Thank G-d for mother in laws.
There is no punch line (though if you have one, I'd love to hear it).
My poor boys get called girls all the time. It's the hair. There is an ancient Jewish custom (as most are. Besides gefilta fish and Manischevitz.) that we let a boy's hair grow until he turns three. At which stage we have a little shindig (called an Upshernish or Upshern) where we cut his hair; he starts wearing "the garb" (kippah, and tzitzis (those fringe thingies); officially start teaching him Torah, and the ins and outs (and ups and downs) of Judaism; and we start enforcing (to a degree) the Mitzvos (commandments).
Mendel was turning three but we weren't planning on having a party. While it would have been nice, it would just have been an added stress on our time and budget. And for all these Jewish stuff we always prefer small affair + good vibes, over large affair + stress/bad vibes.
In steps my mother in law (actually, I think she called). Knowing that Zevi did have a nice party, she didn't want Mendel to be left out, so she offered to pretty much arrange the whole thing herself (with the help of her family).
Food, decorations, preparations, setting up (well, I helped a bit with the setting up part).
(I remember thinking then how hot it was (high 70's with a nice breeze). Ha! Flash forward two months and Florida has officially moved in with us.)
Yeah, she rocks.
As it turned out his birthday was on a Friday, and Fridays just aren't good party days (unless,, of course, you don't want guests, which was the original plan). So we went to the store sometime that week and picked out some kippahs (none of which Estee approved of) and a few pair of tzitzis. On Friday we had a small haircuttage ceremony at home (i.e. we all cut a bit). And on Sunday we had the main event, where we all shmoozed, ate, cut the little dude's hair, gave tours of our garden, I even said a short speech, and good times were had by all. After which Estee chopped off the rest of his hair (except of course his peyos (sidelocks. Which is one of the major aspects of the Upshernish in the first place. To teach the mini-dude about not chopping off the peyos).
I thank G-d almost every day for our backyard. And for Estee's bread. But that's another story.
Here's how it all went down:
Interested in having me document your Upshernish/party/shindig? Send me an email and we'll talk details