Tuesday, March 11, 2014

mothering sound byte: on the girl's birthday eve

When we began our birthday tradition, I never thought or even expected that the children would care to be involved in any of the birthday eve preparations. 

The week before the girl's birthday, this boy was relentless in talking me into letting him stay up so he can help bake the cake and decorate the house.

I didn't take him literally. 

I let him stay up on the girl's birthday eve - intending to put him straight to bed the moment he got grouchy signs of toddler fatigue struck (wishfully thinking this would be a maximum of an hour after the girl went down).

The next thing I know, I'm in the kitchen, gathering ingredients and reading from a recipe - when I realized - I wasn't doing any of the baking. The boy was doing nearly all of it. I remember blinking, then thinking, "my goodness - he's baking his sister's cake!" He's baking his sister's cake! This boy who is really only kind to his sister half the time, is baking his sister's cake and doing a really good job scraping down that bowl!

It was like I took an instant joy elixir! I turned to him and squealed, "You're baking your sister's cake! All by yourself! Oh my goodness I'm so proud of you!" I think I hugged him or kissed him or snarfed the top of his head or something. I may or may not have also startled him. He responded by half rolling his eyes, giving me a look, then saying, "don't get happy!" At which point he turned back to his work. 

I howled, tears in my eyes, a smile so wide my face disappeared. "Shhhh! You're going to wake up [the girl!]" he says. 

When I told the wife of this exchange, she responded with, "how is he already 17?"

The boy stayed up until midnight and we all worked together to get the house birthday ready.

He was mostly helping. 

We knew we would pay for it the next day. And we did. Toddlers aren't meant to stay up until midnight. He's not actually 17 (thank goodness!). So we were totally prepared to deal with the wrath of the boy who got too little sleep. We were all calm and light to his irritability (which probably made him a bit more irritable but we got hugs and some smiles back in return).

He baked his sister's cake. 

He helped us make magic. 

He added to the tradition.

Sorry kid, this is kind of stuff that gets me squeally happy.

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