Friday, March 21, 2008

Jack Turns Four!

Jack turned four on the 6th. It’s unbelievable that he’s already so old, and at the same time his infancy seems like eons ago. Since we didn’t sleep for the first year of his life, it’s understandable that we don’t remember much from 2004. Every year on their birthdays, I take a little trip down memory lane. It’s not as bad as Billy Crystal’s mother in that movie City Slickers, where she calls him every year on his birthday to tell him how many minutes old he is, but something like that. I thumb through the scrapbooks I did for their first birthdays, and I read the journals I kept while I was pregnant with them, and then sporadically for their first year. I also write a card to them with a photo of them on their birthday, and I stick the cards away in a sealed box for them to open on their 19th birthdays. So I re-read what I wrote on their previous birthdays, too. Then I blow my nose and go downstairs, back in my role of Cinderella, and in general take care of whatever crisis has arisen since I sequestered myself an hour before.
His birthday was on a Thursday this year, so we celebrated simply, with a meatball pizza (by request from the birthday boy even though he only ever picks off the meatballs and never eats the pizza so it seems like a colossal waste to order it for the 5 or 6 meatballs he actually consumes for his dinner) and cupcakes. He had a great day and enjoyed his presents very much. We had given him his big present (ski equipment) in February, but he still had several little things to open, so he was quite thrilled.
I was really struck by how old he looks in the face. I know what you’re thinking because he’s just a little guy, but I can really tell, though. He is still so physically small that people have actually doubted me when I tell them his age. As if I don’t know his age! I find myself defending him: “No, he really IS four” before I realize how ridiculous the argument is and steer it to another topic.
His party theme this year was Space. I asked him, did he want a rocket cake? And of course, he said no – he would like all the planets in the solar system. A week before his birthday I baked all the cakes in different size glass bowls and then froze them. The morning of his party I was icing all the cakes in different colours to match all the different planets. I even took a paintbrush to draw Earth’s continents in green icing on the blue-iced planet, until my sister pointed out how ridiculous I was being. Then Mike came upstairs and asked, “Is that Venus” and I came very close to smashing the darn thing into his face. I was most proud of Jupiter with its stormy red spot, and the much-maligned Earth (I even did Greenland and Australia – why could nobody SEE that?). He had invited three kids from preschool and four other close friends, plus his cousins and Ethan. The party was a big success, with a “toss the flying saucer” game, and a “stick the planet in the solar system” game. The highlight was the scavenger hunt for their goody bag items. I had made up a poem and they had to listen for the clues to figure out where their goodies would be. They got Mars bars, Starburst candy, Glow sticks, Alien eggs, Rockets candy and Glow-in-the-dark stars. We were exhausted when everyone left!
It was great to see Briana and Rob for the weekend, too. Liam and Kieran played very well with Ethan and Jack and they really enjoyed themselves. Briana and I got to play on Saturday night, too – we joined Jen, Sonia, Jas, Shannon and Jen at Breanne’s place to play Rock Band. It was a lot of fun, and we each took a turn on the four instruments. I discovered I can rock the guitar and the bass, too, although I still need a lot of help before I can get off Easy level on the drums. Vocals are still my favourite – I am onto Expert level singing at home. If you have ever heard me sing, you would be laughing at this point, but it's true - for one reason or another, I can kill these songs when I sing them on Rock Band...
Last night Marzia had a group of us girls over for dinner. Lori was in town for a visit and it was fantastic to see her again. I thought she looked wonderful despite the three-year struggle she has had with TTP, a very serious autoimmune blood disorder. She has come a long way since the early days of the diagnosis, since the steroids and the chemo and the plasma exchanges, since the shocking news that as recently as 20 years ago this diagnosis was 90% fatal. Marzia, Chantal, Lori, Michelle and I had a delicious dinner, champagne and wine, tiramisu and limoncello for dessert but the best part of the evening was being able to laugh like old times. We also had some interesting conversations about spirituality and alternative healing methods. It was a very enjoyable evening and I was sad to tear myself away at the end of the night. Hopefully Lori will be back again this summer, and we can spend more leisurely time together.
We’re looking forward to an appearance this weekend by the Easter bunny (because my kids sure do need more candy to add to their – ahem – energy) and a little more spring break next week. I am loving the sleep-in mornings although I am puzzled by the fact that the kids are sleeping later and also going to bed earlier. It is so hard to get them to bed at a decent hour on a school night, but they’re snoring by 8 o’clock every night in spring break. Go figure.
So go pig out on chocolate and jelly beans, everyone. Stay away from those nasty marshmallow Peeps, though – ew. Until next week!

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