Take one bouncing birthday boy.
Add construction-paper crown (don’t skimp on the glitter).
Feed cupcakes for lunch.
Bring home to stack of presents and promises of pizza and cake.
Stir with friends.
Top with ice cream.
I believe we can declare today a roaring success. In the sense, of course, that there were three children actually roaring, here, this evening, at various intervals. My friend’s daughter Boing and Monkey were playing together SO nicely, and Chickadee–who is quite miffed that today was not HER birthday–would periodically interfere in a way that would cause mayhem, and I would think about cramming her into the toaster oven, briefly, and then peace would resume for a while and I would let her live. Then Monkey and Boing would gang up on Chickadee (who would act persecuted), then Chickadee and Boing would gang up on Monkey, then I would scream “FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS HOLY, WHERE IS THE PIZZA GUY??”
Totally not true. I never screamed that. I was far too busy being an excellent hostess via forcing my friend to sit in the kitchen and keep me company while I went through 57 piles of papers in an effort to rediscover my long-lost kitchen counters. The children drove each other insane–periodically stopping to run into the kitchen and tattle on each other–while I said things like, “Oh, look. Here’s a bank statement from 2002. Do I need this, do you think?”
In so many ways I am so organized. Anal, even. And yet, should you find yourself missing a critical piece of documentation, I can pretty much assure you that it was sucked into the vortex that is the little piece of countertop next to the stove. It’s where papers of all kinds go to die. Perhaps it’s explainable… maybe a chemical reaction much like the one that produced the Powerpuff Girls, only in this case it had to do with a toppling pile of Boxtops For Education and a dusty scented candle I never light because, hello!, there’s a mountain of PAPER there and I don’t want to burn the house down. I just don’t know.
Anyway, as I was saying, I’m a fabulous party hostess. The children were doing their thing and I was sorting papers and bitching about sorting those papers and waiting for the pizza guy. We ordered pizza from a local Lebanese place, because you know how those Lebanese are. Famous for their pizza. “What do you feel like for dinner, honey?” “I’m sort of in the mood for Lebanese. Let’s get a large pepperoni!”
[Maybe not. New England is sort of its own universe, by the way. It’s own extremely white universe.]
The truth is that Pizza Hut is only a mile away, but they are a faceless corporate giant manned by teenagers with pierced faces who probably dare each other to spit on the pizza. When you order pizza from the Lebanese place, the owner makes your pizza and then drives it over to your house. It’s not my favorite pizza. Not even close. But I would rather give my money to a small local business whose owner remembers me. And probably doesn’t have time to spit in my pizza.
I’d ordered two pizzas, planning on plenty of leftovers. Only, no one had told me that today was national Stuff Your Face day. The children ate an entire pizza. Rather, Monkey had a piece of pizza, and Chickadee and Boing polished off the rest of the pie. It was a little frightening.
Then we moved on to presents. Oh! Presents! Lord knows there haven’t been any of THOSE recently!
After presents came cake and ice cream. Monkey could not hold still; the excitement had taken him beyond ants in the pants to full-tilt spasmodic jitters. Don’t believe me? It’s true. This is the best picture I was able to get of him tonight. And you can’t tell, but I swear he’s grinning ear to ear, which will have to be my comfort when I look back someday and wonder why I don’t have any good pictures from his birthday.
Monkey devoured a piece of cake roughly the size of his head. The girls were a bit less impressive, but they HAD just eaten an entire pizza, after all.
A brief bit of playing with the new toys and then it was time to say goodbye to our friends and get ready for bed. Getting ready for bed turned into a Sisyphian undertaking: First Daddy called, then Grandma and Grandpa called, then I remembered that we needed to do the “birthday bag” activities from school. And all of this after ALL THAT SUGAR! YAY!
In Monkey’s class they make a birthday book for each kid where the other children each make a page, drawing a picture and telling the birthday child something they like about them. I think this is an awesome tradition; I know Chickadee still treasures her book from her year. Chickadee’s book said things like “you’re smart” and “you’re a very good reader” and “you know a lot of math!” As we sat down tonight to read the praises of Monkey, I discovered that apparently he hands out heroin on the playground.
“Will you play with me outside today? You’re fun to play with.”
“You are my favorite friend to play with outside.”
“I love playing outside with you.”
“Today can you play outside with me? Sometimes you play with me out there.”
My son, Popular Dude.
Eventually, after much bouncing on my bed and chanting SUGARMONSTER, SUGARMONSTER, SUGARMONSTER, I strapped both children into bed with liberal amounts of duct tape.
I ruffled Monkey’s hair in the dark. “So how was your birthday, buddy? Was it okay?”
“It was GREAT! I LOVED IT!” he bounced against the mattress.
“Oh, well, I’m sorry it was so rotten. Maybe next year will be better,” I teased.
“Next year I’ll be SEVEN! And the year after I’ll be EIGHT! And then NINE and TEN and ELEVEN and–” I bid him goodnight and closed the door behind me while he was still counting. I never even gave him permission to turn SIX. He’s not allowed to turn ten! Or even seven, for that matter. Sheesh.
I spent a minute snuggling with Chickadee, praising the small bits of behavior that hadn’t been fueled by jealousy, reminding her that we’ll be working on her knitting kit together this weekend, and pressing my way around her stomach, claiming to be able to feel each individual piece of pizza and maybe a few cake crumbs over here. When I felt confident that she’d shed any residual grumpiness, I kissed her goodnight and headed downstairs.
They’re okay, my kids. Exhausting, but pretty entertaining. I think I’ll keep them.