Monday, August 3, 2009

Happy Birthday, Ben!

I can't believe that Ben was born seven years ago today! If having kids has taught me anything, it's that all the old ladies I used to hate--you know the ones, they pinch cheeks and exclaim how fast you've grown up--were absolutely correct. Time flies, babies grow and before you know it they are gap-toothed kids with scabs on their knees who know how to tell time and multiply and write in cursive. Of course I still remember being pregnant, I still remember the day he was born, how his neck smelled, how he looked up at me with his big brown eyes, his tiny mouth always nursing. I still remember him learning how to sit, how to crawl, how to walk. I still remember how he'd say "Wa yelcome!" rather than "You're welcome!" I still remember how he was fascinated by Matt's boss and friend Tony when he was a toddler. Matt and Tony played softball on the same team and we'd go watch the games--Ben was fascinated, and eventually decided that his name was Tony, too. If I'd call him Ben, he'd say, "Me not Ben, me Tony!" If I asked him if he was hungry, he'd say, "Me not hungry--me Tony!" And now he's at the age of reason, playing chess, loving math, knowing all the trivia a boy's head can hold. Of course I am happy to see him growing up so well-- but at the same time I have to admit a twinge of sadness to see my boy get bigger every day!

Sentimental rant--check.

Now for the day. It was a really nice one, though Matt had to go to work. (He surprised us by coming home at 4:30, though, so that was fine.) We always let the birthday child have one gift in the morning--we like to have the whole family around, but with Matt going to work and at least Rachel and I still asleep while he's still here, it only works when a birthday is on the weekend. So the gift Ben opened was a multipack of water guns, each with its own special shooting action. One has 3 nozzles, one has pump action, one has a rotating spray...I forget the other one, but they had fun playing! (And, I know, guns are bad etc., but honestly, I don't count water guns!)

Rachel went out with a friend, so Julia, Ben & Emma played one of their super duper pretend games until our friends came over to play, bringing ice cream cookie sandwiches and some wonderful gifts, including a handmade mobile for Ben with a knight and castle theme--she drew each of us as knights, with Ben as the commander, of course. He loves it, and we've put it on the chandelier over the dining room table for people to enjoy for the next few days/weeks (we'll see how many times we bump into it!) Then Julia and her friend had a library program, so Rachel stayed with Ben & Emma and we mamas went to the library and had a nice hour chatting while the girls did their thing. By the time we got home, Matt was right behind us, so Ben opened the rest of his gifts.

He got a watch (and I made sure, per his request, that it was NOT digital...but I couldn't find one with a Roman Numeral face, even in adult watches. He graciously forgave me!) which he put on right away, and told us the time about every three minutes for the rest of the day. He got dinosaur summer pajamas--with shorts. He'd informed me last week that he really wanted more pjs that were shorts instead of pants, because he only had one pair. I bought him a pair at Target, but when I was birthday shopping I figured he'd like another--and he did. He was as excited about those pjs as any of his other gifts, and put them on right after his shower before bed and showed everyone how nice they are. He also got a wooden cribbage set...he adores board games, especially ones with strategy involved, but we have so many games that I always find it hard to buy more. However, when I saw this I realized we didn't have it and because it's a classic game he should know how to play it...something else he can beat me at! :)

We went out for Indian food at a new restaurant in town, which I jokingly say Matt tricked him into....the kids like Indian food, but it probably wouldn't be their first choice of cuisine. However, I mentioned to Matt that this restaurant opened, and soon after told Ben he'd need to decide what he wanted for his birthday dinner--if I needed ingredients I'd need time to get to the grocery store, after all. We don't always go out for birthdays, because often the kids will want something like homemade pizza, spaghetti and meatballs, or the absolutely fabulous homemade Chinese dumplings that we make...but if they say they want to go out, we usually will. Well, Matt then asked Ben if he wanted to try the new Indian place, and Ben, being Ben and pretty agreeable, said "Sure!" We had a feast--naan, dal, chicken tikka, lamb biryani, chicken kebabs, salad, mango lassis, basmati rice galore....they even brought out dessert for us (which we hadn't ordered) of a sweet coconut rice with golden raisins and plums. We were stuffed--but still managed to find room for a bit of birthday cake when we got home! Ben chose vanilla with strawberry frosting, which I improvised, making buttercream and using strawberry jam that we made in June after strawberry picking.

We'd planned a game or three of cribbage before bed, but that plan was foiled when we couldn't make heads or tails of the directions that came with the game--talk about poorly written! I went to You Tube, remembering my success with crochet after watching videos, but unfortunately, none of the videos I found made much more sense, because they were either explaining the rules or showing people play the game--just not both at the same time! Would it be so hard to play an open hand, explaining why you play each card and showing the strategy involved? But no. So tomorrow I will have to find the rules online and try to match them up with these videos.....

All in all, I think Ben had a fun birthday. And he and Emma are very lucky, because they usually get to celebrate three times--once on their actual days, once when our friend Jenn visits from North Carolina and we have a kid birthday party, and once when we have the extended family for a big party and barbecue. Seven years old.....happy birthday to my sweet, sweet boy!


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