Here’s the song reference.
Bugaboo’s fifth birthday was an absolute riot of activity and good cheer. Time constraints will not permit me to go into a lot of detail, but if a picture really does say a thousand words, you’ll find the equivalent of War and Peace in the gallery.
Our day began well before 7:00, as both Bugaboo and Beanie were far too excited to sleep, and by the time Daddy left for work at 7:45, Bugaboo had opened all her gifts and was cheerfully playing with a few new toys. We did “theme boxes” for her; she likes Tinkerbell, Strawberry Shortcake, Spider-Man and Transformers, so she had one box for each. Each box had a small toy or two (except the Transformers one, which had a big Optimus Prime voice-changing helmet) and a quartet of books about the character. She also received her first watch, which caused her to exclaim, “I must really be a big girl now!”
Grandma arrived about a half-hour after Daddy left, bearing with her a new scooter (and a helmet — Grandma worked in emergency x-ray for almost 50 years and has rather strong opinions about kids, wheels, and helmets), along with some snacks and crafts for all of her grandbabies to share. Suncatchers were painted, scratch art cards were scratched, and then everything chewable by Smudgie was hurriedly stowed for our weekly trip to the farm.
We passed a pleasant hour playing at the farm before I retrieved our big box of vegetables, made a quick stop at home to drop off the box (which also contained a half-dozen of the biggest eggs I’ve ever seen), then headed for the tribe’s favorite unhealthy lunch spot, Big Yellow M. Grandma rode herd on the tribe in the play area while I waited in line for the food. As I stood there, my mother suddenly appeared beside me and thrust Baby Guy into my arms, then turned and rushed back to the play area. I figured Baby Guy had gotten a little too wiggly, but then I heard the unmistakeable shriek of a frightened Mr. Man. Casting about quickly to see what had happened, I spied Grandma spryly climbing the webbed-in steps of the kid Habitrail, where Mr. Man had become lost. Bugaboo scampered past Grandma and played tour guide, and, after I had plunked our tray down on a table and secured Baby Guy in a high chair with a small pile of fries, Grandma and I switched places, as she discovered that there’s a bit of a trick to getting Mr. Man out of the Habitrail without injury to anyone. We roundly praised Bugaboo for being such a caring and brave big sister, I gave Grandma mad props for getting into the Habitrail, and Mr. Man, after a little chocolate milk and a couple of fries, decided that he still likes Big Yellow M just fine.
After that, it was definitely time to head home for a nap. Baby Guy, Mr. Man, and Beanie all went to sleep after brief protestations, but Bugaboo kept wandering out to make sure nothing else interesting was happening. After about an hour, Grandma left to go check in to her hotel, and Bugaboo came back down the hall to see if, perhaps, maybe, there might be the tiniest chance that she could watch a little bit of TV to relax. One “Tom and Jerry,” one “Puppy in My Pocket,” one “Mr. Men Show (during which she was joined by Beanie),” and one “Super Hero Squad” later, the rest of the tribe was awake, Grandma had returned, Daddy was on his way home from work, and Mommy was bustling about the kitchen trying to get dinner on the table at 5:00, which was when we had told Nonno and Deedaw (who were bringing little cousin Dubs with them).
One of our house customs is that if it is your birthday, you get to choose the menu. Bugaboo decided that she wanted steak, macaroni and cheese, carrots, and bread for her feast, so at least there wasn’t any terribly difficult prep work involved. Grandma did an heroic job of keeping the kids clear of the kitchen while I worked. Nonno and Deedaw ran a little late, so by the time they arrived, we had fed the tribe and thus did not have to play musical chairs (we can seat eight at our kitchen table — ten poses quite the logistical problem). As it happened, Nonno and Deedaw arrived with Dubs not long after Bugaboo, Beanie and Mr. Man had cleaned their plates, and thus were met by an excited birthday girl who was wildly curious about the contents of the brightly colored bags her paternal grandparents had brought. To her very great credit, she shared all of her birthday toys with all of her siblings and her wee cousin, too, even the much-desired actually-transforming-Transformers she received from Nonno and Deedaw.
Once the adults and Dubs had eaten, and Baby Guy had polished off a second helping of macaroni, we cleared the table for singing and cake. While we were putting the food away, Mr. Man ambled in and began requesting art supplies. There is a special kind of chaos that attends a two year old boy using paint and markers while his parents are trying to put away food and wash dishes. After we had sung “Happy Birthday” to Bugaboo and passed around slices of cake, we discovered that adding frosting to the aforementioned two-year old boy is something that has to be seen, because there are no words in any language that adequately describe the resultant mess — or at least none that I could use in this blog.
After all the grandparents left in a flurry of hugs and kisses, we tucked in the boys and let the girls stay up a few extra minutes for an extended storytime (sort of mandatory when one has almost 20 new books). As we tucked her into her bed, Bugaboo declared she had “the absolute best and most awesomest birthday ever!”
Today’s prayer: Lord, thank You for five years of Bugaboo, for her wit, beauty, and kindness. Thank You for the large and loving family with which You have blessed her. Please help us all raise her into a woman who will be a joy to her family and to You.