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Sunday, December 14, 2008

When I think of teddy bear teas, I think...


Or as Nap Warden nailed it with the final comment on the word association post

"...ummmm, absolutely, nothing."

Well, these were my thoughts before the actual teddy bear tea I attended this past week.

Before further explanation let me first say thanks to all you brave souls who participated in my impromptu therapy session regarding teddy bear teas.  When I posted that day, I was still processing what had occurred in my life.  Many of you seem to have a real handle on what teddy bear teas are all about, but up until this past Wednesday, I did not.  And it's taken me a few days to have it all sink in a bit.

Before this past week, I can honestly say I had never once in my life, even for a second, took the time to recognize that teddy bear teas even existed. When my girls and I were invited to a real official teddy bear tea, I googled teddy bear tea and was literally blown away by the sheer volume of teddy bear tea information.

(I am now realizing that teddy bear tea is quite labor intensive to type, so from now on I will mainly refer to teddy bear tea as TBT.)

So to say I went in a bit naive to the TBT would be an understatement. I'm simply not the TBT type. If there is one. Let's just say I don't do frills very well. If it all. I mean, I am more of a jeans, flip-flops, hair in a pony-tail, barely an ounce of make-up kind of chick.

And I've only eaten a scone like a handful of times in my life. I find them generally too dry and well, just kinda scone-ish. The closest I get to scones is muffins. Or a croissant. Are muffins and croissants even close to scones? Some of you might be horrified that I'm putting scones in the same class as muffins. Hmmmm.....

And well, tea? I drank A LOT of tea when I lived in Poland for a year teaching English because well, the Poles drink a lot of herbata (tea). And it was so friggin' cold, I had to drink tea just so I wouldn't become my own ice sculpture. But it was basic Polish tea, nothing fancy or frilly or TBT-ish. And here in LA, I don't find a lot of occasion to sip tea. I just don't. It's cool and's just not a part of my general scene.

So on to the TBT...

My step-MIL made the plans. You see, my in-laws belong to a rather exclusive beachy club here on the West Coast of Los Angeles and this clubby club hold all kinds of fantastic clubby club type events. Seeing that I grew up as the very definition of middle-class (and at times struggling middle-class) this kind of snazzy lifestyle is very out of my area of expertise. And before I had kids, this kind of lifestyle would have been very out of my comfort zone. I have found kids to be the great equalizer. I mean, we're all mamas. We can hang together frills or no-frills.

So when my step-MIL told me that the attire should be festive and that the club has a no jeans rule (and to me jeans are festive), I was a little stumped. But I threw on my cool grey Anthropologie cargo-y pants, a festive orangy (my fave color and yes, I know it should have been red) top, and my recently purchased boutique-y (on sale boutique-y) cashmere grey poncho, I felt well....festive. Orange and grey - uhhh.....yeah...well.....sure. Festive.

CR and The Love Fairy were dressed to the nines...well, their nines. And when we arrived, I realized that compared to what the other little girls were wearing, well my kids were dressed to the uhhhh....let's say twos. And that's not to say, I don't like twos. I love twos. 

Actually it's a bit of a peeve of mine to see little girls being dressed up in ridiculously expensive Barbie-type gowns that usually are reserved for events like....weddings. I actually witnessed a little girl around 8 years old stressing out when she got some blue frosting on her uh, gown, during the cookie decorating portion of the tea.  She said something along the lines of "Oh my gosh, my mother is gonna kill me.  She said not to get anything on this dress!" 

The dresses of the little girls were insane.  I wanted to take pics of some of them but I just felt so weird because truly I was the only mama snapping photos.  It may have emphasized my "I'm not really one of you" vibe but I didn't care.  As I said earlier, I'm cool with all that.  

And the frocks of the little ladies were only outdone by the LA get-ups of the moms.  I have no words to accurately explain how these mommies looked at 4 PM on a Wednesday afternoon. A lot of tight black items, pencil type skirts, fitted blouses, many with leggings and high-heeled spikey boots,  form-fitting dresses from chic boutiques, scarves, sparkly dangly jewelry, hair looking like it was freshly blown and styled, plenty o' make-up and tight bods thanks to tons of Pilates, yoga, and probably Zumba. (that was for you Julia.)  

