I've been happily reading doulicia (hey, doulicia, I want a footbath, too!) only to look up and realize that four friends have produced their fourth children. Yowza. And welcome! to the new wee ones.
But, lest I neglect the young sprouts in my own home, let me fold a long-overdue Eldest birthday post into today's mumblings.
More to the point, however: The Eldest is five years old.
His birthday was on Sunday, which was a big family fest, complete with presents from everybody - hey, you - did you think I didn't notice? From everybody. The kid got loot, folks. And yes, I'm being extremely ungracious about this. Sigh. I had such hopes for this sort of thing, but I'm being defeated, year after year. I do so worry that he'll think that celebrations are defined by the stuff folks give you, rather than the folks themselves. It is very, very important to me that he value people for more than their gifting potential, that he see the significance of Grams and Gramps driving all the long long way from wherever to be there. The long drive (or, in the case of the j.i.c, the long flight with opinionated wee one) and the significance of that effort should not be overlooked for paper wrapped boxes. Oy. As I said, ungracious.
Happily, the birthday party wasn't all about 'what did you bring me?' We had a present swap, which went well (though I did have to explain that, no, the kids shouldn't open their presents at the party, lest comparisons happen - and go badly).
The kids made masks, paperbag puppets, joy painted small wriggly faces, and we had a sweet show where one by one, the smalls popped out of a curtain, bowed (were applauded) and then popped back in. Then, all emerged, sang "Happy Birthday" (I was reasonably confident that this they all knew), and were again enthusiastically applauded. There was glitter everywhere, and we're still finding bits in odd places. But it was good. Chaotic, tiring, but good. The food was good, too.
My thanks to all who contributed, whether in presence or in effort. Although next year, perhaps we might do without the sparklers?
Here is the Eldest's take on being five:
[name removed] is my friend, even though he hits me. I still love him. pause. Next time he hits me, I'll take him over to a bench, and we'll sit down. I'll say, 'let's figure out what we need to do to stop the hitting.' If a teacher comes over and tries to fix it, I'll say, 'no thanks! We're all right - we're going to figure this one out on our own.' Because that's what five year olds do.
I love that kid. He's something else. And, when I was busy oohing and ahhing over the Toddles' ability to, say, drool, he's been growing.
Today, the Eldest started and finished a 300 piece puzzle with me (birthday loot, no less), working steadily for nearly two hours on the thing. It was a wisely chosen puzzle, one of the galaxy, and the Eldest kept breaking off work to shout, oh! That's [obscure astronomical object]! I'd nod and continue talking about matching colors and patterns.
We read - together - When Sophie Gets Angry, Really, Really Angry, and he was recognizing words, sounding out new ones...finally showing the patience and curiosity needed to start reading.
Why am I surprised? This pattern analysis explains a lot about how he nailed me with this zinger, a week ago:
Mummy, I have to stop listening to you.
(me, breaking off, mid-enthuse) why?
Because you are talking too fast. (thoughtful pause) You also talk too fast when you are angry, and now my ears are tired of listening to you talk like that.
Hmm. I suppose I do talk quickly when I'm excited or when I'm angry. Thanks for pointing it out to me.
You're welcome. But now I have to turn my ears off.
and now, a wholly random thought:
MacDonald's has got something here: I want a site counter on my breasts, so that I can also say something like, 1 million meals served. Because I'm fairly certain they have been.