Saturday, October 18, 2003

October 18 – Aidan’s 4th birthday party. Aidan tells me he is 3 ½ but almost 4 but that he won’t REALLY be 4 on the day of his party – he birthday is a few days later. I queried Aidan several times on his desired guest list. Fortunately he isn’t like a lot of kids who like to rattle off the names of everyone in his class. He had no problem at all keeping it down to a select few. Thomas & Zoe are still considered very close friends – although we see Zoe only a few times a year these days. They headed the list. Theo (and his 2 yr old sister Lillian) were next – Theo and Aidan are 2 peas in a pod at school – by far his best friend. Theo also lives a half block from school and we have stopped off there a few times after school recently – which is now becoming almost a daily request. Ella Baker was requested although I wasn’t really that aware of them being good buddies – but I think they play well together. She moved to the morning program but has just added back Friday afternoon with us (my teaching day). And Zoe of Henry and Zoe (and Henry) were requested. Interesting to me that I think he has a preference for Zoe although again I never see him play with her – but perhaps that is because they don’t go to school on Friday. Cammie was also invited – she seems to be liked by a lot of kids at school – she seems very sweet – and her parents are unbelievably welcoming and seem to have at least one school friend & family over for dinner each week. We invited our friend Cassie but she was busy. That is it.

Pete had ruled out the school as a birthday locale. I thought perhaps Acrosports with Thomas might be fun – but after attending another party Sarah ruled that one out. Hmm – what should we do. Should we bite the bullet and host it here?! How many little kids would be wreaking havoc? I thought perhaps we could get Cousin Jeff to come and do sing-a-long with the kids – he picked up my guitar at Quincy & Ellie’s 1 yr party here last year and the kids were entranced. Too bad he was busy. Next thought – let’s have a Cooking Party. The kids love any cooking project at school and both boys love any cooking we do at home – either real or pretend. We already had 2 aprons and I knew some friends had some too. I ordered real, adjustable, paper chefs hats through the internet (thank you google or was it froogle?). And on that day I was working at school helping clear out the basement I ran across 5 or 6 old kids aprons – score! Now to figure out the logistics… I decided to let the kids divide into 4 groups of 2 or 3 and each group make something for us all to eat. Then afterwards the real fun would be decorating cookies. First “course” was Chex mix – add 2 more cereals, some cashews, pretzels, honey roasted peanuts and I think we have a winner – measure, pour and mix – hard work and quite rewarding for 4 yr olds. Next comes the fruit salad. Cutting is a skill they like to work hard at to master. OK let’s cut up some melon, and cut, and cut. Add apples, blueberries, grapes (pluck ‘em off the stem 1st), oranges & pineapple, cut some bananas and toss. Try to keep it in the bowl… Pasta salad time – to the corkscrew pasta add 2 containers of pesto, pine nuts, sun dried tomatoes, and grated parmesan. Stir as best you can and try hard to keep it in the bowl. Eat stray noodles. Last item was intended for Quincy & Lillian but soon became a free for all – jello jigglers – firm jello you cut with cookie cutters. I think 8 little bodies would have been content to do vulture imitations around the 11”x13” if I had let them!

I had just enough seats (as Quincy got his high chair and Millie got her Dad’s lap) for the kids. Adults were left to fend for themselves. The food was pretty good. But at least 3 kids had gooey noses and despite insistence on handwashing before “cooking” I am sure germs were freely spread. It was nice to watch – the kids did a pretty good job of having a decent lunch.

After lunch we went on the landing and played a little “pin the nose on the pumpkin”. They all wore the blindfold – and I for one couldn’t see anything out from under it. I had located the pumpkin at the right height with Aidan’s assistance in the a.m. (he REALLY wanted to help get ready for the party). He also took a couple of practice tries. I spun each kid 3 times then set them straight and gave them a push. They only had about 3 or 4 feet to go but they all (with exception of Lilly) were within about 3” of the center of the pumpkin. The adults were joking that it would have been much more entertaining to let the adults try to do it. The kids seemed to like it though. I had another game but didn’t bother getting it out as it doesn’t work that well – the spider dangles and catches bugs with the Velcro on the bottom of its legs – but the legs often catch each other…

