We’d like to thank all the blurry people

By Mir
May 8, 2006

So! The party, as I mentioned, was a complete success. A good time was had by all, as long as we’re not counting Monkey. Monkey had a good time unless he didn’t “get” what was being taught (40% of the time) or was “out” at a game being played (30% of the time) or he was remembering that in fact, he hasn’t even HAD his birthday party yet, and his birthday was ALL THE WAY BACK IN JANUARY MANY MOONS AGO (29% of the time).

But, if you were not Monkey, and you were hanging out at the Tae Kwon Do studio with us, you were having a blast. There is something charming and ridiculous and breathtaking about watching a roomful of girls learn how to kick and block and BE LOUD. Already, at 8, you can see that many of them are loathe to assert themselves. By the end of the class, we couldn’t shut them up. It was a thing of beauty.

You may wonder what actually happens at a Tae Kwon Do party, but WONDER NO MORE. I’m here to enlighten you.

First, the girls had a very basic warm-up and a bit of an introduction to Tae Kwon Do. From there they moved right on to talking about bullies and kidnappers. Just like every other birthday party. Then the Master had Chickadee help him demonstrate a beginning hold and how to free yourself. Except that the Master was teaching that part of the move is to YELL, you know, LOUDLY, “You’re not my dad!” or something similar as you break the grip, because part of what you’re trying to do is draw attention to the situation and attract help.

Chickadee was executing the physical part just fine–she’s done it before–but the pressure of performing in front of her class turned her into a whispering pansy. “You’re not my dad” she would mutter, while freeing herself. I felt my inner feminist cringe, and tried to resist the urge to be THAT PARENT, the one who gives the kid a hard time for not being STRONG! I may have chewed a hole through my lip. Or heckled her and said she was fighting like a girl. It’s hazy.

The girls paired off to practice their moves, and I watched as the room filled with an impenetrable fog of strawberry-scented estrogen. Strong self-defense shouts gave way to tittering and shrieking, and practiced moves were abandoned in favor of tickling. So if you’re looking for a girl to kidnap, I highly recommend one from Chickadee’s class, because none of them is going to remember how to get away… but just be aware that they can shatter glass with their giggles.

Next, it was on to games. Samurai Says! Stop and Go! Ninja Ninja Turtle! (That’s Duck Duck Goose, but it’s WAY MORE FUN that way, you know.) Some game that ought to be called The Master Has The Patience (Not To Mention The Abdominals) Of A Saint, which involves him laying in the center of the circle of girls and twirling a jump rope faster and faster for them to jump over. I’m not really sure what the point of it was, but judging by their shrieks of glee, the girls enjoyed it. Plus it made for some great flying-pigtail action shots.

After some games, it was time for my favorite part of the day. Board breaking! Everyone got to break a board. You may recall that it was board-breaking that started it all for Chickadee, nearly a year ago. There is no better way to hook a child on martial arts than to show her that she’s strong enough to break stuff and that it’s even encouraged. Even the most timid girls in the group were coaxed into splitting a board and taking it home to show off. We all whooped and hollered each time a board clattered to the ground, and I couldn’t have been more proud of every child there.

Of course, I may have had just a wee bit of favoritism for one particular child’s unique form. (Wax on, wax off!)

After they’d worked up a powerful hunger, it was time for pizza, and then (of course), CAKE. (Nothing says “Happy Birthday” like two people kicking each other in the face. Have a special day, honey. Be careful with your teeth!) The Master brought out his Samurai sword and he helped Chickadee cut the first slice with it.

I have to say, while I was watching this ritual, at the party, I was loving it. The kids were all so impressed, Chickadee was thrilled to be allowed to use the sword, and the Master is a fabulous teacher who is amazing with kids. Afterwards, though, when I was looking at my pictures, some of my warm fuzzy feelings sort of fell under the shadow of cynicism. I dunno; maybe I’m being dumb. Have a look at the cake cutting. Awesome, right? Cutting a cake! With a sword! Or, um, maybe I perhaps looked at that picture and in my mind’s eye a thought balloon appeared over the Master that said something like “Hey leetle girl, come here and let me wrap my arms around you while you hold on to my big sword!”

(Oh, right. Like I was the only one who thought that. Stop looking at me.)

ANYWAY. Other than the fact that none of the people at the party had faces, we had a great time. I just wish we’d been allowed to keep the sword. If I don’t mow the yard soon, I’ll need it to cut a path to the swingset.


  1. Susan

    That cake is the BEST. And yes, I too thought the sword picture was . . . well, yes. I’m with you.

    But the IDEA of cutting the cake with a sword was really cool!

