Monday, December 28, 2009

Day Dream Believer

Whew! Not sure how people have more than one kid. I mean, forget all the meal requests and ER visits and loads of laundry. How do people do multiple birthday celebrations? One a year knocks me on my ass for a couple of months.

True, I probably over-think the whole business. Try too hard to curry favor with the youth of today, which we all know is a fool's errand. And then the celebrant in question spends the drive home whining "Today wasn't any fun for me! Why was there no fun for MEEEEE?" no matter what one pulls out of the hat. But at least I can say I tried.

The morning began with Swedish pancakes and lingonberry sauce with powdered sugar. Dear, sweet Readers, are you thinking I made those? No, lovely ones--Cost Plus did. I mean, we had to cook them, of course. Two days ago. Then Jarrah asked the perennial question: "Is this a perfect day for a dress?" which, for once, I didn't argue about. I just took a too-small "Christmas" frock from the back of the closet and paired it with some velvet leggings. And sneakers. Hey, let's call it "sense of humor chic." Jarrah can work it.

Soon, we were on the road to meet Grace and Julianna, Jarrah reading aloud from the Book of Monsters she received from Auntie Jane yesterday. You might think that an odd gift for a newly-five year old, but then again, you might not be Jarrah. She is already well-versed in Golems and Grendels and would like you to be, too.

At the mall, there were Littlest Pet Shops and Bubble Gum makeup from Auntie Grace and Auntie Jules (bliss!) and an unfortunately timed splinter, with accompanying tears. Mind you, the tears had nothing to do with pain, just an urgent need for a band-aid, which "cured" the splinter instantly. Soon, Jarrah was getting the royal treatment--two people primping her fingers and toes simultaneously--pink for the fingers, red for the toes, and fabulous flowers on both. She even waited patiently for them to dry. This was her first "real" mani-pedi, so don't tell her I instructed them to skip the soaking, scrubbing and massage. She was stoked.

Lunch at California Pizza Kitchen included some really ace mac and cheese--Julianna's favorite anywhere (I tasted it--she's onto something.) Jules told us she has 26 more days to order mac and cheese from the kids menu, and the moment of teetering on the brink of maturity is bittersweet.

After lunch, G and J had to rush off, but Jarrah and I hit Build-a-Bear, which just happens to be "Squeakuel Central" at the moment, and Jarrah lost no time choosing Alvin--complete with red sweatshirt--as her lovey du jour. I think she baffled the cashier by announcing that Alvin was now a girl named Sarah. There was a long, whiny line, but we were able to bear it (ha!)

Chipmunk in hand, we scurried to the car, since I alone knew we were missing our next event--two hours of "free" snow in the park outside the children's museum downtown. We had invited Robyn and the boys, and Synthia let me know she'd be there with her girls, too.

The next part wasn't so lovely, Readers. There was a 20-minute repetitive tour of downtown with the narration "I can't really talk about that right now; try to stop asking questions and help Mommy find parking" and calls from Robyn, who was understandably agog at the line for the snow, which snaked around the block. Triggered by a drive-by, I suggested the Ghirardelli ice cream parlor, which would have obtainable cold stuff, and the kind that kids rarely complain about. Another 10 minutes of circling and we found a spot, only to join a long line with some very disgruntled looking people moments later. I said to Robyn, "What is up with all the people? What are they, on vacation or something?" She agreed that the celebrating had gotten out of hand, and that there was simply no need for this kind of population insurgence.

Eventually, we made it inside, and were mollified by giant glass dishes of ice cream, fudge, cream and sprinkles. Jarrah's mint chip cone was bigger than her head, but the girl has a can-do spirit, and met the challenge in due time.

Sugared up, Robyn and her kids were stick-a-spoon-in-them done, but Jarrah was still clamoring for snow. I (internally) took a deep breath, and said I would check to see if it was still there. Well, the birthday gods smiled, because a spot opened up directly in front of the park with 90 minutes still on the meter! That seemed like a sign, so I tossed Jarrah my gloves (I couldn't find hers, despite my assiduous packing) and we joined the line.

Or tried to. It was still around the block. "Oh Jarrah, this is not going to happen. I'm sorry," I explained mournfully. I offered a few minutes in the play structure as a consolation prize. Well, I'll be a five-year-old's mommy if I hadn't just parked my bum on a curb and texted Synthia "Still here? Just arrived. Line is crazy" when she appeared! And gave us cut-sies! Near the front of the line! Brave souls had been in line the entire hour we'd been slurping ice cream, and it was a matter of minutes before Jarrah was swept into the corral with her friends (and how about THAT little birthday gift from Auntie Syn?)

The snow was not fresh, or soft, or ample, and an over-bright woman with a megaphone called "Thank you for playing! One more minute!" about every, um, minute, but there was time for one sublime toboggan down a manufactured hill, and 30 seconds of grinning snowball flinging, before we were escorted out like so much snow-covered riff-raff.

And then there was the whining, and crying, that I hadn't been able to do more. There were so many gaps and fissures of disappointment in my partly planned, partly serendipitous, day, that the chill breeze was wafting through. Still, I thought it was all pretty rad. And I must admit I smiled (facing forward, eyes on the road) when I heard:

"Mommy, I'm sorry I said the day wasn't fun. It was."

Edited to add: Jarrah just went to sleep, Alvin/Sarah under one arm, and a beautiful, soft bear from her Australian Nana and Granddad under the other. She'd had a second ice cream sundae by then, and opened lots of wonderful gifts. As I tucked her in, I said "Good night, five-year-old. Mommy and Daddy love you very much."

"Thank you, Mommy." she said. "Thank you, Daddy." And she closed her eyes with a huge smile on her face.


Stephanie said...

What a perfectly lovely day, nice work momma.

Jen said...

What a lucky girl! Glad the b-day was such fun!

miss. chief said...

You should see me get dressed. Definitely could be considered 'sense of humor chic' most of the time.

Caroline said...

It's the happy stuff they'll remember. That's what I tell myself. You gave her a great day.

With my two, if one of them is miraculously having a good time, the other one hates it and wants to go. Or they're having such a great time together that they're knocking over mannequins at the Gap.

Mary said...

Happy Birthday to Jarrah!!!!!!

We can't wait to celebrate in person.


Mary, Paul and Joy