Thursday, August 20, 2009

Daniel's Amost-Nineth Birthday Party

There was no blogging for me yesterday because of Daniel’s 9th birthday party. He technically does not turn 9 until August 31st, but that is the first day of school, my return to work date and his big brother will be away at Heart Camp. So we bumped up his party day. He did not mind opening gifts, eating cake and being the star twelve days ahead of schedule.

Moms around the world will agree that kids grow up fast. The day to day business of feeding, disciplining, clothes washing and picking up after Daniel made it feel like time was snail crawling. But BAM! I took a step back and realized I am buying a cake and counting out nine candles. Nine. As in, one year away from double digits. Then I felt like most moms, thankful and blessed to watch my son grow-up, but a little sad knowing that every birthday party pulls him farther away from home.

Daniel’s star shines bright in my heart for different reasons than his big brothers. He was my first and last healthy baby. Every day with him gave me an appreciation of what it means to have your baby living at home, instead of a hospital.

I loved that he loved to eat. His brother could not eat, due to medical issues, and I think I overcompensated for this, enjoying feeding him as much as he enjoyed eating. When he was two I was preparing dinner, I gave him a taste. He munched a bite, swallowed, and commanded me, “Put it in a bowl!” That’s my Daniel!

This amazing child and I were so close because it was possible. There were no nurses or doctors, tubes, monitors or wires to get in our way and I again, overcompensated, and held him and cuddled him more than average, simply because I could. By the time he could walk he would follow me everywhere I went. I loved that he loved me so much; however, as he got older there were times I could trip over him because he was so physically close. One day I was on the phone with my sister and doing laundry. Daniel was under my feet and it sort of bugged me, as I was multitasking, and I confess, he was in the way. I explained this to my sister, saying “This kid is driving me nuts!” Daniel overheard me say that and blurted, “Nuts? I want nuts!” That’s my Daniel!

Partying nine-year-old style yesterday reminded me that he is no baby. The day started out with a cool marine layer. Thankfully, by 12:30 it had burned off and the sky was all sunshine. Every boy chose a water gun and wrote their name on it. I bought a lot helium balloons and drew targets on them, tying them in the plants that framed the pool. Boys love to shoot! The one rule was NO shooting the water gun at faces. Most obeyed.

We played “Daniel Bingo” (I am getting mileage out of partygamesatoz.com , check it out). I designed the words that would be scrambled and called on his personalized bingo cards. To help you understand unique Daniel, I will share some of the phrases I chose that associate with him: Third Grader, Loves to Bother Lucas, Lizard Lover, Goldie (his dog), Loves to Quad, Super Swimmer, Star Wards, Chocolate Milk, Pepperoni Pizza, Pretends to Blow Things up, Expert Lego Builder, Picks up Dog Poop, Arm Wrestler, Takes out the Trash, Adventure Guide Yukon and Loves Rollercoasters…..to name a handful. We played two games of”Daniel Bingo” and the ten boys loved it. It provided a nice break after lunch and allowed some digestion before everyone jumped back into the pool to compete in the Cannon Ball contest.

The forty-eight hours leading up to his party, Daniel begged me to allow him to open his gifts first-thing after all the guests arrived. He could not wait to get his hands on those presents! Total kid. I understood how excited he was, but explained that would be rude. We compromised and I let him open gifts in the middle of the party, instead of the very end. He was grateful, but I noticed, once the gifts were unwrapped, Daniel disconnected from the zoo-like atmosphere and studied his new lego boxes and gift cards all by himself. I had to drag him back to his birthday party!

The day was fun for all, but it did not go without a glitch. Amongst the organized chaos, I forgot to put Sunscreen on Daniel and his fair skin burned for the first time this summer. Another glitch was that our camera was on the wrong setting and when my husband videotaped everyone huddled around Dan, singing Happy Birthday, it came out a complete blur. Great audio, just blobs of people. Lastly, I had to put one child in time out. Three times I had to remind this renegade to stop shooting water in kids’ faces. The fourth time, he hit a kid in the cheek and turned looking straight at me to see if I caught him. I did. Busted.

The day was an exhausting Joy. Daniel had a great time and I have not seen much of him since we returned home. He’s transformed into an almost-nine-year-old-Lego-building-recluse.

Happy Birthday Sweet Daniel, I love you!

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