Celebrating Piper’s Birthday with Our Chinese Family

Improvised birthday decorations, all ready for guests.

Improvised birthday decorations, all ready for guests.

For Piper’s birthday, we invited our closest Chinese friends to come and celebrate with us. I wish I didn’t dread entertaining so much! I hate getting the house clean and trying to keep it that way while I prepare the food. It means that my children watch a lot of TV, and I get very snappish and irritable (or at least, more so than usual). I thought at first that I would make Chinese-ish food, but quickly realized that that would probably be a big mistake, and then I just did what I’d do if I was in the US, and made cold finger foods (so I wouldn’t have to cook while my guests were there or meet a deadline with my 2 burners). We had 2 kinds of pasta salad, tuna sandwiches, chicken salad sandwiches (they are big fans of both of those sandwiches), chips, fruit salad (including dragon fruit, which of course, wouldn’t happen in America), and deviled eggs. They also really liked the peanut butter oatmeal raisin cookies, but every single person took their buttercream frosting off their chocolate cupcakes before eating them. Chinese people DO NOT like rich American desserts. In the end, I really can make peace with the fact that they may not have liked the food, because they probably chalk it up to Americans having weird taste, and I think all that really matters is that I invited them, which lets them know important they are to us. I never could be quite so philosophical about having company in the States.

I had the foresight to have the party after dark, so the sun wouldn't show how dirty the floor becomes almost immediately after I wash it.

I had the foresight to have the party after dark, so the sun wouldn’t show how dirty the floor becomes almost immediately after I wash it.

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I mentally prepared myself for the fact that they would show up with uninvited guests and early, and I was right on both counts! I was ready two hours early because of that second possibility (I hate being caught off guard and not ready), and our two neighbor girls showed up an hour before the party started. Nai Nai came with her friend, the Nai Nai who bites butts (as my children call her), and a man I’d never seen before who took a lot of pictures and videos, and Zhao came with her sister. Nai Nai gave Piper a real Barbie (surprise!), and Zhao’s sister made Piper a dress that is a bit big and makes her look like a polygamist, but such a sweet thought.  Zhao gave her a beautiful Chinese doll in traditional dress that won’t be coming out of the box anytime soon, and she got lots of gifts from Sunny and Angel and Echo. Best of all, she loved her dollhouse. Of course, most days, the Barbies have had to move over due to an invasion of dinosaurs or giant mice, but she’s happy.

Our first guest, Tao Rui, proud of the pizza she made herself.

Our first guest, Tao Rui, proud of the pizza she made herself.

Angel's mom, Tao Rui's little sister, Piper, Teddy and Angel, with the ever-present iPad.

Angel’s mom, Tao Rui’s little sister, Piper, Teddy and Angel, with the ever-present iPad.

Zhao and Nai Nai with some food in their mouths. They kept wanting their picture taken in front of the "Happy Birthday."

Zhao and Nai Nai with some food in their mouths. They kept wanting their picture taken in front of the “Happy Birthday.”

Zhao's sister, Nai Nai, Zhao, and the other Nai Nai (Nai Nai's friend)

Zhao’s sister, Nai Nai, Zhao, and the other Nai Nai (Nai Nai’s friend)

Time for cake!

Time for cake!

Echo and Sunny

Echo and Sunny

Playing with Piper's new toys.

Playing with Piper’s new toys.

Sunny's mom and dad.

Sunny’s mom and dad.

After the party, our neighbor came by to give Piper the sweater and hat she'd knitted for her. We love her! Piper was insane with too much birthday by this point, though.

After the party, our neighbor came by to give Piper the sweater and hat she’d knitted for her. We love her! Piper was insane with too much birthday by this point, though. Piper’s

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