Michelle's birthday was Monday, so a few weeks ago I planned a small sleepover for just a couple of her good buddies. It was one of those five friends or 22 sort of deal. I've done 22. That's why we settled on five this year.
Uncle Jesse joined us for dinner at a local Italian restaurant. We only had one spilled drink.
Jesse continued his run as the reigning "Waiting For Dinner Tic Tac Toe Champion". We played retaurant Truth or Dare during dinner. There was a little bubble blowing via straw via nose action, and my dare was to walk into the Ladies' restroom. I knew it was a one seater so was fairly certain if the doorknob opened, I was golden. Thankfully, I was right.
A sleepover wasn't good enough though. I was also told by my youngest that Kimmey's mom always had an art project when they went to her house. Our sitter suggested painting pumpkins. I obliged - picked up six last weekend at the Farmer's Market.
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Michelle didn't really want a cake, so we agreed on s'mores in the outdoor fireplace. Oh, and we had to have a movie from the Redbox.
Waffles were required the next morning because Mr. Gibbler aways cooks a "BIIIG breakfast" on Saturdays (he also happens to fall asleep at 8 p.m. every evening - no wonder he has the energy to cook frickin' waffles at dawn).
I was prepared. All pieces of the night came across without a hitch. One of Michelle's friends even said, "Mr. Ham, you have really nice paintbrushes." Take that Mrs. Gibbler! Kickbutt paintbrushes - oh yeah!
Thankfully Nana had purchased Halloween tattoos and candy for the "bridesmaids'" gifts. Yeah - come to my house, I buy you dinner, feed you s'mores, watch you for 15 hours, walk into the women's bathroom for your amusment, and as if that is not enough, I feel a sick obligation to give you a gift for coming.
Who came up with that? I wish I knew - because I would like to choke them with a satin ribbon and toss their body into a large silk gift bag.
When picking up the next morning, one of Michelle's friends' moms offered to take her lunch on Monday at school - sort of a special birthday treat. I am thankful for the mothers who offer to do things for my kids while at the same time making sure I understand the norms of motherhood.
"Michelle, do lots of the kid's mom's eat lunch at school with them on their birthdays?"
"Yea. And they also take a Special Snack for the class. You were going to do that weren't you?"
"I signed up to bring Special Snack on Friday because that's the day of the week that your class always has Special Snack. It was the closest Special Snack Day to your birthday." I was so proud of myself for my strategic Special Snacking.
"All the other kids have it on their birthday."
"Of course they do. I'll just Speical Snack on Monday and Friday this week."
"Some moms stay and help serve the snack. Then we sing happy birthday."
Perhaps I should just take the whole week off. I wonder if this could be considered FMLA.
"Oh, and don't forget, Jackson is allergic to tree nuts."
"You can't pack a snack with tree nuts. Jackson is allergic. He could die."
I could envision the carpool line now, moms standing everywhere:
"Did you hear? School had to call EMS today."
"Ooo. What happened?"
"The widower - you know, Michelle's dad?"
"What did he do this time?"
"Nearly killed Jackson..."
I poured through the ingredients listed on the boxes of goodies I'd purchased for homemade trail mix.
What in the heck is Riboflavin? It's in everything.
Nah - can't possibly be tree nuts in Riboflavin...
"Hello. Umm. This is Bruce Ham. My daughter Michelle is in Jackson's class. Well, this may seem like a silly question - but, well, is Jackson allergic to Riboflavin?"
"I don't think so."
"Great! Tell him Michelle says hey. Goodbye."
I just wanted to be sure.
"So, Michelle, I'll drop you off at 8, bring tree nut free Special Snack in at 10, pick up some yummy nuggets at 11:15 so I can eat with your sister at 11:30 (wouldn't want anyone in the family to miss out on the action) and stay the full hour so I can eat with you at noon."
I sort of wondered if it was gonna be worth all the trouble - I mean...she's turning 10. This ain't her wedding day.
But when I saw the look on her face as we proudly walked down the hall to her classroom, arms piled full of Riboflavinated treats, I sort of remembered. Been a long time since someone helped make me feel that special.