Kind of Leaning in?: My Good-enough Martha Stewarting for LL & Cool J’s Awesome Ninjago Party

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The other evening at a GNO, I said I’ve been hesitating to read Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In because I’m afraid it will just confirm my suspicion: I lack ambition. If I really wanted to writes piles of dense scholarship, wouldn’t I? If I really wanted a tenure-track job, wouldn’t I apply to every single one that came on the market? But then I brightened: “Oh, but I can’t say I’m not ambitious at all. Let me tell you about this Ninjago party I’m planning–”

The women shook their heads. “That’s not the kind of ambition Sandberg’s talking about,” said my friend, Sulochana, a Martha-Stewart type who sews complicated costumes and just baked her daughter this fantastic cake last week:

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I call this a cake, but as each layer has to be prepared and baked separately, it’s more like 6 cakes

Sulochana’s domestic diva-ness is an aside. She is actually an assistant professor who is writing a book that will change the way scholars understand poetry. We might all agree she has the kind of ambition Sandberg has in mind. She’s good.

As for me, I lack both her homemaker skills and career path, and I lack the drive for both. I am not “good.” I am “good enough.” Good enough cooking and baking, good enough career, good enough parenting.

I still think, however, the Ninjago party planning showed a spark of ambition. Inspired by Craft, Interrupted (The Scientist sent me this site featuring supercrafty moms as we began our planning, as well as another one that showed a mom refurnishing her entire house to fit the Asian theme. Now that’s “good”!), I decided we could do a version of it, too. Here’s how it all went down:

The 24 kids were divided into 4 teams of 6–Jay, Zane, Kai, and Cole (Lloyd was so coveted, I had to exclude it for fairness). Each kid got a pin to wear on his shirt:

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All the eyes are a little creepy, no?

Two teams went to the park with The Scientist for Ninja star throwing, the “Serpentine” obstacle course, and Lord Garmadon’s Relay race. The Ninja stars were a pain in the ass to make  so I delegated that role:

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Ever been to a carpet factory in Egypt? Our house was something like that . . .

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, my MIL had the kids decorating their “Bonezai boxes” with their Ninja names–using crayons in the shape of minifigs–while I ran the photo booth:

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The Ninja name of Poor Princess is . . .

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Testing . . . testing . . . Does this thing work?

Then we went to the backyard for Ninja training–

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24 kids + one non-industrial bounce house = complete chaos

before the final mission: attacking the head of Sensei Wu:

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Sensei Wu is full of crap — sweet, sugary crap!

And that was that. Well, almost. There was also an ice cream cake–

Ninjago cake

And, it being 2013, I also made a gluten free one–

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And that was that. A good-enough party by a good-enough mom (and dad and Bubby and Zaidy) for good-enough kids.

But who am I kidding? It was pretty awesome! (at least I thought so!)

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2 responses »

  1. Your party planning shows up what a total slacker I am on the mom front, alas. Nor have I written a book that changes the shape of how anyone views anything. Just chugging along….

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