Saturday, June 27, 2015

Coco at Four Years and a Bit

Cornelia is now two months into her fourth year.  And her imagination is in full bloom.  Every game we play together involves some sort of pretend play.  It always starts by assigning roles.  Coco does the assigning, of course.  “Okay, Daddy, I’ll be the [princess / mermaid / knight, etc.] and you be the [king / prince / bad guy, etc.].  The game usually involves someone being bad (usually my character), someone being good (usually Coco’s character), and someone needing help or rescue (which might be the good guy or the bad guy).  Often there is a trap involved, which is usually a ribbon masquerading as a snare of some sort.  Sometimes Coco changes the roles or scenario without any advance warning.  “Okay, Daddy, now you be the king and I’ll be the bad guy.  ‘Haha!  I’ve trapped you!’” she says as she wraps my wrist in a ribbon.  Then she turns around and is the princess rescuing me.  “Hi, I’m a princess.  Are you trapped?  Who trapped you?  I’ll help you.”   

So, you have a pirate-themed birthday party
for four-year-olds in three hours?
Not a problem if you're Ken Wingard.
Simply poke around in your craft box for
some random material, some felt and a needle and thread.
"Viola!"  A pirate outfit! 
We have been known to sword fight from time to time while waiting in the morning for the J Church to go to school.
Her favorite game is “Big Bad Octopus.”  I think we’ve played “Big Bad Octopus” every night for it seems like years, although I’m not sure exactly when it started.  The game is simple.  I’m the Big Bad Octopus (which is nice because all I have to do is lay on the floor which is, frankly, a welcome position after a day of work and when I'm in a constant state of mild sleep deprivation) and Coco is a mermaid who is swimming by and gets trapped by the Big Bad Octopus. 
“What is a mermaid doing in my ocean!  I don’t like mermaids!”  (grabbing her by the ankle)  “Now you are trapped with me at the bottom of the ocean and you must [read me bedtime stories / dance for me / be my friend, etc.] forever and forever!” 
Coco, as the mermaid, then asks me why I’m bad which leads to a bit of Big-Bad-Octopus-therapy.  “Because no one will be my friend and I’m lonely.”  Then she says she’ll be my friend and then I’m nice again and then we’re friends and everyone is happy. 
Flynn and Margot are usually in supporting roles.  Sometimes they are prince and princess mermaids I’ve trapped and must be rescued by Coco (also a princess mermaid, of course).  And then sometimes they are little Big Bad Octopuses who help me trap the mermaid. 

Last month we went through a period where Coco acted out scenes from Frozen.  She was always Elsa and I was always Anna.  It went something like this:

Scene:  The castle ballroom following Elsa’s coronation (the entry hall at the bottom of the stairs).

Anna (played by Daddy):  “Elsa, I want you to meet someone.  This is Hans.  I’m going to marry him.”
(Sometimes Flynn is cast in the role of Hans if he happens to be in the vicinity.  Fortunately, it's not a speaking role.)

"Today the role of Hans
will be played by Flynn"

Elsa (played by Cornelia):  (With the best scolding tone and frown a four-year-old can muster.) “You can’t marry a man you just met!”  (And, yes, I'm happy every time Coco utters that line and will be eternally grateful that Frozen taught her at the age of four that she cannot marry a man she just met.)

Anna (Daddy):  “You can if it’s love at first sight!”

Elsa (Coco):  “I said no!”  Turns away.

Anna (Daddy):  “Elsa, why do you shut me out?” Grabs her hand and pulls off her glove. (Coco sometimes uses a gardening glove for this scene.)

Elsa:  “Leave me alone!” Turns and blasts ice power all over the ballroom (the entry hall) and then runs up the North Mountain (the stairs) singing “Let it go!” She then crosses the great ice glacier (the TV room) and the bursts onto the mountain top (the deck on the back of the house) still singing “Let it go!”
Hopefully we’re getting all the drama out of the way early . . . .

Coco working the tiara and heels at the playground.

Lest you doubt me, here's a closer look. 
She's running up and down those hills in full-on heels.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Cornelia's Birthday, Duboce Park, April 26, 2015

We celebrated Coco's fourth birthday this year, and followed the neighborhood tradition of hosting the party in Duboce Park.  The park is a very popular spot for children's birthday parties.  So much so, we staked out our spot around 8:00 a.m., reserving a space under a tree with a banquet table that pretty much shouted, "Hey! Don't even think about sitting here 'cause there's gonna be a hoard of kids in this spot for a party today."  Shortly thereafter there were at least two other birthday party spots clearly marked for the morning and afternoon.

Coco picked out the color theme for her party this year: pink and green.  Ken decorated -- even in the park -- with not just helium balloons, but Coco's named spelled out in pink roses.  And, of course, there was a homemade cake.  Mari and Francisco brought a pinata, of course.  (The pinata was Elsa, of course.)  Grandma Mary and Grandpa Roy even made the drive all the way down from Port Angeles for the party (and then stayed a few days following). 

The birthday girl arriving!
Pinata's are a staple of the kids birthday party circuit around here, it seems.  I don't recall pinata's at birthday parties when I was a kid.  But, of course, I also don't recall gift bags for every kid either, and we have those too.
The kids all lined up for the pinata "beating". (What else would you call it?)  Pictured:  Cornelia, INSERT, Hollis Monberg, Elias Buckner, Stella Monberg, INSERT, Jules Buckner, Rose INSERT, Jack Miller, Margot, Grandma Mary. 
All lined up for the pinata "beating".
Coco takes her turn at the pinata.
Coco's not so sure how she feels about all these kids
beating an effigy of Elsa.
Mari and the kids


When you're Ken Wingard's daughter, what do you get for your fourth birthday?  A dollhouse your Papa made for you out of a vintage suitcase, complete with furniture and wallpapered, of course.
"Ta da!  I'm four!"