Sunday, April 6, 2008

A Brief Break, and a Birthday Party

Sometimes we need a break. But there is simply too much to write about, think about, and act on these days in the autism community. But first, I need a one-night break.
This post will, therefore, be a break from suspicious subpeonas, from mercury moms, from jabbering Jennies, from suspect science, from suggested segregation. It will not discuss important autistic issues such as residency options, community acceptance, communication assistance, or health insurance coverage. It will avoid causation controversies, blathering bloggers, and annoying antagonists. You will notice the almost complete absence of parental perception, friendly factoids, and buddy bias. In fact, you will be acutely aware of the almost all-inclusive absence of any and all autism assignations, both abstract and actual. All these things will be put on hold.

And instead, I'll just tell you about a birthday party.
No, seriously. I took J and T to the most interesting birthday party today. I carefully chose the word interesting, largely because many other adjectives simply do not apply in this case.

A few weeks ago, the invitation came in the mail. Pretty standard stuff for a 4-year old boy's birthday - an imposing Transformer commanding you to attend a party. We RSVP'd, and the family lottery determined that I go to this party with J and T, while my wife spent quality 1 on 1 time with baby C. (Family lotteries are great in that, hey, nobody can lose! Either spend a lively day with 'the boys' or a quiet day with 'the baby'. Automatic win-win.)
Noon rolled around today and we left for the party. As we approached the area, I realized that we were entering interesting territory. Very expensive homes set on several acres each make up this neighborhood, which is absolutely beautiful. We found the house we were looking for and went in.
It was a lovely home. Furniture was oversized, almost Baroque but lacking its ornate pretense, with big cushions and large pedestal-like footings. The flooring was dark hardwood, the interior rooms were separated by brick walls. The peaked ceilings featured dark wood beams and casing. It was austere and yet inviting, very nicely done. How very old-world, I thought to myself. And then I met the parents of the birthday boy who were Italian. Not Italian-American, but Italian born and raised. It turns out they are restaurateurs and own a couple of really good eateries in our area. Which leads me to the most interesting part of the party - the food.

Now keep in mind, as I list the 'finger food' portion of the offerings, that this is a birthday party for a young boy turning four. Also note that I will create contrast by listing the Common birthday party fare alongside the Actual party fare offered today.

Common / Actual
Tortilla Chips and Salsa / Pita Toasts and Ceviche
Cheese and Crackers / A full wheel of Parmagianno-Reggiano with cracked pepper wafers
Potato Chips / Deep-fried potato puffs with chorizo and chile stuffing
Ice Water / Vitamin Water, chilled, over ice
Pigs in a Blanket / Tart Cherry and Ground beef in Phyllo pastries
M&M's / Cinnamon and Stewed Apple Empanadas
Hot Dogs / Hot Dogs

Get the picture? Or, keeping in the vernacular, capeesh?
While not uncommon for an adult beverage such as a can of light beer to be offered to the parents who stay through these kids' parties, it is decidedly uncommon to be able to choose between a very nice Malbec from Argentina or an ice cold Stella Artois on tap.
(Note to self: Next year, at this kid's party, bring wife to be designated driver).
So they had an inflatable bounce-house and a swingset which kept the kids entertained. Then there was a fabulous puppet show - superbly done and replete with original music, konfetti cannons, smoke effects, and great kid humor. Very impressive stuff.
The cake. This was a marvel, something one might see on Ace of Cakes. This particular opus was an eclectic mix of Spiderman, Transformers, and Cars (the Movie). It was done in two layers. The top layer was chocolate with strawberry striations. The way they served it was to pool some creamy strawberry sauce on a plate, lay the cake slice on it, then smother it with more strawberry cream. While the kids were enjoying that, they served the adults the bottom layer. This was vanilla with vanilla cream striations, covered in stewed strawberry halves. This would have been great, except I really had my heart set on a particular Spiderman decoration that ended up going to the lady served right before me. I had to settle for sucking the frosting off a Lightning McQueen figurine. Damn!
All in all, a good time was had by all. I am really looking forward to next year!


kristina said...

Too much fun! And cake----next time, hope you get the Spiderman decoration.....

Another Autism Mom said...

I think you meant "capisci"? :)

It's funny that you mentioned the puppet show - I was thinking about hiring one for my son's birthday party, as long as it's not too expensive.

Niksmom said...

Wow, they sure set the bar high for the other kids' families! Sounds like it *was* interesting though...and yummy!