Monday, April 17, 2006

Decapitating Dora...

It started off innocently enough--a family birthday party for my lively two-year-old. In hindsight, having it during Easter weekend may have been poor judgment. But, with her birthday just a weekend before Easter, I knew this would be the only time we'd have all our family together to celebrate.

Party preparations were behind, but in control, which is the usual state of my semi-organized chaotic life. Still, I found myself having to pull an almost all-nighter making the birthday cake the night before. Every time I make a birthday cake, there is some fiasco. Then, for the next party, I easily commit to buying a cake no matter what the cost, remembering the ridiculous labor that went into it the previous year. Then, forgetfully, I'll declare the following year that I am making the cake again because it needs to be special from mom. So far, this pattern has repeated itself for around 6 years now. I guess I will never learn. Around 3 a.m., I finished up this and was pleased with the results.

The next morning was filled with the usual bickering between me and my husband. This is also a pattern. My family does not visit often. They are small-town people and don't like "the big city" or where I live much. So, I unconsciously put an enormous amount of pressure on myself to make them comfortable and everything perfect. This inevitably ends in me gnashing my teeth and saying really nasty things to my husband, who is just trying to stay clear and help. The poor bloke.

I'd had the foresight to plan an activity for the children attending the party, who varied in age from two to fifteen. A simple little scavenger hunt involving Dora's favorite pals from the show, several cute clues hidden in plastic Easter eggs and ending with a piñata at the end for the kids to enjoy.

Witness Exhibit A: the festive piñata, before tragedy struck, dangles in all of its beauty. Dora, kneeling on her knees beaming at my daughter. A favorite friend of hers each morning on our television set, Miss Kitty was more than delighted to find this at the end of the hunt. I'm sure she was thinking, "OH, how pretty she looks hanging so high!" (Note: I only had time to shoot this quick shot from the side, so you cannot see Dora's innocent smiling face, but just trust me. She was quite exquisite.)
That is where the happy story ends. I should have known the evil that lurked in the hands of these seemingly harmless family members. The danger I was putting dear Dora in was right in front of my face and I did not see it...until it was too late.

My darling daughter took her little pull on the easy strings at the bottom, made for younger kids who can't yet swing at the pinata. Then, I felt a little trepidation when I saw the "stick" my husband had chosen for the children to use on the pinata was not a little dowel, but a very thick branch that my son had carved into a massive walking stick for father-son camping hikes. Surely this was not going to be necessary, was it?

Trying to go in an order of youngest to oldest, my son took his swings. But, then one of the older cousins jumped ahead of his younger sister. In one whack he ripped the body off dear Dora, leaving her decapitated head dangling by the string as we all gasped in shock.

My daughter's mouth dropped open in horror. A mammoth tantrum was building behind her teary eyes, much like a smoldering volcano about to spew hot lava. And, I sat there with mouth agape thinking, "Well, you've done it now. You've completely traumatized your daughter and ruined her for life." Then, the quick panic set in when you know your child is about to really let loose with a bad fit and you don't know how to stop it.

When, suddenly...
"tap, tap, tap"

The sound of something caught her attention and moved her gaze from Dora's dangling noggin' to the raining candy falling to the concrete below. In an odd bit of foreshadowing that I'd learn of only hours later (more on that next time), my daughter rushed to the candy unafraid of her much larger older cousins and sibling. She instantly knew she had to get her hands on the "kee" (candy) and she had to move quickly.

Once all the sweets were gathered, the younger children went inside to count their winnings and start the sugar fest. And, as a mother, I am very thankful for that. For, the carnage that went on after that was much too traumatic for young and innocent eyes.

Dora's head became the target of a fifteen-year-old's angst, and two fully grown adult male's idea of a new sport. Beaten and stomped upon, all that was left was her empty torso, a hollow reminder of the birthday innocence lost that day.

It was hard giving Dora's mother the news, but even harder breaking it to her sidekick Boots the Monkey. And, even worse, before we could recover the body, Swiper the Fox stole it away. Witness gave reports of seeing sneaky Swiper "having his way with poor Dora" in some dark alley later that evening.

Learn a lesson from our tragedy, my friends. Just say NO to piñatas. And, never, no never, let this happen to you...


Blogger LadyBugCrossing said...

LOL!!! This is sooo funny!!
So, when are you starting your daughter's therapy sessions?? You'll be hearing about this one for years and years!

5:29 AM, April 18, 2006  
Blogger Tyra said...

I've never done the pinata thing, though I know a 10yr old boy who would have all kinds of fun beating one to death.

7:30 AM, April 18, 2006  
Blogger FRIDAY'S CHILD said...

That must have been a horrible sight for her. Here we have children's party and piñatas too but they use clay pots to hit. Never have I seen a cartoon character being used yet or maybe there is but very very rare.

