Yesterday, my baby girl turned six.
She decided not to have breakfast in bed. But we did follow the tradition of opening presents pretty much immediately upon waking.
Birthday cake, as decorated by a six-year-old and a three-year-old. Rules of hygiene not exactly rigidly adhered-to.
At her friend party. This is cake number two (cake number one was eaten the night before, at a small family party).
Six is the age at which we let the kids start having friend parties to celebrate their birthdays. Fooey sent out invitations way back in June, because she wanted to invite friends from her class at school, some of whom our family doesn’t know. Who would show up was kind of a mystery. In the end, six girls came. It was fun, and it felt easy: craft, outdoor play, a pretend treasure hunt for the supposedly missing cake, the opening of cards, and jumping through the sprinkler. All planned by the birthday girl herself.
For supper, not pictured here, the kids and I went out for all-you-can-eat sushi, also planned by Fooey. She didn’t care that her dad couldn’t come along (he had a soccer game over the supper hour): the meal had to happen on her birthday. And I’ll tell you, it was crazy fun. Yes, I spent a fair bit of time accompanying smaller children to the bathroom, but otherwise, I felt like I was out for dinner with four really entertaining personalities. We ordered surprises off the menu like “banana” (which turned out to be battered banana fried and served with chocolate sauce) and “golden bag” (which was not the hoped-for dessert item the orderer had guessed it to be; she ate it anyway). And I let them eat as many bowls of ice cream as they wanted.
There are times, it must be said, when being the mother of a pile of kids is just plain fun.
Happy birthday, my little Foo.
This was one well-planned party. I didn’t plan it, and neither did Kevin. It was planned in detail by the birthday boy, with some initial consultation (to whittle away at the more elaborate and impossible ideas). You can read the plan, on the right. In the end, the party went pretty much exactly like that (minus the 4am wake-up time).
Eight boys walked home from school together. They had a snack. They went to the comic book shop uptown and read comic books on benches (with supervision, I should add). They came back to a pizza supper, and made their sleeping arrangements in the basement. Outside to play baseball.
Ice cream cake served outside (the woman at the shop did not manage to put a “lego block” on the cake, as requested, but she may have been afraid of being featured on Cake Wrecks).
Then some boys played wii in the basement while others played outside til dark. Toothbrushing and pajamas. Reading in the basement (Albus provided a stack of graphic novels). Finally, lights out, a bit after 10pm. We expected talk, and there was some, but by 10:45 all was quiet. Though they woke early, they followed our rule: no getting up before 6. We provided a clock so they’d know for sure. They quietly got a movie started and had been watching for over an hour before we got up.
Kevin made pancakes and I made breakfast smoothies.
There was just time to open cards and gifts from siblings and parents before home-time. Kevin and I agree: this was in many ways easier and less-stressful than the intense two-hour friend party. The boys were very self-sufficient, and all such good kids. It felt almost leisurely. He’s spent the rest of his birthday, so far, playing with a new wii game, and putting together a Lego set he got to pick out himself this afternoon.
We also plan to have all-you-can-eat sushi for supper, and the older kids will get to go to a movie with their dad. And then Kevin and I will sleep and sleep and sleep. Thankfully, the weather was beautiful. I think that’s what made the party so successful. We were able to spend a lot of it outside.
And happy birthday, ten-year-old boy!
I’ve been neglecting to link to my twice-weekly triathlon blogs on Chatelaine.com, but here’s today’s: an ode to yoga, and to cross-training generally.
In other news, my eldest turns 10 tomorrow, and to celebrate, we’re going all out. He’s invited eight friends for a sleepover party. Already, overnight bags are collecting in our front hall. I’ll be heading up to school soon to supervise the walk home (but from a distance, it’s been requested). Albus has spent a lot of time thinking about this party. He wrote out a draft version of his itinerary, and then a good copy (if you know Albus, you know how unusual this is). The itinerary includes a walk to the comic book store uptown. The boys will then read their comics “on a bench or on the curb.” That’s my favourite part.
I’m not expecting much sleep tonight.
But I hope to rest a little bit this weekend in advance of the duathlon on Monday. My next big challenge. I’ve never raced on a bicycle before. But I did learn how to change a tire yesterday (hands on), thanks to this super-woman. In the words of a favourite children’s story: I think I can, I think I can, I think I can! The race is 4km run, 30km bike ride, 4km run. The bike course is described as “challenging,” and having biked part of it on Tuesday morning, I know why: hills and headwinds. It’s also supposed to be raining on Monday. My goal is simple completion. If I don’t chicken out, if I actually show up and do this, I will be a proud.
And now I see it’s time to switch gears and sign off. Writing day done. Full-on-mama again.
He agreed to turn three. Briefly. On Monday evening, he was talked into being a big boy by his big brother, who regaled him with the many advantages thereof. In the morning, he held to the new age, telling me, in a whisper, that he was three. But when I asked him for a photo holding up three fingers he balked, frowned, and regressed. Not three, he decided. Still two.
Are the expectations too heavy, the demands of being three? I kind of get it, actually. It is scary to get older, to be asked to do more, to be given new responsibilities, to age.
As many of you know, I will be running my first half-marathon (that’s 21.5k) on Saturday. If you are interested in sponsoring me, here’s the info. Wish me luck. I’m starting to feel just a little bit nervous. Trying to keep this thought in my mind, as my focus: whatever time I get, as long as I finish the race, it will be my personal best.
A few weeks ago: note the child’s expression of concentration and concern (it was visible in all the photos I took).
Earlier this afternoon: practice at the empty lot across the street. CJ’s birthday gift: a balance bike!
Right now: she can ride her two-wheeler! She just showed me her “trick,” which was to cycle independently all the way around the apartment building next door (which Kevin running along beside, just in case).
In other news, CJ got to blow out more candles last night when we celebrated his birthday along with his best friend’s birthday (they are about two weeks apart in age). But even an excess of candle-blowing and cake cannot change our boy’s mind: “I’m still two.”
Yesterday, you were two.
Now you are three.
Happy birthday, kid!
The sound of the bedroom door opening. Siblings and parents waiting excitedly to greet him as he walks down the stairs. “Happy birthday! It’s your birthday! You’re a big boy today! You’re three years old!”
Deep frown. Adamant tone. “I NOT be THREE! I be TWO!”
So far, he’s sticking with his story. Yesterday, I took a photo of him holding up two fingers, to show his age. My plan was to juxtapose this with a photo taken this morning of the birthday boy holding up three fingers (which he’s been practicing). But it is not to be. The other kids have decided to shelter him from the dark truth that he is really and truly three years old. Albus keeps saying, in a comforting baby voice, “It okay, CJ. You still be two today.” Anything to give the child a happy birthday.