Back to the table for cookie decorating. A time that I think a lot of us adults cringed. A time of excess. How many sprinkles can you pile on one cookie? About ½” worth in some cases! I gave each kid their own icing and left them select a color to add and they each picked a couple of cookies. I was surprised that with one exception all kids picked pink or green frosting. I finally had one request for blue. Aidan went with pink although later used some green and blue. A couple of kids just wanted to eat the sprinkles and icing when they were done. Too bad as by far the best part was the cookie – I have a new recipe that makes beautiful cookie cutter cookies as well as tasting really good. I had the babysitter make up this batch yesterday while Quincy slept and Aidan & I were off at school. Aidan selected which of our 100 cookie cutters to use…

Then it was time for cake. Aidan had asked for CAKE not cupcakes this year. What flavor – vanilla. Hmm. I asked if he wanted an ice cream cake – YES! Flavor? Vanilla, strawberry & chocolate. Hmm – I’ll ask again another day… He agreed that mint chocolate chip and regular chocolate chip sounded pretty nifty. I ordered it up from Ben & Jerry’s. It was very good. I brought it right to the table from the freezer and tried to use my slicing / carving knife for the job – it was having trouble – so I had to go back for my 9” chef knife – it was up to the task. The kids were so quiet while they ate. It was so nice! Of course before we could eat we had to have candle blowing out time. Aidan had come to me early in the morning and told me that he didn’t want people to sing happy birthday to him at his party. Both Pete and I at various times tried to reason with him but he stayed firm in NOT wanting a song. When the time came he reminded me and I asked everyone not to sing. We weren’t even allowed to count 1, 2, 3, 4. But he blew out the candles happily enough. I had funny curly candles that were very skinny (he picked them out). The cake was too firm to poke them in! I finally made little hole with the back of the match which worked perfectly.

I had decided to play the present opening thing by ear – some kids take them home to open, some get to open one a day, some open them all at the party. Aidan decided he wanted to open them at the party and I agreed. I was off looking for something and came back and had missed a couple presents! I had cleared the table off and had thought we would do it there but the kids just plunked down on the landing with only one adult in sight and went at it. Thomas said he wanted to help Aidan open his presents – and did so. Normally Aidan is a very slow opener but I think having help kept things moving at a fast clip. He has only really gotten 2 of the presents actually out of their boxes and played with them. Zoe gave him (like she gave Thomas) – a tool set. A big hit. Quincy was enjoying them too – I couldn’t find my camera in time to get Quincy and Aidan pretend screwing something onto a kitchen cabinet with Aidan & Pete wearing kitchen gloves, and Pete using the saw on anything he could think of – like Quincy’s thigh. It was pretty cute. Quincy gets right in there with his brother. Good thing for the most part they are very good friends. 2nd toy to be really enjoyed – the Brio ambulance train for our train track. Came with 2 “cars” – the first one for the driver and the 2nd for the patient (it came with the 2 people too). Quincy really didn’t want to part with them esp as it makes ambulance sounds. Aidan was pretty darn good about sharing. We also got 2 little pieces of track that can be used to make funky transitions when your tracks don’t line up. Both kids liked all the pictures on the box and somehow thought that the little box contained several trains and a lot of track! Aidan is not so sure about the pieces but Sara really got them for me anyway…

Well that about wrapped up the party. Aidan handed out the goodie bags and people left en mass. The party started at 11 a.m. and I think most people left perhaps around 2.30. Ella had come late (from another party – just in time for cookies and cake) so she stayed a little bit after the others left which was nice. Pete and I did a little cleaning but the place wasn’t too badly off. He then took the boys off to the Exploritorium at around 4 while I did a bit more clean up and then put my feet up for a bit. Nice. Both boys have not gotten enough sleep the last few days so we aimed for an early bedtime. That ended up being 8 for Aidan and after 9 for Quincy which isn’t really much earlier than usual. Aidan was quite a little bear at bedtime thanks to being over tired. Quincy just won’t go to bed for me at all unless I stay in bed with him – he cries and cries even if I try to sit in the doorway and read. Somehow he is willing to go to bed with Pete in the doorway. Oh well. And he still doesn’t sleep through the night… Well it is late here – I will post and head off to bed myself now.

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