Today I took the boys to a triple birthday party, for Erin, Allison and Kate. Erin's birthday is only a few weeks after her twin sisters' birthday, so their parents combined it into one big mondo party.
And what a party it was! Lots of great kid food, a jump house, and the unexpected hit of the party: the fabulous face painter. At first, neither Gabriel nor Julian would have anything to do with it, but eventually, Gabriel decided he wanted it and waited patiently for about half an hour. Meantime, he chatted with other kids and hung out and had fun, so nothing was lost.
Julian almost went into the jump house, especially when he saw his new buds Kate and Allison joyfully and fearlessly bouncing around. I volunteered to take him in, he got his shoes off and I climbed in, but at the last minute, he bailed. He's never liked jump houses, even now, when he's pushing 4!
When we got home, Gabriel wanted to tell his cousin Aidan about his dragon face, so we practiced a new skill: phone manners. He called Dave last Friday, but first we rehearsed the routine, as we did again today. After rehearsing, he got the phone, turned it on, dialed as I recited the phone number (and today that included a little tutorial about area codes), and then prepared to talk...except that we mostly got answering machines. After leaving messages all around about his face painting, we got Aunt Laura live, and he was thrilled to tell her all about it.
This morning, Gabriel also helped me make Dad's scrambled eggs for breakfast. I let him do more and more things, realizing that I'm really underestimating what a 5-1/2-year-old can do. Some of what I have him do is inspired by hearing about kids younger than he is doing them (such as cracking eggs), and some of it is inspired by envisioning the day when Gabriel makes the scrambled eggs entirely on his own!! That'll have to wait until he can reach the stove though.
Meantime, he can get the eggs from the fridge, take them out of the carton, put the carton back, get a bowl, and (with me hawking over him), crack the eggs and open them and dump the contents into the bowl and throw away the shells. Then he can pour the milk in (next time he can measure it himself too), season the eggs, and mix it up with a whisk. I love his enthusiasm for helping me, and I love teaching him and working with him. We laugh a lot together. Who knows, maybe he'll be a chef someday! (And if he ever is, people will start to wonder who his father really is....)
I was glad to be outside today for a party, distracted and in the outside air, and without the intense effort of keeping a crawling baby from being stepped on. (Katrina had a grand time with Dad at home, including a trip to a nearby playground and about 50 trips down a slide, Dad reports.) For the 3rd day, I've been skirting a bad migraine, without too much pain yet, but with other symptoms that are increasingly disturbing: nightmares, sharp irritability, even depression. I went through many hours yesterday of feeling despondent and hopeless about my life, while at the same time knowing I don't actually see it that way. It's a little like what amputees report feeling with phantom pain in a lost limb: they feel pain in their missing foot even though they know their foot doesn't actually hurt. It's frightening to wonder if someday the feeling of depression will overpower the rationale.
Still, I'm grateful that having fun and being outdoors (which has a distinct physical effect) alleviates the pressure and strange feelings from a migraine, even if it doesn't make it go away. There are times, and today was one of them, that the instant I set foot indoors I'm struck with the pressure, as though I just dove 20 feet underwater.
Some photos from today.
Julian goofing, and the cake! Wow! Made by a woman in the 2004 group who is apparently starting a cake-decorating business, and, well, Wow!
Gabriel chatting with Erin before his face-painting turn; Erin is describing to him what she's going to get.
The Dragon Face! Note the forked tongue. Wow!
The Devil made me do it!
Some more facial artwork.
Erin's best friend Maya, who it turns out knew Gabriel from Kids Inc. And, one of the twin birthday girls doing her best model-pouty-face (my favorite photo of the day).
Congratulations to the birthday girls' parents for retiring the Terrible Twos -- twice!