Saturday, July 6, 2013
One of Sara's school assignments was to create an imaginary island - complete with vegetation, food, animals, etc. She was thrilled. She got to create, write and use her amazing imagination. This was her dream homework assignment. Her imaginary island rivals the early Roman Empire. She drew elaborate pictures of the food, plant life and animals. She created mountains, marshes, beaches, savannahs, even tide pools. She declared herself queen of the island. Everyone she knows has a title and a role to play in her fiefdom. Paul is her king. Christian, her little brother, is the court jester. My father is the island cook. Her Aunt Angie is her lady-in-waiting/advisor. Her other aunts and female cousins are princesses. All her uncles and male cousins are palace guards. My role in her little fantasy world? Servant. Yup, a basic, low level, on call 24/7 servant, a lowly serf. I am going to seek political asylum and go to someone else's island. Maybe I'll get a job as a cocktail waitress. Or beach comber.
My baby is turning five. Finally. He is very offended that his friends had the audacity to do it before him. Now it is his turn. He has been planning the bash of the century for months now. He invites anyone and everyone who crosses his path - Paul's coworkers, Target cashiers, priests, lifeguards. Paul will be traveling for work on the day of the party so I needed reinforcements. I needed to hire someone with actual skills to entertain a house full of 5-6 year old on a sugar high. "We" agreed on a small party at home. Basically, I changed the subject every time he mentioned Chuck E. Cheese. I would rather fly everyone to Vegas for a show than enter that filthy Petri dish. Once we agreed on a venue (our house) and a guest list (a small group of friends), we needed to select entertainment. Face painting is out. He begs for his face to get painted, then ignores my reminders that it itches. Once the masterpiece is created and admired, he demands it be removed immediately. Picture the Shakespeare scene "Out, damn spot, out!" Balloons freak me out. I am always just waiting for the damn things to pop. Once they do, there is the inevitable fall out. So, forget the clown and balloon animals. So, I solicited ideas from those around me who are smarter and have been around the birthday block a few times. A magician! Brilliant. I can feed the group of hyper 5-6 year olds some cake and snacks and let some guy in a cape captivate and distract them. I asked Christian what he thought about having a magic show. He thought for a minute and shook his head. "But, I want a Star Wars birthday." I explained it is still a Star Wars theme - cake, decorations, invitations, etc. Then he thought some more. "But I don't know any magic, Mom." Poor kid. What kind of mother expects a kid to work his own birthday party. I quickly explained that a real magician comes and does it. He doesn't have to perform. Once he realized the pressure was off him, he was excited. Now he wants a cape. Not sure if he wants to be Batman or a magician. Probably a magical Batman.
Christian turned 5. This was an event months and months in the making. Every time a classmate had a birthday, he got upset that yet another kid was gaining on him in the age department. He plotted and planned his party for months. Anyone he met got invited - his pediatrician, his father's co-workers, the Target cashiers, etc. We explained over and over that his party would be the day AFTER his birthday. The day BEFORE his birthday, he woke up from his nap giddy as can be. He skipped down the stairs, yelling "I am 5 FINALLY". It killed me to burst his little bubble but he had to wait one more "sleep". Crushed by this devastating blow, he muddled through the rest of his day. At the crack of dawn on his actual birthday, he bounced into our room, announcing gleefully, "I am FIVE FINALLY for real". He climbed into bed to cuddle and plan his special day. Then he climbed back down and went into the bathroom. He came back, looking crestfallen. He told us, "I don't FEEL five. I don't LOOK five. I don't SOUND five. How do I know I am really five now?" Poor kid. He was finally five but didn't believe it. We assured him that he looked and sounded older. He accepted it (grudgingly) and ran down the hall to remind his sister that he was 5. It's hard being 5 if you don't look, sound or feel 5.