Sunday, March 6, 2011


My baby girl turned 8 yesterday. In the time-honored tradition of parents everywhere, I have mixed feelings about another birthday. It's that whole bittersweet thing. As I've gotten older, birthdays have become quite the existential experience. Thoughts of the past fuse together with thoughts of the future to create a weird mental state. But enough of that.

The birthday festivities kicked off Friday. We took Quinn to get her ears pierced after school. We always tell Quinn she's "one tough cookie," and true to form, not a tear, not even a flinch. Her best friend had her ears pierced too, and it was pretty cool to see how excited they were. The earring thing is interesting. I would have let Quinn get her ears pierced earlier, but Meg had always said the girls should be 10. She changed her mind recently, and like the good husband I am, no questions were asked.

The girls enjoy coming up with themes for their parties, and in a testament to the power of marketing, Quinn went with a Rango theme this year. We did the movie of course, and then we did a lizard scavenger hunt in the backyard. I was Rango's deputy sheriff, and the girls had to check in with me when they found their lizards. I got to wear the sheriff's badge my buddy Matt bought me when we went to Tombstone that one time: Sheriff Tim. Probably enjoyed that more than a grown man should, but whatayagonnado.

Quick tangent to discuss Rango. I'm not sure who loved it more, the kids or the adults. It's a spot-on homage to Westerns, with a brilliant nod to Clint. In the beginning of the movie Rango talks about what makes an effective story. He uses words like protagonist and conflict, things I try to teach my students every year. I like to use movies to help kids understand the elements of fiction, and I'm sure we'll be watching Rango next year. Not only is Rango a possible teaching tool, I wouldn't be surprised if it's nominated for best movie. My man, Roger Ebert, gave it four stars, and I have to agree, it's that good. My only complaint is geographical. The Mojave Desrt of the movie has saguaro cactus prominently featured.  We take this a little personally down here in the Sonoran Desert. There are no saguaros in the Mojave Desert. Saguaros can only be found in the Sonoran Desert. Thank you very much.

Back to the party. Instead of cake, Quinn wanted a giant chocolate chip cookie with a frosted peace sign. After chocolate chip cookie and ice cream, we did the presents. Quinn lit up with each gift like it was the best present she'd ever received. She profusely thanked each friend and gave them a hug. I was really proud of how she handled herself. That was pretty much the party. Before each kid left, Quinn gave them a little cactus she picked out at a local nursery. It was a great party, great day. Still can't believe my little girl is 8.


  1. I love the name Quinn! It was on my list, but somehow, SOMEBODY ( husband) vetoed. That somebody is a little more traditional than me.

    Anyway, sounds like the celebration was very memorable! Happy Birthday to your precious daughter, and may she be blessed with at least a hundred more wonderful birthdays. :)

  2. As I'm sure you know, one definition for the name Quinn is Queen. I bet she sure felt like one.

  3. I love finding popular culture items that can be used in teaching. I haven't yet seen Rango, I am about 3-5 years behind my movie-viewing, but it sounds like one I should put in my Netflix queue soon.

    I told my daughter she has to be 12 before she can get her ears pierced. :) As for puppies and a phone and driving: they depend on "how responsible you show yourself to be."

  4. Squilla's AuntMarch 6, 2011 at 9:39 PM

    "Queen". I like that. She showed herself to be a gracious one, too - such a great quality to have.

    (AND she was appropriately wearing new bling - one of the best perks of royalty!)

  5. Squilla's AuntMarch 6, 2011 at 9:41 PM

    BTW - would love to hear all about the new laws that Sheriff Tim would enact as the new lawman in town. There's got to be some blog mileage in that badge....

  6. Anita: Thanks for the kind wishes.

    dbs: Oh yeah, she's always our little Queen.

    Yat-Yee: It's interesting to see the wide range of ages for earrings. The phone will be the next crossroads. Not sure about that one.

    Anne: Thanks for stopping by the blog Anne. You're right, gratitude is a beautiful thing, especially when your kid busts it out unprompted.

    Squilla: Sheriff Tim only shows up for very rare occasions. Children's birthday parties, and maybe after a healthy number of Jager shots.

  7. Glad she had a good birthday. My daughter Maria turned 8 on Feb. 28th..never realized their birthdays were so close.
    Maria can't have her ears pierced until she's twelve..I think. It's my wife's thing and I support it. But she does have a cell phone. It stays at home and she uses it strictly for listening to music on Verizon Vcast. She can send us some texts and call us when we are out running errands, but that's it. It never leaves the house.
    Sheriff Tim...reminds me of Steve Martin in Parenthood riding off on the horse and getting tossed off!

  8. Happy Birthday to Quinn. I would prefer the cookie to the cake too and the cactus as a parting gift rather than a gift bag full of candy...awesome idea!

  9. Happy belated birthday to Ms. Quinn. Sounds like it was the perfect party. Most every little girl wants her ears pierced, and having that done on a birthday makes it even more memorable. My daughter had her ears pierced on her tenth birthday, and then we went out to dinner. It was magical -like she instantly matured that evening. I agree - existential experience, indeed - these mile markers make a parent take stock of their life, and note of all the remarkable moments. Cheers!

  10. 4 is coming up fast here and I bet 8 seems like it came out of nowhere too.

    Happy 8th to Q

  11. As you know, here at the Smith house, Quinn is a treasure! What I love most about Quinn is that she really stays true to who she is...she is creative, funny, generous and a wonderful friend...Catherine is so lucky to have her in her life!