Wednesday, September 20, 2006

. . . and I'm Not Even a Dumb Blonde

This is a sad birthday story. This family is, and always has been, completely birthday challenged. Last night, we celebrated the Tyke's 10th birthday. He was excited all day and I felt horrible, without showing it, all day because I have been ill for a couple of weeks with the usual severe asthma and had not only failed entirely to keep up with tidying the house, but also had failed entirely to get anything done on the birthday gift front. I had thought a couple of weeks ago that I had plenty of time, but then I got sick and didn't get over it and the expected window of opportunity slammed shut.

As soon as I finally got appropriate treatment and started getting over my attack, I had to spend most of my days in doctors' offices for followups, monitoring, breathing treatments, spirometry, peak flow readings, allergy testing, blood draws, and yadda yadda yadda. Add to that the fact that Thing #1 came down with a severe case of strep, so I was also shuttling him to his doctors and pharmacies and waiting on him the rest of the time. For Tyke, I managed the cake, ice cream and candles, but nothing else. No prezzies. BAD MOM.

Worst of all, when asked, Tyke couldn't come up with a list of things he wanted except a Pirates of the Caribbean II game for the Gameboy DS. If it's a game, Dad, who hates anything that isn't purely educational, nixes it immediately. The other thing Tyke wanted was a trip to Yankee Stadium or a game or a tour, which Dad said would be logistically impossible. So the kid was out of presents. Fortunately, we had already purchased a Yankees keychain in the shape of a bat. Whoopee. And it was already wrapped. Overly wrapped, really, in order to overcompensate for the tawdriness of the "gift."

Dad calls yesterday afternoon to see if he could "pick anything up on the way home from work" regarding the birthday. As if I have any brilliant ideas or any energy to generate some. The kid himself doesn't know what he wants. Dad decides he will stop to look for biking- and baseball- related items; Tyke has come into his own as an accomplished mountain biker, and could use some things.

When Dad gets home, he takes the bag of stuff up to the master bedroom. I am busy making Tyke's favorite and requested meal (it's something that takes a long time, so I know I won't be doing anything else for a while). Dad reminds me cryptically that the gifts are still upstairs needing to be wrapped. He doesn't wrap anything. So I use a ruse, sneak scissors and tape into my pocket, and go upstairs.

Inside the bag were sadder gifts than I expected: a few packages of baseball cards, a mini "glow-in-the-dark" basketball hoop to hook over the bedroom door, and the wrapping paper, which had a Yankees theme. I thought the paper was a brilliant touch. Well done on that score, Dad!

I got to work and quickly wrapped the presents.

In the process of wrapping, I noticed that the paper was of the best quality, but didn't go very far. Fortunately, however, it just covered everything. I came trotting down the stairs with the spoils, Dad gave me an odd look, and the present-opening ceremony began.

Just before Tyke took the first item in hand, Dad jumped up and pulled me into the dark kitchen. He whispered, "It was a poster."

I had heard his words, but didn't understand them. "WHATT?" I whispered loudly.

"It was a poster. It wasn't wrapping paper."

Without falling on the floor, I managed to whisper back calmly, "Okay. Well, that can be fixed."

After Tyke had finished opening the gifts--with which he seemed sufficiently pleased even though they were pathetic--I got an uncontrollable fit of laughter, like library laughter . I had to remove myself from the room, but luckily ailing Thing #1 had a Monty Python DVD going and there was an obvious excuse for my giggling.

This morning the paper was still on the kitchen counter. Apparently Dad didn't understand what I had said, either; I didn't mean that I was going to fix the paper by taping it back together again. I was going to fix the problem by replacing the poster.

Happy Brithday, Tyke. Born into an incorrigibly birthday challenged family.

Oh, yeah. We also forgot to tell Dad's sister "happy birthday," because her day is one day before Tyke's, and we are always in such a crisis for Tyke's that we never remember her. Ever.


At 9/21/2006 7:01 AM, Blogger Tuesday said...

Oh no! Although I can probably say that it was OK even though it wasn't voluminous it is only a heart-beat till Christmas and you can make it up then. BTW birthdays are always disappointing so you can just be happy he won't have great adult expectations.

At 9/25/2006 6:35 PM, Blogger Neil said...

Sometimes kids can get a kick out of stuff that you might think is lame, so you shouldn't worry too much.


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