Zoomboy turns eight on Tuesday, but this weekend was his "party day." Last year we did the Chuck E. Cheese thing--but I didn't want to do that this year. For one thing, it's expensive, and for another? Zoomboy really only has a few good friends. He relates to one or two kids really well, but is lost in a group. I'm like this, and so is his father, and I fervently believe that this is OKAY. One of Zoomboy's best birthdays ever simply had his family. He got one really awesome toy and spent two hours playing with it under the kitchen table. When I said we could have a birthday day with is best friend and his little sister, he was ecstatic. We went to the zoo and saw a movie and then came home for pizza, more playing, and cake and ice cream--and he was pretty damned excited about that--can you tell?
Anyway, so this was the zoo--and I'm sorry about the fingerprint on the camera when I took these--it seems that playing Angry Birds on the phone requires greasy fingers in all sorts of places you would not imagine they need to be!
Anyway, so this was only really part of the Birthday. While I was shepherding kids through lands of primates, big cats, and reptiles (ZB's friend's favorite place!) The rest of the family was doing this:
Okay, so it looks like they were making a big fat mess in our living room. But they weren't--well, they were, but they weren't JUST making a big fat mess. See, that big fat mess in our living room (which is still there by the way) USED to be a big, fat, mess in the KID'S room--and that's rough. Lots of toys, no place to play--and it wasn't the kids' fault really. Their room is REALLY REALLY small. In fact, Squish's bed (which she never slept in because it was covered in stuffed animals) was really her converted crib. So there was this room, and all of these books and all of these toys, and no place really for two little kids who can actually play quietly and amuse themselves if they're just given a little space. So, while I was taking the kids out to play, Mate and the big kids were providing a little space.
I know--it still looks messy--and we still have to sort the toys in the living room and get rid of a lot of them. But this? This is a start. It's an assembled bunked, and the kids will get to pick some stuffed animals to go on top, and a bin of toys a piece to go in the spaces between. But the one thing we're not getting rid of (and you can only guess at it) is the big lovely rug full of space for them to play on when they need to. It's amazing how often we forget that space is a gift. And this year, it was our gift to Zoomboy--who was also appreciative of the bunk bed. Cause he thinks it's cool--and so does Squish, who gets the bottom bunk all to herself. (She needs a bed to herself--her typical sleep position is one we call the "fainting starfish"--draw that picture in your head and ask yourself if you really want to be anywhere near that when it snores. And yes, she snores. The other night she fell asleep on her father's lap and competed with the dog. Mate said, "Oh listen--she's just like her mother." plllbbbttt.)
And speaking of Squish? After we dropped Zoomboy's friend off (he spent the night--another first, because for the first time we had room!) we went and got new shoes for the kids. Zoomboy got your basic model tennis shoe--the strap is different and so is the velcro, but boy's tennis shoes haven't really changed in function in the last sixty years.
Squish's shoes on the other hand... She saw these across the store. The toes light up. She put them on and said, "Do I look good?"
I'm just lucky she still asks. This morning I started singing "These Boots Are Made for Walking" by RoseAnne Cash, and she strutted around the kitchen. Don't mess with a girl in sparkly toed boots--it's a truism!
So anyway-- that was my weekend, and I'm exhausted. But pleased. My children have a place to play--and my family worked toward a worthy goal, and Zoomboy is eight. I'm so proud.