Everyone knows the big preschool birthday here is three featuring a huge party because Mary had a big celebration when she turned 3. That was when her parents took Mary to temple and turned her life over to God, so local parents do much the same with a mass before the party.
A caveat to turning three is the child must be baptized first. Up North babies are normally baptized their first Sunday home from the hospital. No parents want their baby to die unbaptized and end up in baby Limbo, which sounds like a fun party game but apparently isn’t.
Mexicans aren’t great at deadlines and often forget about a baptism until the third birthday approaches. Hence why baptisms here feature “babies” that can walk, talk and chew.
Turning three features gals in Disney princess dresses and the lads often dressed as Juan Diego complete with a cape featuring Guadalupe. Parties feature clowns and on occasion, they aren’t as creepy as clowns tend to be.
This weekend I was invited to a fifth birthday party. At first, I thought, he’s already turned three so why bother? But I learned turning five can be fun.
The entire party had a dinosaur theme. All the t-rexes and their tiny arms reminded me of when my kids’ Mom would fly with the family she’d drug herself into oblivion. Then spend the flight under a blanket with her elbows bent and fingers over the edge of the blanket like a T-rex’s front arms. Plus she snored like a dinosaur so the kids called their Mom, when in the air, T-rex Mom.
The birthday boy thinks dinosaurs are cool but a live chicken also had a certain cachet. So Uncle Ernesto brought one from outside of San Miguel in a custom cardboard travel box for chickens. It reminded when I had a cat and he had a similar box from the vet that said “Thank you I am feeling much better.” The chicken’s box said nothing but letting you know a chicken was inside regardless of how much better she felt.
And she felt none too pleased later in the day when the confetti filled eggs filled the air. She didn’t enjoy such a blatant waste of eggs but did rather like (by keeping quiet) every time a cumbia song played.
The confetti eggs that are normally featured in the jardin to mark the start of Lent brought the party to life! Forget about the kids, it was the adult siblings that went after each other with a vengeance. Siblings are the same all our lives and giving them weapons is just asking for problems.
The party featured tacos, recurring thunderstorms and power outages all adding excitement to the ability to dance cumbias between downpours.
My date for the party was an 18 month old blissfully unaware her status as family baby is about to be upended by the arrival of her brother. At first she’d have nothing to do with me but then I introduced her to sunglasses and spent the better part of the day teaching her how to blow kisses. Once she could she couldn’t stop but someone else can teach her restraint.
The party featured fake tattoos which my little pals were fascinated to place on me not grasping that my hairy arms turn my dragon tattoos into red and black smudges. So instead of being pirate like cool I just appear to be a zombie with open sores.
When leaving the chicken was none too pleased to realize she wasn’t riding back to the countryside around San Miguel with us and clucked her discontent at her future as an urban bird, or a crispy Pollo Feliz sandwich.
Joseph Toone is the Historical Society’s short-story award winning author of the SMA Secrets book series. All books in the series are Amazon bestsellers in Mexican Travel and Holidays. Toone is SMA’s expert and TripAdvisor’s top ranked historical tour guide telling the stories behind what we do in today’s SMA. Visit HistoryAndCultureWalkin