Jack Peter went to the haunted house at the Eastern State Penitentiary last night. His best friend's family took him. It's supposed to be REALLY terrifying. I dispelled the apparition of a a whining Jack Peter running into our room at all hours until he goes to college, and I agreed with some trepidation. When I was small, I went into a cheesy haunted house at a little traveling fair in Manchester-by-the-sea. It featured a poorly-executed paper mache hand coming out of a toilet which plagues me to this day. I used to pee so fast in the night, and then I'd hit the threshold of my bedroom from the hall and hurl myself the remaining 5 feet into my bed. I was trying to avoid the snakes and lobsters my Dad told me were under my bed. It was a similar thing to walking on the cracks on the sidewalk. I knew and know that treading on them will not, in fact, break Susie's back, but I still avoid them if I can.
I brought him home in the Mini cooper. It's rare that we sit side-by-side in a car. Rare because it's illegal, but it made for an intimate conversation. He told me that it was THE BEST thing he'd ever done in his life. At some point after exhaustive descriptions of toilets and zombies he said, "I am going to give Steel a big hug when I get home!" "Why? She's going to be asleep anyway." "Because she gave me this dinosaur egg necklace." Toby just had a MASSIVE birthday party to ring in her 5th year. There were 27 children there. I only know this because we had it at a tumbling place where you pay per kid. Somehow the 3 tumbling attendants managed a believable head count. I didn't notice that Toby had left the tumbling melee to rip open all of her presents saving me the trouble of pretending I was going to keep track and write thank-you notes. I always write mean texts to moms who send thank-yous. It's clear that they are all trying to make me feel like the wretched example that I am. She got so many presents that Steel had to step in and help her by taking all of the coolest ones. Steel had given JP permission to wear one of the prize beads in a make-your-own necklace kit. He was positive that the bead had saved him from something at the haunted house. Pissing himself? crying? puking?
The girls were not asleep when we got back. They had jerry rigged a blanket into a functioning hammock by weaving it into the wire frame of the top bunk of the bunk bed. It could hold both of them without failing, so it was a pretty impressive engineering feat, but I was not going to let either or both of them sleep in it. They asked as soon as Jack Peter and I tip-toed into the room. We're definitely at the stage that kids ask until they get the answer they want to hear. If the mailman tells them they can have time on the iPad, it trumps any previous negative reactions to the query from parents, uncles and grandparents. Tim had told them no, so they were going to try it on with me. Jack Peter summoned Steel from the bed. She got out, and he gave her a massive hug. A visible jolt of pure ecstasy rippled through Steel's body as she returned his affection. I know that we all worship the ground each other walks on, but to see such a tangible manifestation of their mutual love was pure joy for me. He told her that the "egg" had saved him. She looked at him through her very few teeth and said, "Huh?" Literally, She said, "Huh?" He explained, and she nodded attempting to exude an omniscient aura that would say, "Yes, that's why I stole that from Toby and let you wear it.."
It's so lovely that Toby's favorite presents are from both of her Grandmothers. The horse is from Carol, and the skirts (turned horse blankets) are from Susie. I've mentioned before that my kids are a hideous combination. One loves legos and pokemon cards. One loves crafts...especially beads and rainbow loom bands, and one loves MASSIVE things like horses, strollers, doll beds, rocking horses, swing sets and chairs. The end result is that there is big and little shit everywhere in our house.
JP got a massive bowl of bacon...Toby gets a massive bowl of "wacamole. " Sadly she no longer calls it that...sniff :(
Toby's birthday was a blur. The most remarkable part of the night for me was Tim's entrance with the cake wreck. I had made 4 sheets of Duncan Hines vanilla cake. They were cooked to perfection because now we have a really cheap GE oven/stove that not only lights every burner on the stove but actually maintains an even temperature throughout the oven. Our previous super-expensive stove did neither. I am having the same relationship with my cheap GE dishwasher. It takes an hour and cleans our dishes as opposed to the Miele, Bosch and fancy Spanish ones that took 5 hours to not clean our dishes, and the Bosch one required that I lay each piece of flatware individually on an annoying 3rd rack at the top. I don't arrange flatware in the drawer. I can't tell you how much it annoyed me to have to arrange it for the fucking dishwasher. Anyway, I'd organized the whole party and made all the food. Tim was going to decorate the cake with the kids and get the cake and the kids to the party. I still don't know what happened, but the buttercream mortar did not hold. Neither Toby nor I care about things like that, so it wasn't a crisis, but my poor Virgo husband was so MAD. Little did he know that his cake wreck would create my favorite part of the night. A wrecked cake is an obvious invitation to sneak a bit. Kids will only do what they think they can get away with, so every kid who passed by this cake took fingers full way before the birthday song. Watching this little girl, Sylvia furtively cover herself in cake actually took the cake. Initially she put a dainty index finger full of buttercream on her lips like lip gloss. That was so sensually pleasing that she allowed herself 3 fingers full on the next pass. I so wish I'd been filming, but I was as mesmerized by watching her as she was by slowly, but surely, covering herself in butter cream frosting.
These stills are great, but they don't show how far she went....
This birthday marks the end of an era....I somehow got ahold of this plastic food transporting thing. It could perfectly hold 30 of any pastry. 30 is the magic number at daycare. 30 is also the magic number at school if you count teacher and teaching assistant, but my kids' school doesn't allow sweets, so my days of making and transporting 30 sweets for a birthday are officially over. Tim's joy at not having this object anywhere in the house is probably more powerful than my sadness that the "making cupcakes for the class on birthdays is over." I've replaced it with our new tupperware system...Mr. Lids. Thank you, cousin Patty. My marriage has been saved by my husband's newfound acumen with food storage.
Toby really knows how to dress for the birthday chair. I thought she'd come home looking like Courtney Love after the Rainbow cupcakes, but some wise teacher made her change into a more sensible ensemble for the reception of her turning-5 event.
I don't have images of Toby doing amazing tumbling feats in her new golden tutu that nanny got her for her party, but I do have this image of her in her birthday crown. The other day she was lamenting that she only had a turning-4 birthday crown (She's worn it regularly for the entire year) As she was complaining, I received the RSVP from the crown maker asking what Toby would want for her turning-5 birthday. That sort of serendipity makes me so happy.
I also love the serendipity of someone catching Tim looking very manly in the piñata chaos.
JP was the one to break it open. Watch out Mt. Airy baseball....