I actually overheard a trio of women chatting about their personal trainers.  El Destructo is currently my personal trainer and although he makes me run around a lot, my ass is not as firm as I would like it to be. I may fire him.
No expense was spared at this ritzy TBT.  Waiters and waitresses in tight white uniforms standing at attention attempting to satisfy the every whim of little girls and wealthy women.

The menu included cucumber and asparagus and cream cheese tea sandwiches, PB & J's, grilled cheese, cookies, cakes, candies, wine, fresh fruit, every kind of tea imaginable (to me anyway) and tiers and tiers of scones, scones,

The scene was straight out of a movie.  A sky-high glittering Christmas tree -

White round tables with reserved name cards - 

Fluffy cuddly bears for each and every girl -

Cookie decorating and arts and crafts -

A marionette performance,

and to top it all off, a real live gigantic teddy bear to scare the crap out of CR and The Love Fairy.

For the brave children, Mr. Teddy was there so they could climb on his lap while a professional photographer snapped some adorable shots.  The cutest pose was then put in a little frame with gold engraving reading "TBT 2008" or something along those lines.  A little souvenir from this little slice of heaven.  But as I said my girls wouldn't go near the teddy bear freak who kept waving at them from afar and gesturing for them to come near.

My girls haven't slept that well the past few night.  As I'm writing this, I'm realizing why.

I do realize that not all TBTs go down this way in such indulgent grandeur.  My word association post revealed to me that Vodka Mom was hosting a TBT in her kindergarten classroom which I can only imagine would have been a completely different version of the event we attended.  I think I can safely say that Vodka Mom's classroom scene would have been way more my style.  But it was indeed fascinating to experience a TBT on this extreme scale of wealth.

Now if this TBT did anything for me, it introduced me to one damn good scone. It was this cranberry/orange combo and it was fairly moist as opposed to the usual dry texture I had experienced in the past. I munched down like five of 'em and wanted to stash a few in my purse to bring home but I was truly afraid of getting caught.

If you happen to still be reading this, I will say that as I maneuvered my way through my very first teddy bear tea amidst the chattering of many women I'm pretty sure I don' relate to on many levels, I will say that it was pure joy to watch my girls thoroughly enjoy themselves.  It was magical for them and so it was magical for me.  

Isn't it amazing how this mama deal works? 

By watching CR and The Love Fairy prance through their teddy bear fantasy, I pranced with them.  The looks on their little faces during the marionette performance were pure delight and I just couldn't stop smiling.   There, in their $20 department store dresses, and Target bought shoes, but with not a material care in the world.   I. Love. That.  

I love the age before the world gets too big.  When there's no or little awareness to the big world out there telling people they should care about wealth and possessions.  When a girl is just another girl and a dress is just another pretty dress and a cookie is just a cookie and well, a scone is just another ....nope, this scone was NOT just another scone.  I'll tell you that much.

So now the next time I hear the words "teddy bear tea", my mind will not draw a blank.  My new word association for TBT is...



  1. I honestly believe I have three boys because I was not meant to have girls. I do love hair, make up and clothes, but my girliness ends there.

    And I think the cashmere poncho sounds way cooler than anything those uptight and overdressed women were wearing!

  2. Dang your girls are so in the inner circle. Feeling really glad (and sad?) I only have boys....

    Now when the little girls at the parties start talking about THIER personal trainers, I would say RUN FOR THE HILLS.

    Hey I went to a party last week, and I was the ONLY mom there. Oh there were adults...they were all NANNIES. Which reminds me- I need to brush up on my spanish.

    Living Glamorously,

    *can you add name/url to your comment options. I can't put my real blog in...only my old one the way you have it now. PAH LEEZ? POR FAVOR?

  3. What a wonderful experience... yes I did read it all the way through even down to the "i hope I never right a long post like this again" label.

