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Let the good times roll – even when it doesn’t seem that way

Submitted by on Thursday, 5 March 2009 No Comment

img_1941How can a kid seem to be so miserable while something’s going on, only to look back at it as the time of his life minutes after it ends?

Maybe it’s just my guys and a tendency inherited from their dad.

Him: Remember that year we went over to a game in San Francisco for your birthday?

Me: Yeah, you griped the whole time we were there.

Him: Really? I was having fun.

Me: (Head explodes)

My head nearly exploded again yesterday, as the guys whined, griped and growled through two hours at our local library.

The event was a Dr. Seuss Birthday Party the guys had been looking forward to for two weeks. Storytelling, an art project and a cake were scheduled.

Big Guy is old enough to get that it wasn’t going to be a “real” birthday party, with a pinata, presents and crazy hats. I spent two days building down Boots’ expectations so he wouldn’t think he was going to see those things.

I failed.

“Don’t wanna hear story!” Boots complained. “Wanna have a party!”

I never could convince him that “Mr. Brown Can Moo” was part of the party, but at least his downgraded the wails to whimpers.

Problem was, at least 50 other kids in the room felt the same way Boots did. The other 50 – the ones closer to Big Guy’s age – shared that opinion, but instead of loudly protesting, they demonstrated their displeasure by scampering around in pursuit of other entertainment.

My head throbbed as I teetered toward “you are going to sit, listen to this story and like it, dang it.”

It wasn’t all their fault. The library is small and cramped for a city this size, with bad acoustics too. Nor do I blame the librarians for trying – the place is about books, after all. But I will admit the story, with audience participation that only a fraction of the huge crowd could participate in, did go on a bit.

Next came the projects – funky-cool glasses made from poster board, cellophane, feathers and foamies. This Boots could at least grasp. This was closer to his definition of “party.”

Sadly, Big Guy still had another working definition, preferring to trail older cousins through the room than do the project. Until he saw how funky-cool Boots’ glasses turned out. Just as his brother was finishing, Big Guy had to do a project too.

My head throbbed again, but I avoided growling “you goof around for a half hour and now you want to do a craft?”

Big Guy’s glasses complete, we left the project table to join the line for cake. The very, very long line for cake. A stunningly long line considering how cramped and small the library is. Did the building expand just for the purpose of torturing parents whose brains were bulging out their ears by then?

This time, Big Guy thought he was one up on Boots. I knew Big Guy wouldn’t be able to eat the cake, so we’d brought a treat for him.

“Why do I have to wait? Can’t I just eat my cookies now?” he asked.

“Cake! Cake! I want cake-y!” Boots stomped.

I cursed the tiny purse I carried. No room for Motrin in there.

We faced another calamity as we neared the cake. There was chocolate and vanilla. Oh my God! Boots would have to make a choice. I wondered vaguely if I could slink off to the side and let my cranium erupt. Buttercream topped with brain matter is not a good flavor combination, not to mention a biohazard.

img_1943Three days later – or so it seemed – Boots had his cake, Big Guy had his cookies and all was better with their world. My world still needed Motrin, but at least the head-explosion threat had subsided.

They ate the snack without doing too much damage to the carpet, we checked out their books and we were off.

“Mommy, that was fun!  Can we go again next year?” Big Guy asked.

“That was the best birthday party ever,” Boots added.

Yes, I suppose it was the best birthday party ever held in a library on March 4, 2009. Even if Boots’ project did make him look like Elton John at Mardi Gras. Even if both guys gave credible impressions of being totally miserable at some point during the event.

Hours and much Motrin later, I still don’t get how that happens. But I’m trying to quit thinking about it. The Motrin stock is running low.

Copyright 2009 Debra Legg. All rights reserved.

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