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In the picture you can see the nice hair cut Kaleia gave her as the little pieces poke up in the back.
Then, the girls head to school as usual, while Nana and I head out to find the promised cupcakes to replace the order we have just been informed will not be filled. We succeed, but arrive a little late to a class full of eager preschoolers. Who knows how many times the happy birthday track played on the cd player while they waited. But all is forgiven as they dig into assorted cupcakes.
Cyprien has a different strategy.
Gabriel and Teacher David come over to help the birthday girl.
The girls come home after lunch, as usual. Magnolia, in her self-made birthday crown, enjoys smelling her roses from Grandpa, then heads off to nap before the big party.
Thankfully, both girls sleep, even after all that sugar, because our prepaid electricity ran out as I prepare to make attempt #2 on the Hello Kitty cake. To make matters worse the box in the hallway where we refill the electricity is locked and Brian has the key and is on the other side of Beijing, teaching. After several trips to the management office and the bank with a translator on my cell phone, I manage to get our power restored, but not in time to make a second cake. My mom manages to clean up, decorate and prep for the party while I run around. Out of time, I decide to salvage cake #1 into the desired shape with a lot of extra frosting.
Not too bad for mixing it in an old take out container with chopsticks and baking it in a toaster oven. Magnolia was pleased. That's what matters.
At 4 pm, all of her friends arrive, at once. They all stay full day at preschool, and since it is in our complex, they come together. My video of the chaos didn't turn out, but you can imagine. Cyprien, Magnolia's French boyfriend, is too overwhelmed by it all and will not set foot in our apartment. Au revoir, Cyprien. This leaves Gabriel (Spanish), Leonore and Hortense (French), and Max (American-Chinese). Besides Cyprien leaving, Clara and her sister got the chicken pox and couldn't come at the last minute, leaving 4 friends for Magnolia's fourth birthday.
The chaos doesn't stop at the door. All of the kids jump in full speed ahead to play with the toys and share the presents they brought. Max and Gabby chase and wrestle, while the younger girls play Bingo, and the older Hortense reads and builds towers. At one point, there are four languages being spoken, with each parent using a different primary language to communicate instructions or reprimand their child.
Video Clips from the party
After playing for awhile, we head across the street to Maggie's favorite restaurant, Home Plate BBQ, or as she calls it The Hamburger Place. The parade over with all the balloons became the talk of the next few weeks as Leonore let go of her balloon and all the kids watched it float away. A replacement was given, but the impact of the loss made an impression on all of them.
The owner, Seth, allows us to show Rango on the big screen where they usually show silent films and old westerns. It definitely keeps them all entertained while we wait for food.
My girls choose corn dogs, which is something her international friends have never heard of. Nobody tries it. It does sound a little gross: corn + dog.
The second time around out birthday girl is more confident with her candle blowing.
After cake, everyone heads to their own homes and Magnolia gets to open some presents from family. Like her dad does, she takes time to enjoy each gift as it is opened.
The distracted little sister tries to sneak more fingers of cake and entertains herself with her balloon inbetween.
Her big present is her very own computer (Leap Pad) and she is thrilled.
In her words, "it was a perfect day."