We had our weekly Shabbat dinner with Fillip's parents. My mother-in-law had called to consult me on what kind of icecream cake Hayden might like. Unbeknownst to me, Hayden had declared himself anti-icecream. When I handed him a piece he whined "No Mommy! I wanted strawberries first!" How do I tell him he must eat all his icecream cake before he can have fresh fruit? Not to mention, how is that my son if he doesn't like icecream? I must have overloaded him on icecream en utero with my twice daily Banana Royale Sundaes from Baskin Robbins. It takes some effort to put 50+ lbs on this frame! He dutifully took a couple bites, but not enthusiastically. Silly kid.
Saturday- Hayden's actual birthday
We woke up Saturday morning and asked Hayden if he would like to eat breakfast at home or go out. He was very specific about where he wanted to go, so we headed to our former stomping grounds, and reminded ourselves of why we would go to that particular coffee shop so frequently. The staff is so familiar and friendly, the food far superior to the other places we go. As we walked in, Hayden announced to the dining room at large that it was his birthday and he is now Four. Logan backed him up saying "He da buhthday man." Towards the end of breakfast, while I took Hayden to the bathroom, our server asked if they could bring him a birthday sundae. Fillip said sure, but warned them he may not eat it. Sure enough. They brought 2 scoops of icecream over a cookie, smothered in chocolate syrup and marshmallow fluff. While they sang, Hayden sat there looking like he was having an awkward social moment. He had already told us he was full, and established the ban on icecream the night before. He quietly thanked them, then when the staff walked away he looked at us and said "Do I have to eat this?" No, I'll take care of it, son. Just pass it right over here!
We spent the day doing various errands to get ready for the party on Sunday. Hayden's only birthday present request was a big toy kitchen he had seen in December. Do you want a racetrack? No. Do you want Bob the Builder stuff? No. Do you want any, ahem...boys stuff? No, just my kitchen please. So, Fillip spent about an hour building it. It is a really cool blue wooden kitchen set with knobs for the stove, and buttons for the microwave. The sink handles work as well, and the boys are having a blast pretending to serve up various dishes, and clean their kitchen. It's really cute. After all, they see Fillip cook all the time, and often help us cook and bake. They are no strangers to the kitchen. To my future daughters-in-law: You're welcome!
That evening we headed to Chuck E. Cheese for dinner. Missy and Marlena met us there. The boys had never been there and were a bit overwhelmed to start. They quickly got the idea and loved the freedom to endlessly put in tokens to take the rides. Logan tried climbing in the "mouse crawl" that goes to the ceiling several times, but kept getting run over by bigger kids. A few words from me and another mom, and he finally got to the top so he could go down the slide. He was so proud of himself, but one time was enough. They each half heartedly at some pizza when it came to the table, then went to play. We didn't try to get them to eat much, but when they came back to the table a little later, they had worked up a better appetite and each devoured another piece. Chuck E. apparently only comes out for reserved birthday parties. I didn't realize this, and as soon as he appeared, Logan shouted "He came!" as if he had sent out an invitation, hoping the invitation was received. He then bolted over to the giant mouse. Well, some of the people at the qualified birthday party were rather exuberant and poor Logan turned tail and ran back to me. Hayden made his way into the fray, so excited to meet this giant mouse we had told him about. I was about to try to get a pic of the boys with Chuck E., then realized they were trying to sing and serve cake for that party. Oops! The kids weren't so enamored anyway. Fillip and I both agreed it was much Chuck E. "Cheesier" than we remembered, but the kids had a great time. Back at our house, Hayden opened some presents Missy had brought, played with her and Marlena for a few minutes, then off to bed. We needed time to finish last minute party details. Well, that and a bottle of wine.
Sunday- Party Day!
