First, he had to decide what to ask for. (He finally settled on a Lego Hero Factory and a Webkinz stuffed animal.)
Then, he had to decide what theme he would choose. The main problem with this decision was his struggle with two different interests: elephants and airplanes. How to choose? I finally suggested an airplane cake with an elephant pilot. That seemed good enough. (This cake never made it into production. More on that later.)
And what about candles? One candle that says 5 or five separate candles? Lots of deliberation here. The 5 candle won out because of concern that he might not succeed in blowing all 5 smaller candles out in one breath.
And, the morning of his party, he had one final decision to make: Should he or should he not let people sing "Happy Birthday" to him? Carsten is mortified when anyone makes a fuss over him. "Mommy, I hate it when they sing to me." "I know. It's your birthday. We don't have to sing if you don't want us to." "But maybe I should let them sing." We finally did a "trial run" of singing to him and letting him blow out a candle. Okay. That wasn't so bad. We were good to go on the singing thing.
We had a very busy week, so I was falling behind on birthday preparations. I had thought we might just celebrate with a couple of families at the zoo (elephants) to keep it simple and low-key. That came together despite very last minute planning, but the cake wasn't fairing as well. SOMEONE ate all my vegan marshmallows (which I use to make the fondant and the rice krispie parts of the cakes) and I just didn't have the time to make a Whole Foods run.
I had a great idea: Let's just stick little Matchbox airplanes on top of cupcakes! Cake, theme, take-home gift- done. So we set off to Wal-Mart.
Major failure. Apparently, Carsten is the only child in the greater San Antonio area who wants to be a pilot when he grows up! There wasn't a single airplane anything anywhere. How weird is that? Since it was now less than 24 hours till his party, I just let Carsten pick whatever he wanted. We ended up with Lego Star Wars plates and napkins with little animals to go on top of the cupcakes. All his careful planning, ruined. He took it pretty well, though. Bryan always said that being in our family was good for Carsten. He is learning flexibility.
The kids ran around and explored the park. (Thank you, Abbie, for taking the pictures!)
The singing and the candle blowing out went well.
The kids had a great time in the zoo too. We were that group that no one wants to be behind. The one with all the excited, shrieking children who block the exhibits.
And, most importantly, Carsten got to see elephants.