    Your girls looked adorable! I hate those hoity toity things. I hate that some moms feel they have to live vicariously through their kids with the beauty pageants and ridiculously expensive clothes. I LOVE that your girls had a great time and didn't care if they got anything on their dresses. They got to experience something very magical. THAT'S what's important.

    I am glad you had fun

  4. Oh Lee - LOVED your post. So well written and you painted the picture crystal clear.

    I actually attended a similar TBT last year with my girl, mom and grandmother (which is why I couldn't do your word association). I really looked at the value as huge for my mom and grandmother. It was a blast for them to do this with GNS.

    Way to go for seeing past all the glitz to find the true raw happiness of your girls - no boutique dress necessary.

  5. OK - you literally made me LOL!! And for the record, only if my Zumba classes were coupled with a daily personal trainer (hot male trainer) would I have a tight body.

    That tea sounds like so much fun for the kids! I would love for my girls to experience something like that!

    That poncho does sound soft and warm - who is it by?

  6. Wow I had no idea there was such a "TBT". I would have reacted the same way & been dressed in my best TJ Maxx outfit (which is probably 5-7 yrs old) or a hand me down or up from my "perfect" sister. But to see your girls faces light up...what a wonder.
    I have 3 little ones and can't imagine how they would be. I collected Teddy Bears for mom just now has told me to bring my collection home...I think I will do that & have my own TBT at home w/ the girls! NO BOYS ALLOWED (of course) but you can wear whatever you want! Probably no yummy orange & cranberry scones though, sorry :(
    love your posts thanks for making me laugh,& cry at times too.

  7. Wow! That looks like something fun for girls--my dramatic diva's would love it. I'll never take them LOL. But your girls look sooo pretty in those pictures!

  8. Wow, my word association might leave you with the impression that I knew what a TBT was, but I was picturing something largely imaginary, held by children, in their own rooms. :)

    And agree, all those fancy moms were looking at your cool cashmere wrap and thinking, "eek! She's so hip and confident, why did I overdress?"

  9. Why can't you live in Dallas!? I need a friend like you.

    And with two boys (6 and almost 3) I'm fairly certain there will be no TBTs in my future. Thanks for painting a picture that makes me happy (mostly) about that!!

    Love a poncho!!


  10. Laughing so hard! i have boys so I don't have to do this kind of fru fru stuff. But how fun to see your girls enjoy an innocent day out doing girly things! I am alos a jeans and t-shirt girl with not much makeup, so the poncho thing sounded very uptown to me. I loved the post and your blog, will definitely be checking in from now on!

  11. HUH... Well I had no idea what a TBT was... I just thought... Teddy Bear Picnic... isn't that what you drink on a picnic? iced tea? I am such a jeans and t-shirt kind of girl that when I dress up my family asks who died... I would so have sported that poncho look too...

  12. I loved this post. Okay, I'll admit it, I L.O.V.E parties - even really really major/over-planned/theme-y parties, but this post even made ME a little queasy!
    You are hilarious - hope you don't mind my dropping in!

  13. I thought I knew what a teddy bear tea was until I read this post and saw your pictures. Clearly I've only been to a teddy bear ghetto tea party so far.

  14. WOW! that's one high class teddy bears' tea! i came here from mission monday - cool blog! love the colours

  15. What a great post! It isn't about all the materialism! Your girls looked adorable, and I bet they had the time of their lives! Looks like it was a fun even nonetheless.

  16. I had never heard of TBT... that's a little too upscale for Louisiana, I suppose.

    I'm so glad to hear the girls had such a good time. There is nothing better in the world than seeing their happy smiling faces and hearing their musical laughs.

    Maybe you should host a Lee-style TBT... only requirement: MUST WEAR JEANS and FLOPS!

  17. Wow! That was fascinating! I loved every word of it. I have never heard of these TBTs. And I love the way you and the kids were dressed. I am generally not a scones person but where I work they have the BEST scones. Blueberry. I could eat 10 of them, they are soooo good. I wonder if they have TBTs for dads and their sons. Probably not.


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