My dwarfs are spoiled. Not in the sense that they get whatever they want, when they want it, spoiled... nonetheless they are spoiled. I have no doubt in my mind that if you were to ask any of the dwarfs, with the exception perhaps of the Doc, who has been "living on her own" for a while now, they would all say that they are most certainly NOT spoiled, at least in the ways that matter to pre teen and teenagers today. However as a mom I try to "spoil" them in ways that they will always remember. Electronics, the latest fashion, and giving into every whim in the store is not going to be remembered tomorrow or even years from now. I believe it is the things we do, the efforts that we take to make the regular, extraordinary that spoils them.
As far as birthday parties go, our dwarfs have had more parties (or so it seems to me) than most of the children in the world, or at least Central PA. Yet, birthday celebrations are simple, and relatively inexpensive ways to celebrate them. Now we do not host 8 separate parties a year, and typically they are small with the exception of the milestone years 13 and 16, with boys and girls on alternating years. Still that is between 2-4 celebrations a year. For the record, all dwarfs, and the Prince, have the honor of having a meal of their request for dinner on their day of birth as well as a birthday placemat at the table and a birthday pillowcase.( I even try, although in the busy day to day, often forget or miss it, to call them, text them or even wake them at the exact moment of their birth)even if they don't have the privilege of a party that year, they are still honored on their special day.
This year Dopey turned 16. I having the esteemed reputation as a skilled party planner (with the dwarfs anyhow), and I find that using my creative skills over the years has helped to a)celebrate the uniqueness of each dwarf and b) allowed the Prince and I to "spoil" them with great memories of their special day.
My experience has included, but is not limited to birthday parties ranging from 20 guests to 145 guests, at our home and in other venues. I have created giant board games, with life size game pieces and questions all centered around the birthday dwarf, I have had mixed groups that had tons of fun playing minute to win it games, pirate ships made of cardboard, activities that included a fashion show of toilet paper clothing creations, crafts, cook offs, swimming, dramatic role playing while dressed in period garb. Parties that involved makeup, pedicures, pampering of various kinds. Parties with Chuck E. Cheese, at ball parks and at bowling allies. But all of this has paled in comparison to this year's Zombie Apocalypse Party.
Boys are harder to plan for than girls. Boys do not desire to do anything in advance, they just want to show up for the party. They have ideas but often times have no idea how unrealistic they are.
So a few months ago we started discussing Dopey's birthday and how it was the year of the party, 16. At first I thought that perhaps he was going to pass on his celebration. But as the time got closer the idea for a party took root in his mind. Now because of one larger than life idea that I had, (remember the Lingle Moto : Go Big or Go Home) I spent a significant amount of time researching, and trying to find cost effective ways to pull off the major part of the party, and outdoor zombie movie... coupled with some traveling, and working, it was the Thursday before said party before I realize, opps I do not have food, drink or decorations ideas. (Insert Pintrest here!) With a huge helping hand from my eldest dwarf, and sporadic appearances from other Lingle dwarfs, Friday and Saturday turned into an all out Zombie planning session at the orphanage. We made survival bags, we painted wooden pallets to board up the front door, we hung caution tape, we made signs that had tons of Zombie sayings like Zombie Crossing, or Toxic, we made Walking Dead Tacos, Zombie Snot, Graveyard Dirt, We even baked Brain Cakes - (with help from a Dwarf friend).
All in all I say the party was a success - many attended, played basketball, ate, and seemingly enjoyed a Zombie themed party in our back yard. The outdoor movie theater was brilliant, the food was yummy, and the boy will have a memory of growing up that few can say they have - a Zombie Apocalypse 16th Birthday Party. Are my dwarfs spoiled... you bet ya! Do they realize it yet, p
probably not. But it was an evening that he will remember for a long, long time and will hopefully, if I am doing my job right, relive with his first child when they turn 16.
... in hindsight the only way I could have topped this one was to have planned for about 6 or so adults from the neighborhood to dress up like zombies and come out of the woods about half way through the feature.... but perhaps I will save that idea for the next zombie party!