Aside from the startling realization that my firstborn is now seven years old, I learned a few choice little things this week. Chief among those things was that having Smunch's birthday party two weeks before his actual birthday was totally inspired. Of course, I had no clue at the time, but when Smunch's real birthday rolled around on President's Day, it was mellow and so much fun!
All weekend, I'd been looking forward to Monday. I had some great birthday surprises planned that I knew Smunch would love. On the downside, President's Day was closely preceded by Valentine's Day (aka: another sugar overload) and also marked the beginning of Winter Break (aka: ski week). That meant we had two kids with horrendous behavior ALL weekend long. It took some of the joy out of my plans, but by Sunday night, I was looking forward to Monday morning again.
Thanks to one of my friends who knows about Smunch's love of sports, I was alerted to this awesome set of Major League Baseball bedding (thanks CSB!). I hatched a plan to surprise Smunch first thing by removing him from his bed in the middle of the night, hanging framed photos of his baseball heroes on his wall and changing all his bedding. The room went from this...to this...The ribbon on the center picture is because this is the only brand new one of the three. He was given the other two earlier, but we'd never hung them up. Lest you think we were banging on the wall, I actually did all the work of putting the nails in the wall while Smunch was at school a few days earlier. Once we were done, we brought him back from our bed to his.It'd be an exaggeration to say he didn't wake up at all, but he certainly went right back to sleep. I left a pack of baseball cards on the throw pillow at the end of his bed and then went to sleep, trying to keep one ear open for whenever he got up.
We missed the moment when he figured out that he had a brand new baseball room. I'm not sure if he was onto us from the beginning or if he noticed when he got up to pee around 4am. He said he didn't want to come in and tell us because he knows we like to sleep. Nice kid.
When he got up in the morning, Daddy and I both thought he hadn't noticed the new decor, but a little while later, we overheard him giving Mam a tour of his new baseball room, ripping into his baseball cards and telling her which team each player was from. He read all the team names from his new quilt to her. He was pretty psyched and it was awesome to hear.
Not surprisingly, I really wasn't up for making Smunch a fancy new cake. After his birthday party and my birthday, we'd had an awful lot of cake around the house already. Instead, I decided to take him (just him and me) to this place...and let him pick out seven cupcakes. It was so cute!And then...well, then I dragged my poor little birthday boy to exchange some clothes at J.Jill...which meant he had to wait around while I tried stuff on. The saleslady was super nice and offered us the handicapped dressing room, where Smunch laid down on the bench while I tried on clothes. After all the horrible behavior of the previous few days, it was unexpected and a huge relief. I got some new clothes and indulged in my serious shopping vice, stopping in Gymboree to see if they had a particular line of baby girl clothes on sale. They did and I managed not to buy anything. But...on the way out, I spotted these boy's pajamas...on sale!OMG. Smunch loved these and it was so much fun to just say "Hey, buddy. It's your birthday and you can totally have those." Besides, after all the effort put into the baseball room, who could resist some baseball jammies??
I got out of the mall with no more damage done. We went home, Gram and Grandpa came over for some present opening.Smunch got a new remote-controlled dinosaur, a motor for his erector set, a old-fashioned game of Battleship and a kit for a solar powered car. He loved it all. He didn't love that he had to stop playing with his new toys and go to a swim lesson...at least he didn't love it until he got there and found that you get a free cookie on your birthday!
As soon as we got home, we left again to meet Gram and Grandpa at Smunch's favorite Italian restaurant. Italian because Italian means noodles and he may never outgrow his ridiculous love of all things noodle.More than anything, though, he wanted the staff to make a big deal out of his birthday. It took some patient waiting, but I think he found it worth it. Don't you?Of course, he hardly needed a sundae with all those cupcakes at home. But it didn't stop him from digging into the chocolate marshmallow cupcake he'd picked out for himself.Before he went to bed, Daddy and I got an unsolicited big hug and "Thank you for my great birthday!" Couldn't ask for anything more than that.
There was no big party, no friends, not a lot of presents to unwrap, but I think this will go down as one of my favorite birthdays for my kids ever! Hopefully, Smunch will remember it that way too. Happy birthday, buddy!