Birthday Brutality

Once upon a time, there was a little girl. This little girl was something of an odd duck. She was the type of girl who secretly enjoyed sick days simply because it alotted her hours to spend silently pouring over the dictionary. The incessant grumbles and groans from her rock tumbler occasionally drove her family to madness, resulting in its banishment to the garage. She enjoyed playing dolls with her little sister, but mainly because it allowed her to construct furniture and houses from an extensive number of carpet samples that had mysteriously been brought into their home. More often than not, she could be found hiding under a table playing paper dolls, or in the garden forcing the snapdragons to have lengthy conversations. She was odd, yes, but as she was also blissfully oblivious to the fact, it didn’t matter.

One year, on her birthday, she had a special request. Her heart was set on a pinata. Her very sweet mother agreed and allowed her to pick one out at the store. Perusing the selection, she soon settled on her favorite – a yellow and green non-specific dinosaur…or an anatomically incorrect alligator. The important part was that it had sharp (crepe paper) teeth and she was sure it was smiling at her.

Upon arriving home, her mother, trying to give her something to look forward to, casually mentioned that they would have to get some candy to put inside the pinata. The girl couldn’t imagine how this could possibly get better. First the perfect pinata and now they were going to get candy inside? But wait, how would they get the candy out? she inquired. Her mother looked confused and explained that of course it would be done by breaking the pinata. Aghast, the girl exclaimed that she didn’t want to break her pinata. When her mother asked her what exactly she did want to do with it, she simply replied with wide, desperate eyes, “Keep it.”

And keep it she did. For more than five years, that pseudo-dinosaur shaped pinata sat on her shelf. And, every now and then, she would pause momentarily to smile back at it.

Enough time passed that the girl outgrew the pinata and had decided to give it away (still unbroken) upon moving to a new house. In fact, so much time had passed that she was now a mother herself. She had her own little girl whose birthday was just days away. It had been so many years since she had given even the slightest thought to her almost-alligator friend. But when her oldest daughter gleefully asked for a pinata while shopping for party decorations, the memories flooded back.

“You really want a pinata for your birthday?” she asked her sweet, almost 5-year-old.
“Yes!” squealed the little mop of bouncing, golden locks.
“Now, you know pinatas get broken…” she cautioned her tender-hearted daughter, certain that her little girl would be equally as appalled by the thought as she once was.
“Yes!! We’ll smash it and get all of the candy!!”
“Oh.” She remained stunned for a moment, then smiled and replied, “Okay.”

Her daughter picked the classic colorful donkey pinata, and soon they were off to find the candy.


When, a few days later, it was finally time for the sacrifical beating of the poor four legged beast, she was still concerned that her pink, flowery little princess would have a change of heart. After checking several times with her birthday girl before giving the okay, she let the dainty two year old take the first swings. Tap, tap, tap.


Barely a crease in the paper. Phew, her daughter still looked happy about the ordeal.

“Okay, honey. Your turn!”

Her daughter took the stick and let out a low maniacal laugh. Thwack! Thwack, thwack!! She was surprised by the force from such tiny arms, but still no noteable damage.


Her older sons were now desperate for a turn. As they were boys and thus genetically accustomed to smashing things, she felt they may inflict unspeakable violence upon the pinata, potentially breaking her daughter’s heart to tiny pieces. So they were given a turn provided that they were blindfolded. Each of the boys, despite their disadvantage, got in a good hit. But the donkey made of cardboard and paper proved itself a force to be reckoned with.

As all of the eligible children had now been given a swing at the pinata, she was certain her daughter would now opt for a more humane removal of the donkey’s internal treats. After all, the poor thing’s only crime was containing sweet deliciousness. Instead, the situation took an astonishing turn. Her sweet, kitten-voiced daughter (who would admittedly hurt flies…many, many flies) assessed the current damage to the pinata, then methodically began beating it with directness and accuracy of a mob goon. Between the blows, she would hear, now in a lower, raspier voice, things like, “We’ve got to butcher this donkey,” or, “There’s still meat in there.”


At this point, she began to wonder if by  a “princess birthday party” her daughter had meant less Snow White and Cinderella and more Xena, Princess Warrior. Somehow, The Lord of the Flies was unfolding in her very living room. Her daughter continued the calculated butchering while the other three hooligans giggled uncontrollably and occasionally longed to be part of the massacre.

Caleb loves that she's dropping down to her knees here.

Even after the “meat” had been removed, her daughter gave the brutalized paper animal a few more carefully placed hits, just for good measure, then breathlessly authorized the tail removal, beheading and quartering of the carcass to be carried out by her elder brothers.

Umm...Maya, you got all the candy out. Maya? M-m-m-maya?!?

When the orders had been carried out, all four of the ruffians sat down to feast on their victory.

She was baffled. How could all of these crazed yahoos be her children? At five years old, she would have been an emotional wreck from witnessing such unnecessary human-on-pinata brutality. As she recounted the gory details of the event to her husband, a smirked spread across his face until he could no longer contain the delighted laughter within. Oh, that’s right. The kids take after their Daddy.