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We went from youngest to oldest. The first little girl was about four years old. She approached the piñata nervously, not sure what she was going to do, but after the first swing, I could only describe the look is her eyes as blood lust. She then started beating the hell out if it, and eventually we had to pull her back and give another girl a try. Each girl looked at the princess dangling there. They didn’t think about the fact that this looked like a real person; instead, they thought about candy and destruction.
One of the older girls, probably seven or so, managed to knock the princess’s head off. However, the candy didn’t come out, so I had to wrap a rope around her torso and string her up again. Suddenly we had a headless princess hanging in our yard with little girls screaming at it and beating it with a stick.
The whole event was not a shining moment for me as a father, and frankly it feels like something I’d like to put behind me.
At one point one my son Tristan grabbed the princess’s head and began beating it against the side of the house and laughing. I asked him why he would do that, and his response was, “I thought there was candy inside.”
“No,” I said. “There isn’t. The candy is in the…”I wanted to say headless princess, but stopped short, and simply demanded that he give me the severed head. When he refused, I had to wrestle it out of his hands.
Eventually a little girl managed to bash open the princess. The torso fell to the ground, spilling its insides. The children rushed at the candy, kicking the wounded and headless princess to the side. Due to the heat, the chocolate inside the piñata had begun to melt. Once the candy was all collected, I looked at the children circling the open headless princess, and noticed their hands and faces were covered in chocolate. They looked a lot like angry feasting animals with their paws and jaws covered in rich dark fluid.
It was terrifying.
But what scared me even worse was when I looked at the clock. The party was supposed to end at four, but it was only 3:40. This meant that we’d run out of activities, and still had a good 20 minutes before parents came to pick up their kids. And if these parents were anything like me, they surely would be late.
I mean, I love my kids. But I also savor the moments that I can spend alone with my wife, and being 10 or 15 minutes late to pick up the kids is excusable for most people, and it means 10 or 15 glorious minutes of just Mel and myself. I assume a lot of parents think this way. But usually showing up late to pick up your kids means leaving the caregiver with just one or two extra kids at the house. Not 9 extra kids full of blood lust and chocolate. Long story short, I knew that it would be a good half hour to 45 minutes before I got all these munchkins out of the house, and we had no more activities in our back pockets.
I looked at Mel, “What are we going to do?”
Mel looked at me with a little fear in her eyes, “I don’t know…”
I thought about letting them finish coloring the pictures they started at the beginning of the party, but soon realized that all the Crayons had melted in the sun. The girls were starting to wander into the house, which I didn’t want, so we let them into the yard and hoped that they didn’t destroy our garden.
Thinking back, I probably should’ve just started a game of tag, or perhaps red light/green light, but by this point I was good and tired and not thinking at my regular capacity. The girls ran around in the yard, eating chocolate.
Eventually parents began to arrive.
Once the party was over I started cleaning up. In my yard, I found candy wrappers, the severed head from a princess piñata, chewed gum, melted chocolate, cake frosting, a new colony of ants, the princess piñata torso, a scabby Disney Princess Band Aid, rocks, an ownerless shoe, popped balloons, melted candles, four tiaras, three Very Important Princess goody bags, and two boogers next to the stripped cake.
Once I got things cleaned up, and the party was over, I plopped down in the living room. Norah was playing with one of her new toys, and she climbed into my lap to show it to me. She was in a white dress that was spackled with chocolate, frosting, and crayon.
“That is really cute,” I said. “Did you have fun at your party?”
Norah looked at me with a big smile, and nodded her head, excitedly, and although she didn’t say anything, I knew that this was a good memory that she would hold onto for some time.
“Good,” I said. “I love you, little person.”
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Clint Edwards was blessed with a charming and spitfire wife, a video game obsessed little boy, and a snarky little girl in a Cinderella play dress. When Clint was 9-years-old his father left. With no example of fatherhood, he had to learn how to be a father and husband through trial and error. His work has been featured in Good Morning America, New York Times, The Washington Post, The Huffington Post, Scary Mommy, The Good Men Project, Fast Company, and elsewhere. He lives in Oregon. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter.
Photo by Lucinda Higley