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 all….it’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…


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