8:43 AM, April 18, 2006  
Anonymous Theresa said...

HA! I remember the Dora days! Did she recover? I've found that the minute the candy hits, all thoughts of the poor pinata disappears.

9:25 AM, April 18, 2006  
Blogger Suburban Turmoil said...

Oh no! Poor Dora. I think my baby would've had a fit, too. I found three Dora figurines at the dollar store and put them in her Easter basket- She has taken them everywhere ever since and even sleeps with them at night! Ditto the Dora bath doll and Boots from her birthday party!

Thank God for Dora though- It's the only show she'll sit and watch and that gives me a little time to myself!

Glad you're back!

9:42 AM, April 18, 2006  
Anonymous Angela said...

Ha!! Poor Dora... she seemed like such a nice little thing.

And perhaps this will make you feel good about all of your cake effort. My mother labored over creative birthday cakes every year for my sister and I, and I can honestly still remember each one and remember being so proud that my very own mama had made that bear/ballerina/christmas tree. They'll thank you for it one day!

2:24 PM, April 18, 2006  
Blogger DebbieDoesLife said...

I would have loved to have seen her face when the head came off. That is priceless!

2:38 PM, April 18, 2006  
Blogger Masked Mom said...

Dave Barry did a column about the sadistic nature of those character pinatas a few years ago. I think his daughter did one of the Disney Princesses or something. Glad everyone (but Dora) seems to have recovered.

4:25 PM, April 18, 2006  
Blogger "D" said...

ROFLMAO! Funny! Once my Chick had buckled her baby doll into the carseat with her and when my husband reached back to pull baby out (at Chicks request) the head popped right off the body leaving the head in hubby's hand and the body pressed tight to Chicks by the carseat straps... priceless!

6:04 PM, April 18, 2006  
Blogger daysgoby said...

Very funny!

9:36 PM, April 18, 2006  
Blogger Lisa said...

LMAO! That's a good way to shut that little know-it-all-in-two-languages up, huh?! Let's see if the Map can help her now, eh? LOL

(Oh..and I tagged you. It's my first. Please be kind and do it and still love me when you're through. Please.)

9:55 PM, April 18, 2006  
Blogger Viamarie said...

My grandson had a piñata ( a Rugrat character) also in one of his birthday parties and it fell on top of many small kids. Fortunately no one was injured. His parents scratched this from their list this year. Instead, they hired a bubble maker and all the kids enjoyed the big bubbles they created. It was big enough to put them in. They also did face painting. The kids chose the designs they wanted on their faces. You can try this for her 3rd birthday party.

7:35 AM, April 19, 2006  
Blogger Alison said...

I'm with you on the cakes... I don't really feel pressure to make them myself because my own mother never made a cake in her life, but for some reason I've spent countless hours doing so in the past few years, ALWAYS staying up until 2 or 3 am and ALWAYS spending way more than it would cost to buy a nice cake! Your cake looks fantastic, BTW!

Sorry about the piñata! (Oh, but don't worry about Swiper stealing the body. All he ever does is throw or hide stuff where it is easily found! Just find it before some poor child does.) But looking at the picture, isn't that a pull-string piñata? Most of the ones for littler kids have the ribbons on the bottom that you pull, and whoever chooses the right string is the one that opens the bottom of the piñata so everything falls out. I know some piñatas have ribbons that are not pull-strings, but the Dora ones I've seen are usually pull-string. We often use that kind because we are doing the parties in indoor places we can't have a regular piñata (or we have kids there who are too young to be trusted with a big stick!). My son had a pull-string space shuttle pinata at his party 2.5 years ago & he still has it hanging from his ceiling as a decoration. His birthday was shortly after the Columbia exploded and there was no way I could handle the thought of them smashing a space shuttle! Even the sight of the candy raining down from it was a little creepy....

The headless Dora reminds me a bit of a more amusing situation when we went to a party with one of those Barbie cakes where the cake is the dress. As soon as they started cutting the cake, everyone hooted to see the sight of Barbie's bare behind in the middle of the cake!

Oh, and happy birthday to your daughter! She is adorable!!

1:23 AM, April 20, 2006  
Blogger Crazy MomCat said...


Yeah, it's a pull-string one. But because only my daughter was a toddler at this party, I knew the only way I'd get participation was to use a stick. I didn't realize it was a pull-string when I bought it. And, the problem I found with this kind is it is not made to be beaten alive--hence the beheading. The candy was only in the body, not the head and both segments weren't open to one another. So, my niece had to take the torso and shake the candy out. ah, well, live and learn...that may be out last pinata anyway!

2:51 PM, April 20, 2006  
Blogger Barbara said...

Murder weapon - LOL

12:58 PM, April 23, 2006  

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