  2. Patricia

    And I was thinking the cake photo looked an awful lot like Chickadee’s future wedding photo — when she marries the Military Officer. So which thought keeps you up less at night, huh?

  3. buffi

    It looks like the perfect party!

    Now, is it just me, or is Chickadee really tall? Or is the instructor guy really short?

    She looks great! Except for that skin condition. You should have that checked out.

  4. Cele

    I’m with Patricia on the cake cutting. But it sounds as if you were at the party and it was 1% of the time even Monkey had a good time.

  5. elswhere

    Oh, man, I want a cake like that for my birthday! That sounds like a fabulous party.

  6. elswhere

    Oh, man, I want a cake like that for my birthday! That sounds like a fabulous party.

  7. Sheryl

    Yay for happy birthdays! BTW Chickadee looks tall in that pic with her teacher!

  8. diane

    I promise you, when Chickadee is 30 she will realize you are the COOLEST MOM EVER.

  9. Melanie Lynne Hauser

    Now, here’s how sick I am. All I can wonder is, where they all barefoot? Because I just had a flashback to when my son was about 7, and took Karate, and the entire class was barefoot – and their little kids’ feet STANK!!! And that’s my main memory of Karate.

  10. Snow

    Looks like it was fabulously successful, Mir. You are indeed a very cool mom, and Chickadee is a lucky girl, even though she has no earthly clue what a great mom you are yet.

  11. Aimee

    Sounds like a great party! Anything that makes little girls know that they have voices, and may use them, is all right in my book. Good on ya, Mir.

  12. Beverlee

    I hear you. What do we do when we’re in one of those moments like that. You’re there, you’re watching – feeling weird but not quite sure why …

  13. Kris

    That cake is awesome (even with the little stink clouds around the feet. LOL!) and Master was CHEATING!! You HOLD the boards for the kids. Half the fun of board breaking is trying to avoid bashing Master’s hands while splitting your board. (Or if you’re evil like some little kids, actually AIMING for the fingers. Bwa ha haaaa).

    What belt is she now? (My screen color is going, but it looked like Green to me.) Time’s flying!

    My Kasha has two more tests until black belt and it’s been the most fun we’ve ever had. I mean really, you get to scream, hit people, break stuff and be respectful all at the same time. And along the way you get a few medals and trophies if you’re lucky.

    Life couldn’t be better for an 8 year old.

    Happy belated to the ‘Dee.

  14. Irony Queen

    “Wedding cake” was my first thought, too. Guess I’m not paranoid enough =) But, I am “of that age” where all of my vacation plans center around who’s getting married where.

  15. ben

    It’s Samurai Birthday Party!

    (now, before your readers come over and break my boards, I KNOW that Samurais did not practice TaeKwonDo, but John Belushi never had a funny series of taekwondo skits and this is all I could think of. – he was always cutting stuff up with his sword. Shut. up.)

  16. Bob

    생일축하합니다 Chickadee!.

  17. Bob

    I got so caught up in looking it up that I forgot to tell you what it meant. It is Korean for Happy Birthday.

  18. Jenn2

    Yes, you are the COOLEST mom ever!

    Isn’t it a shame that, as mothers of daughters, we view everything through a lens of potential ickiness? I hate that the world has made it necessary.

    Chickie…you ROCK!
    Monkey…you do TOO!

    Gonna go break a board now. Hi YAH!

  19. InterstellarLass

    I wish a guy with a samuri sword would come wrap his arms around me and cut my birthday cake. My hubs would be really pissed of course, but then there’d be a fight. And what birthday party is complete without a fight? Party on!

  20. Contrary

    I’m as paranoid as the next Mommy, but the fact this arms are over her shoulders speaks volumes to me. I would be worried if his arms had gone around her instead.

    I’m thinking ‘nice guy’, not creepy a**hole.

    Of course, if you think for a moment that he has the creepy guy gene, take her out and sign her up with a female teacher.

  21. Chag

    Wow. That had to be the coolest birthday party ever. I think I’m going to ask for one of those next year.

    And you need to sell the Tae Kwon Do place your line “There is no better way to hook a child on martial arts than to show her that she’s strong enough to break stuff and that it’s even encouraged.” They need to put that in their promotional materials.

  22. the Mater

    Now that’s the spirit! So refreshing to know that there’s an alternative to Barbie Princesses and the girls are learning something empowering. You are one innovative momma :>)

  23. Juliet

    My daughter’s birthday was in January, too, and she hasn’t had a party yet. My feeling is this: who does the 2nd birthday party serve? The parents are exhausted from raising a 2-year-old, the kid has no idea anything has changed (because it hasn’t), and if there are no other siblings, no one’s the wiser. Anyway, good to know I’ll still be able to get away with this when she’s six!

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