So we threw a birthday party for our middle kid this weekend and even though our birthday parties are reasonably modest affairs, at one point during the post-party lull, my husband added up the tab and we both just about fainted. But it was WORTH it, even though we've spent our grocery money for the next two weeks and will have to live on the canned stuff deemed unworthy in other, wealthier weeks. What is having dusty bamboo shoots for dinner compared to the joy of one's child?
My husband made that awesome Spongebob cake, of course. "I want to eat his fingers!" one of the guests said, yearningly. After the party, all that was left were Spongebob's feet. The Spongebob pinata also had a distressing fate – it had ribbons trailing from Spongebob's seat that supposedly would create a cascade of candy and junky toys when pulled, but instead resulted in a big fat nothing. So my husband went off in search of some sturdy scissors to do pinata surgery and while he was gone, the kids snapped off the pinata's arms and legs and started hitting Spongebob wildly with his own limbs, which sounds JUST like a scene in Lord of the Flies. My husband bravely waded into the sea of shrieking, flailing kids and lifted the pinata over their heads, thus ending the carnage.
I suspect this will be one of The Boy's last full-fledged birthday parties – already, several little boys sat out of some of the games, too cool to want to participate. Next year might see us just taking The Boy and a friend out to the movies, maybe, which is bittersweet in a way but also comes with a substantially lower risk of me getting hit in the head with a papier-mache leg. And just like that – whoosh – another part of childhood is over.
It happens fast, childhood and things ending. Later today, The Baby and I are going to a pre-kindergarten open house at the school, and even as she's blithely playing with play dough beside me right now, another huge part of childhood is quietly ending and it's poignant and somewhat rough on me, truthfully. But time does its job and my job is to be tough about it, I guess.
The Girl spent Saturday night at a sleepover and came home groggy and completely irritable and I made our St. Brigid's Day bread in the kitchen rather amused by her sullen crabbing. What is fun about parenthood is the way that kids stay so much the same, even as they get older – her personality now is very much her personality at ten months old, the way she can't handle being tired, her kind heart, a certain wary watchfulness in her – all of this is known to me and I can picture her easily as an adult, as a mother to her own children, the way she will both change and remain at once her true self, this person she has always been.
Today is Groundhog's Day – or Candlemas – and we're due for more winter, which doesn't surprise me. "Are you making manicotti tonight?" The Girl called out to me as she left this morning, and when I called back that I was, she and The Boy hurrahed and rushed off. And then The Baby and I went back inside, back into our house where the decorations from the weekend's birthday party – one of the last, maybe – were still hanging festively, celebrating time that has already passed and moved on.