This weekend has lead me to realize that my short-lived life as an adult is over. We were obligated to attend not one, but TWO birthday parties. And these aren’t the birthday parties from the days of lore when you had to wake your friends up the next morning from their cozy resting spot on top of the entertainment center, a dirty washcloth as a blanket and Red Hot Chili Pepper CD case as a pillow. And these aren’t the birthday parties that start at 10 p.m. These are the parties that start at 10 a.m. so everyone in attendance can get home in time for lunch and naps (parents included).
Maly’s first party was at 10 a.m. yesterday. And it’s not like we woke up crusty-eyed and attempted to slather deodorant somewhere near our armpits so we could be presentable at the party. We’d already been up with the sun because whenever there is a human that’s of 30-inch stature in your house, you’re up early — even if said 30-inch person fell asleep the night before with a Red Hot Chili Peppers CD case as a pillow.
By 9 a.m. we were at The Store, scurrying about to find a suitable birthday present, balloons, and styrofoam cups and creamer for coffee with kid-in-tow who’s singing, “Partay! Happy bird-day to yoooouuu!” and stopping at every consumer item that looks anything remotely like a Princess. I did not know this but the Jolly Green Giant is, in fact, a “beautiful princess” as can be clearly seen on a can of green beans.
The first party was at a municipal park. The playscapes, slides and rocks kept most of the kids busy for roughly 19 seconds. Once my child saw the cake, she sat at the picnic table and stared at it. It wasn’t even a princess cake. It was a Transformers cake and I was anxiously waiting for my daughter to tell me that they were beautiful princesses. I was mentally preparing myself to explain to Maly the history of Optimus Prime and his voyage from Cybertron to protect Earth and its inhabitants from the evils of the Decepticons. Instead she sat there and stared at the frosting that had started to glisten in the 95-degree humid outside weather.
Thankfully she didn’t manage to poke a finger or her entire face into the cake. She respectfully sat there, anxiously, until candles were extinguished and she got her own piece of cake.
After a long ride home and a severe sugar crash, our daughter went down for a peaceful nap.
We had roughly three hours until the next birthday party. During that time, Elise made dinner for a family who belongs to her church who recently brought into this world a person who will one day reach 30-inches in height and possess a penchant for icing.
In an effort to be supportive, I rested my weary head on the couch and watched women’s Olympic volleyball where the U.S.A. amassed more points in order to beat another team who wore brightly colored jerseys and very tight, short shorts.
4 o’clock showed up fast and it was off to the next party! We loaded up the dinner Elise had been slaving over, very careful to set each pot and dish evenly so they would not spill or splatter in transit. We were off quickly because we were already late for the party and had yet to deliver dinner.
20 minutes later, dinner had been delivered, we’d made just enough small talk to accommodate hospitable conversation and it was time to get to the party. Party party party! During all of the rush of loading and delivering and chatting, we realized we needed to go home and get the kid so she could go to her next party. Ha! I’m kidding. We didn’t make sure to set all of the pots and dishes evenly. We just kind of threw them into the back of the Jeep and hauled off kind of like that scene in Heat. You know, the part right after when they broke into the bank and made their getaway; but not without a really awesome gun fight scene that lasted somewhere around three hours. And then there’s that scene where they’re talking to Ton Loc in the bar and Al Pacino’s all like, “YOU GET KILLED WALKIN’ YA DOGGY!!!” Man, that’s a great movie.
So we get to the second birthday party 45 minutes late. This is a party for a 2-year-old boy who we don’t even know. The only reason we’re invited to this party is because this boy and Maly will be starting Parent’s Morning Out together next Tuesday. Parent’s Morning Out is “school” at church on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9 a.m. to noon. These eight hours a week will teach Maly how to say “MIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIINE!!!” louder than any other human being on earth. It will also allow Elise to have some quiet time so she can relax on the couch and empty every bottle of vodka in the house.
Elise had met the mother once briefly at church. I’d met the mother in passing after we had attended Maly’s Parent’s Morning Out open house. We don’t know this family from Adam. Or Mike for that matter. We get to the house and there’s the awkward, overly-lengthy introductions and hellos in the doorway. We met the entire family, not a name to be remembered. I think I called everyone “Bob” for the rest of the afternoon.
“Oh, so this must be your youngest daughter Bob?”
“No. Her name is Sophie.”
“That’s right, Bob, you’d already told me that while we were standing in the doorway.”
“My name’s Diane.”
“Exactly. Can we have cupcakes now?”
While standing in the doorway, we noticed a lot of shoes were on the tile just inside the house. Elise politely asked if we should take our shoes off. “Oh, it doesn’t really matter. If you want, you can take your shoes off.” Which we interpreted as, “yes, take off your shoes. We don’t want you strange feet tracking dirt all over our carpet.” So we obliged and took off our shoes. I’m accustomed to removing my shoes given studies in Eastern culture. However, this family was full-blooded American. A family who would definitely understand another team who wears brightly colored jerseys and very tight, short shorts.
I did find out later from Bob that the family is from Chicago. That explains the Eastern culture.