PIÑATA: a decorated vessel (as of papier-mâché) filled with candies, fruits, and gifts and hung up to be broken with sticks by blindfolded persons
I have a piñata injury. Yes, you read that right. No, piñata is not a proper anatomical term. It’s a sack, covered in paper and filled with goodies.
Let me explain…
Son attended a space-themed birthday party on Sunday. There was a round cake decorated as the sun and then a solar system of cupcakes with varied frosting colors and textures arranged in the order of the planets – with labels. It was awesome. I plan to steal the idea.
Things got even better when it was time for the piñatas. Plural. There were four piñatas. The sentiment was actually pretty sweet. The mom and grandmother recognized that kids aren’t great at standing in line waiting for a turn to club a container filled with sugar. By providing multiple piñatas, each child had less time to wait and more time to club. Did I mention the piñatas were homemade? And came with a story? Well, they were and they did.
Early in the party, the grandmother casually mentioned that she would need a couple of adults to assist with piñatas. I offered my assistance, picturing an opportunity to amuse myself by spinning blindfolded children in circles and then watching them club the air. Well, the joke was on me. It soon became clear that this was no ordinary piñata duty.
The birthday boy’s grandma gathered the children (a.k.a. Space Explorers) in a circle and told them a tale about a space adventure gone bad. As she mentioned each piñata – the rocket, asteroids, alien something-or-other), the person holding that particular piñata became part of the drama.
It was a total bait and switch. “Could you help with a piñata?” is a completely different question from “Would you like to be an actor in a piñata performance in a public park?” But, I did my part and flew through space while the rocket piñata dodged my dangerous gyrations.
Finally, it was time for the traditional piñata duties. I led my rock asteroid team under a shady tree and the fun fear began. At this point, I realized that I was in charge of holding a relatively heavy piñata on the end of a four-foot long thick wooden dowel. The children were armed with three-foot long thick wooden dowels. Twelve inches did not feel like nearly enough of a cushion for my body. I was terrified.
I did my best to hold the dowel in the tips of my fingers with my arms extended as far as humanly possible. This was not easy, as the piñata has clearly been stuffed with rocks. Each child eagerly approached and started swinging. The other mom helping (wisely selecting blindfold duty over human baseball) was cracking up each time I flinched.
Well, the combination of less than ergonomic piñata positioning, together with the full-body flinching that occurred with each swing proved to be too much for my aging body. Two days later, my neck and shoulders are still so tight that I can’t touch my chin to my chest.
But, I’ve learned a valuable lesson. When an innocent looking grandma solicits volunteers at a birthday party either review all the fine print or just bend down to tie your shoe and avoid eye contact until she’s found an adequate number of suckers.