My children have a special radar that would be precocious and maybe even charming if it didn’t result in their being completely demonic. It works like this: if it is my birthday, or Christmas, or any other day on which it is really, really important to me that they behave… their heads spin the full 360 degrees while they speak in tongues and vomit pea soup.
I’m kidding. Their behavior is so repugnant it often makes me wish they were only vomiting. Because that? Could be cleaned up.
So tonight, our friends arrived, and the fun began. My friend’s daughter is Monkey’s age. Usually–as threesomes of children go–they are a suitable combination, because Chickadee gets another girl to play with but Monkey gets someone his age. And my friend’s daughter (let’s call her Boing) enjoys playing with them both. But tonight, silly, tonight was my birthday and so my children were tuned into that weird make-mama-cry vibe. They tormented Boing, they tormented each other, and they took out every. toy. in. the. house. While screaming. Shrieking, really.
Hope sprung eternal, and my friend and I ordered our pizza and chatted inbetween dispute resolutions and hoped that things would settle down. They didn’t. Well, maybe the kids were just hungry. The food arrived and thus began another session of “Dining With Primates.” Half a package of napkins and quite a lot of whining later, we excused the children from the table so that we could eat in peace. We reasoned that–fortified with nutrition–perhaps they would play together nicely. We were wrong. Interactions had reached a fever pitch when my friend suggested we call them back for cake and ice cream.
“Let me get this straight,” I said. “They’re acting like hoodlums, so we are going to reward them with enough sugar to make their heads explode?”
“Pretty much, yeah,” she answered.
Well alrighty, then. So long as we’re clear.
I had made a chocolate cake with vanilla frosting. The children so lamented the plainness of my plan that I’d agreed to color the frosting for them. I perused my Wilton coloring gels and settled on “sky blue.” Later tonight I will write a friendly letter to Wilton to let them know that they have misnamed this particular gel colorant. My cake is Cookie Monster blue, as independently verified by myself, my children, and Boing. Very, very blue. Vibrant blue. Blue like the big furry guy himself.
So here was this chocolate cake, with blue frosting, and a half-gallon of Bryer’s chocolate and vanilla patchwork ice cream. Normal children would be delighted. Our children? Well, I was already at my wit’s end. I was cutting cake and my friend was scooping ice cream, and all I could hear was a litany from the ungrateful beasties:
“I want cake! I want ice cream!” (Really?)
“I don’t like cake!” (This from Boing. Weird, but fair enough. But we’d already promised no less than four times to give her only ice cream.)
“I need a fork!”
“I need a spoon!”
“How come I don’t have any yet?”
“Why aren’t we lighting candles and singing happy birthday?”
To this last, I replied that I wasn’t really in a candle and singing kind of mood because I’d been too busy trying to keep them all from killing each other. My grumpiness had reached a zenith. I didn’t feel like cake; I didn’t feel like celebrating. I felt like putting my children to bed and enjoying some silence. Hmph.
Eventually everyone was seated with dessert and for a few blissful seconds, the only sounds were of eating. Ahhh. Then Monkey turned to me and–holding out his empty cup–demanded, “Hey, where’s my drink??”
“In your stomach…?” I ventured.
Perhaps it was one of those “you had to be there” sorts of moments. The tension had been building, and somehow this was the dam break. My friend and I looked at one another and dissolved into hysterics. The children regarded us with curiosity, then puzzlement… and then shrugged and returned to their dessert. We were still giggling and snorting a bit when my friend nudged me and pointed at Monkey. Together we watched as he methodically shoved handfuls of cake into his mouth. His hands were blue. His mouth was blue. His teeth were blue. And his hands worked in perfect concert, right, left, right, left, delivering a steady stream of cake crumbs into his chewing mouth.
We lost it all over again. We laughed so hard, tears squirted out our eyes and ran down our cheeks. Through it all, Monkey’s pace never flagged. He was unbothered by our laughter. When I managed to squeak out, “MONKEY! FORK!” he just smiled a peaceful blue smile my way and replied “No thank you.”
Finally I had to turn away from Monkey or risk peeing in my pants. Whereupon I was just in time to behold Chickadee balancing her whole slab of cake on her fork and attempting to enclose the entire top of it in her mouth. This provoked fresh howls from my friend as I tried to stop laughing long enough to shout, “CHICKADEE! BITES!” Chickadee dropped the cake in surprise, grumping back, “I was taking bites.”
“Um, Mommy?” said Boing to my friend as we were still trying to catch our breaths, “I don’t like cake. Monkey and Chickadee has blue teeth!”
It was about then that I suggested “Revenge of the Frosting” would be an excellent title for a horror film.
Thus draws to a close my Very Blue Birthday. Thanks to all who left me birthday wishes! If any of you would like a slice of cake, come on over!