Five years is a heartbeat. Five years is an eternity.
R turned 5 over last week. I say “over” because although like everyone else he has a birth day, this whole last week was a celebration of him as a unique person, a wacky boy, a hilarious character, and as an irreplaceable part of our little family. He makes us laugh every day. but also comes up with gems like “I hope I remember what you look like when I grow up”. (FTR, I’m not really sure what that meant, like “you’ll be dead when I’m a grown up” or pertaining to some kind of a ritual we do right now, but it sounded so sweet.) He’s also my little cuddlebug right now — I know what’s coming in a couple of years so I’m making the most of it!
He started birthday morning by opening presents from V and us. (I grew up with a tradition of always waking up to gifts on my birthday. It’s the one day of the year when you’re the undisputed star and I want my kids to know that feeling too.) V gave R a miniature of the VW camper Lego that he made a while ago. R’s following in his brother’s footsteps and turning into quite a Lego enthusiast himself. He was ecstatic to receive this present. V also wrote him some rare (and nice!) brotherly notes wishing him a wonderful birthday. We gave him a stomp rocket seeing as the kids are spending so much time outdoors right now. After school, I took him out for some froyo, before picking up V and making our biannual trek to Chuck-E-Cheese’s. The kids know we don’t usually go there (and NEVER on the weekend!) so it was a special treat on a special day.
He had a celebration at school the next day with cupcakes and special classroom status. And then we had his birthday party yesterday. The old fashioned theme happened by accident; my schedule had been tight the past month and I hadn’t come up with any kind of theme. When I couldn’t delay sending out the invites anymore and had to pick a heading for the Evites, my idea of just “having some kids over” translated into an “Old fashioned” party.
You know what the best part is about planning the old fashioned way? It needs no planning at all! There’s no theme to follow so decorations are simple, no extra stuff to buy, no poring over Amazon for days on end trying to find just the right pirate tablecloth, no stalking Michaels or Party City for goodie bags, no trying to convince a reluctant kid to choose a cake in line with the theme when he really wants something else, no stress. The ONLY thing is prepped in advance was the parcel for the Pass the Parcel game. That’s it. Everything else flew at the last second. V stayed up late the previous night to “help” with decorations so we could surprise R the morning of his party. Since I wasn’t following a plan, I was so much more relaxed about letting V take the lead on the decorations — You want to make a canopy with streamers? Go right ahead. Oh, this one just hangs in the middle of the doorway? OK, sure. A balloon stuck onto a lamp makes it look festive? Yeah, yeah it does. We both had a great time — no yelling, no butting heads. It was already a great start.
Our guests arrived and the kids made a beeline to the basement where our bouncy castle is always a hit. Off point, our bouncy castle is hands down the best $100 we’ve ever spent on a toy. Like, EVER. Through various toy fads and phases, through several housebound winters, through kids ranging from 18months to 10 years, that bouncy castle has provided more hours of fun than all the other toys combined. If you have the space for it, I would recommend buying one, without reservation.
After attacking the snacks, the kids played a rousing game of Pass the Parcel. We played it as kids, and yesterday proved that this game has not lost its allure for today’s children either. There was much guffawing and chattering and clapping as the parcel passed from one kid to another and each child got to unwrap a layer of gift wrap. The kids gamely recited poems, hugged their neighbors or imitated their parents. Upon completion of their “required” task, they got to choose a rainbow loom bracelet that my kids had looped in advance for their friends. What a hoot!
A break for pizza, and then some outdoor fun. Remember that carnival game where you break cans with a ball? We stacked some beverage glasses in the formation and had the kids try to break it with a foam ball. Another unexpected hit. The weather was perfect and everyone enjoyed some much-needed sunshine. Our yard was an idyllic scene: adults chatting in the sun with kids chittering around them playing with friends. What’s not to love?