Hayden woke up excited to have his birthday party at last. We had a quick breakfast at home then headed to My Gym for birthday madness. The kids had an absolute blast! Basically, the kids go play on all the equipment and participate in games run by the My Gym staff. The grownups chat and munch on snacks (chips, candy, coffee cake, coffee, fruit). Fillip had told me the day before that junk food was required for a birthday party. I grudgingly complied, being a real grinch when it comes to that stuff. Anyway, I had a ball playing with all the kids and trying to capture every moment on film. Hayden had requested sports themed cupcakes, which I had made aplenty. There were baseballs, basketballs, soccer balls and footballs. He later said the football cupcakes were his favorite. The "Happy 4th Birthday Hayden" signs were penants made of sugar cookie dough. Add some juice boxes and you have 20 happy kids! At the end of the party, one staff member announced good news and bad news. The bad news was that the party was over. I quipped that the good news was that I didn't have to clean my house!! As the party broke up, Hayden was excited to hand out goody bags to all his friends. Later when I asked what his favorite part of his party was, he told me it was handing out the goody bags.
We took our two tired, sugar coated boys home to nap for awhile. Logan actually fell asleep in the car holding his balloon and a ring pop. He would later reclaim that ring pop and don a candy necklace for most of the afternoon. I kept wiping him up, but he was covered in sticky sugar all day. I'm not sure he has ever been happier! When they got up from naptime, we played with their new art supplies on the easel (Thank you Missy & Rob!) and opened presents. Hayden enjoys opening presents, but never goes crazy with it. Usually, he loses interest long before we are done. This time, we had a more moderate pile so he participated in all the gift opening. We are now slowly doling out fun new playthings over the next several days. Fillip and I were quite excited to see some "old school" toys like Lite Brite and Shrinky Dinks. I actually remember getting a Lite Brite one year for Chanukah, and playing with Shrinky Dinks. Later in the day, the little boy from next door came over to play while Fillip helped his dad move a refrigerator, then we all had dinner together. The boys just love being together, even though they don't interact all that much. It was a really fun evening, and overall a fantastic day. Hayden told us several times that he had fun with his friends, and is so excited to be Four. The day wasn't quite over for me though, as there were yet more cupcakes to make. There were 20 cupcakes left from the party, which is how many kids there are in Hayden's class. I didn't want to leave out the teachers, so had to make another batch. Fortunately, they went rather quickly, only taking a couple hours to decorate. Yes, that's quickly.
Monday- School celebration
On Monday I brought cupcakes to the school for Hayden's class. Hayden was really excited when I walked in. One boy immediately asked "Are those for me?" I told him one of them was. What I didn't know was that he had just had a birthday as well, and his mom was also bringing cupcakes. The teacher had forgotten about me. The other mom was later than expected, so the teacher had to "edit" the birthday crown to say Hayden's name, and had us go ahead. When I went to go get Logan from his class to join us, he greeted me with "Where da tuptakes?" Smart kid knows how to get to the important stuff. He felt like he was important stuff getting to go to his big brother's class for a little while. Hayden was so happy to have us there and immediately gave Logan a hug and invited his little brother to sit next to him. As always, Hayden looked rather uncomfortable as everyone sang to him. The kids all loved getting to pick which cupcake they wanted, as even the new batch had different sports. I had scrambled on my way over to pick up paper goods, a candle and a disposable camera (my camera battery died at the party on Sunday. Charger mysteriously missing. Both boys claim ignorance.) At one point I noticed that the disposable camera was being passed around as the kids took pictures. Hayden had the camera and was pointing at Logan who was standing still giving his cheesiest camera smile. We should get some interesting shots! After a little while the boys went outside with their classmates to play and I had to get back to work. Logan tried pulling my heartstrings with a very sad face asking to go home with me. About 30 seconds later he was tearing it up around the playground on a bike. I left two very happy kids full of sugar and playing in the sunshine.
So, there are many of you out there who might say that all this birthday shanigans is ridiculous, way too drawn out, and what kid needs to celebrate their birthday four days in a row. I agree, it's completely unnecessary. Yet, I wouldn't have eliminated a single thing we did. I would bake another 100 cupcakes, just to see the look on his face that let us know he feels so special. And, you know what?
Happy 4th Birthday, Sweet Pea.