Parenting Gone Awry, Snips And Snails, Sometimes Sweet

It’s not the gift, but the balloon that counts.

Last year, when Sean turned one, I went all out and threw him a big party — or rather I threw a party for all those who had been with us through the pregnancy and that crazy first year. For that, those people deserve a party and a place in heaven. And is there any better way to show your appreciation than to serve cake with icing that turns your teeth blue? I think not.

It’s kind of too bad that Sean won’t remember that on his first birthday the house was filled with people (with blue teeth) and food and balloons or that he took his first solid steps that day. And it’s really too bad that he won’t remember his two grandmothers playing competitive Pin the Tail on the Donkey. (Note to self: Never blindfold someone carrying an AARP card, spin them around and let them walk around in a room full of small children hopped up on birthday cake.) Two years later, people still comment on what a fun time they had. Now that is the mark of a good party.

Knowing that I couldn’t top last year, this year’s party was a bit more subdued. Instead of a house full of people, there was just mommy and daddy, Godmother Gigi and his surrogate grandparents, Skip and Glenna. We had a simple meal and then birthday cake with white icing. Sean made a heroic effort to blow out the candle by making the “F” sound, but I finally stepped in and helped him so that he wouldn’t totally slime the cake and singe his hair at the same time. I don’t know about you, but the combination of burnt hair and snot covered cake tends to ruin my appetite.

Then came the unveiling of the birthday present, a brand new red Radio Flyer tricycle (cue the oooh, aaah chorus) to which I had tied a balloon for a festive touch, because I’m all about festive. When I bought it several weeks ago, I imagined that when he first saw it he would run to it squealing with delight and jump into the seat like the Lone Ranger. And when he saw it, he did run to it. And he did jump on the seat. And then stood on it to get to the balloon. And he was squealing with delight: “Bloon! Bloon!”

Christmas shopping just got a lot easier.

Photo: Can you spot the real birthday present?

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