When I asked my 3 year old daughter about a month before her birthday how she wanted to celebrate, she didn’t hesitate, “A Guitar Party!” I love kids’ brains. This one was easy. We guitarred out for a few weeks in our playroom putting all toy guitars into focus. Too bad we weren’t ready for Guitar Hero. I made sure little 1 year old brother knew the letter G. The girls and I made G lists, and circled the ones that also had 2 syllables, like guitar. We made lists of instruments. We made up our own instruments. We designed paper guitars. We looked at other string instruments. We listened to a lot of Laurie Berkner and rock-n-roll! I pulled as many music related books as I could find from the library to focus on.
I have to stop for a shout out. These books were Ava’s birthday presents to kick off the party. I love these books and author, Jarrett J Krosoczka. The next week at the library we brought home every book he had written and called it an Author’s Study. He’s written plenty more since this party and I’m going to put those on hold right now as I write…8 new books we haven’t read of his…and I have written ZERO since the guitar party, well ever. Insert sigh. When I get these new books, we’ll start by rereading the Punk Farms and looking at the guitar party pics, then we’ll dive in to Mr. Krosoczka’s new books. We won’t talk about how Mommy has yet to publish.
We sent the guitar invitations above to 4 neighbor girls to rock out with us, but I found out that day I had strep. We kindly uninvited them to the Strep Guitar Party. It was actually a blessing, a nice life lesson of an intimate party. We had our friends over to jam later in the week, pick up their ukelele party favor, and without the self-imposed stress of it being an official birthday party, it was a really high octane playdate.
I took an old shirt and added a cool, pink guitar iron-on. This was her first present of the day, after our usual sticky, syrupy breakfast. Handy Hubby brought in some scrap wood and made a mini-stage for us, which we still use. After we read the Punk Farm books and put on Hootie and the Blowfish, we let her open the final gift. The gift that kept on giving all evening…and broke within a week. A toy electric guitar and microphone stand!
We spent the next 2 hours performing. We lip-synched. We sang. We danced. We did duets. We did solos. We did group numbers. We bit off the heads of bats (kidding). Even my beautiful and often shy mom jammed out…which she would not have done had anyone else been there. Same goes for the birthday girl. I had an “ah-ha” moment I will never forget watching Ava perform. I’m quite certain she would not have done it with 4 of her little friends over. She becomes the smiling observer. On this day, she truly was the rock star.
The fake version: My husband and I composed the story of Ava’s life into a ballad and performed it through tears and quivering voices. We youtubed it and ended up on the Ellen show and now perform for parties and schools.
The real version: My husband and I don’t know a single chord. We bought these guitars right before kids. Enough said. This was the most off key version of Happy Birthday you’ll ever hear in your life. But, the kids thought we were rock stars, and that’s all that matters…well, I think our oldest daughter was on to us.