens). We painted up a

bulls­eye and took the princesses through archery train­ing, which they

all had a go at (some in their tiaras and heels) and thor­oughly en­joyed.

In the Royal Dress­ing Room, along with the tiaras, gloves and my

mother’s old jew­ellery col­lec­tion, were enough wooden swords for

each young royal as well as chain mail, hel­mets and shields. At the

craft ta­ble we had a range of pic­tures to colour in, cas­tles, knights,

re­al­is­tic look­ing princesses and more. We also had a friend come as

a knight and take the guests through some ‘royal train­ing’ which

in­cluded sword fight­ing. To top it all off, Vi­o­let’s fan­tas­tic Aunty Hanna

came dressed as Joan of Arc!

At the end of the party, many of our wee princesses ranked archery

as their favourite ac­tiv­ity and left not only with new sparkly jew­ellery,

but also hav­ing ac­com­plished a new skill. Queen Lucy would be proud!

Sur­prise and de­light

We love to cre­ate par­ties that sur­prise and de­light our chil­dren and

the Royal Ban­quet Hall did ex­actly that be­cause it was a com­plete

sur­prise for Vi­o­let. In the week lead­ing up to her party, each night

af­ter she went to bed, Josh and I spent a few hours work­ing out how

to trans­form our play­room, be­fore re­turn­ing ev­ery­thing back to

nor­mal be­fore she woke up. On the day of her party, her grand­mother

took her and her brother to the movies and we quickly put the

Royal Ban­quet Hall to­gether while she was out. She was ab­so­lutely

de­lighted when she got home and saw it. We think th­ese mag­i­cal

mo­ments will stay in our chil­dren’s mem­ory banks for years. They are

worth ev­ery sec­ond spent in con­struc­tion and plan­ning.

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