Saturday, March 29, 2008

happy birthday jack!

overheard, over-analyzed, and overindulged at the jackal's 3rd birthday party this morning:

endangered squeaky voices

the party this year was almost a carbon copy of last year's brunch affair with a few remarkable exceptions. and as i mentioned last year, throwing these events in the morning flows with a certain logic my friends get. now understanding it and pulling it off after you and your wife killed over half a bottle of scotch along with a couple cigarettes the night before are two different things. somehow i pushed through, only puking in my mouth 2.5 times, and tackled the morning errands, which landed me at that depressing friendship flower shop on wisconsin, next to cafe deluxe, the same place i scored the balloons for the 2 year affair. when i walked in i thought i'd browse the flowers and maybe bring more home to compliment some decorating my wife had already done at home. it wasn't a long shot for this guy to know my name since i rolled in 10 minutes after they opened. he told me the balloons were ready (27 of them - 9 red, 9, yellow, 9 white - to go with a fireman theme the jackal decided on) and quoted the price of $60. that cued an immediate U-turn away from the flowers. sticker shocked, i was.

in any case, a couple of father friends of mine were asking me about the party favors, taking mental notes. see, since we're all generally improvising this parenting bit, we tend to ask the right questions and absorb pertinent information that will make life easier. in other words, short cut hints on how to keep the kids happy and maybe even occupied for a few more minutes per day, while we maybe catch a breath of fresh air and maybe a smoke, are always welcome, and encouraged. so i relate the helium story, and one tells me there is a helium shortage in our world these days.

probably old news, but new news to me. since i don't have much need for balloons or a high pitched voice, i couldn't really care less. still, i had to laugh at the fact that this otherwise irrelevant crisis pinched me a little today.

moon bounce

we are now the not-too-trashy-but-apparently-trashy-enough owners of a moon bounce. i pulled the trigger online last week and amazingly did not experience as much cognitive dissonance as i expected, at least not until my friend dave reminded me that "the economy is taking a shit and you're buying moon bounces." my retort was that someone has to try to keep things moving, so i'm doing my part.

the kids naturally loved it and got their wrestlemania on. i recall only one report of heads colliding, which is not so bad. oh, and someone told me i could advertise the thing on craigslist and rent it out. probably won't happen, but can i really say i am above it now that i went so far as to purchase one of these gorgeous monstrosities in the first place?

presence or presents?

so like any kid, the jackal loves gifts. before i get to that, i should address my perspective on gifts and birthday parties. my wife and i sort of debated this topic after she launched the evite initially. see, our friends are terribly polite and considerate and wonderful. i think the same of their kids. now that kids have entered the scene, we're all figuring out how to integrate them properly. the thing is, most of us are integrating them into a world much different from the one we came up in, especially in fiscal terms.

my first 8 years, believe it or not, we're headquartered in a trailer park. my single mother and i lived in arnold, missouri until she remarried and relocated us to st. louis. jack is growing up in one of the most high profile cities in the world, in a pretty solid neighborhood, equipped considerably compared to this guy 30-ish years ago. the circumstances of our growing up could not be more different, which tells me i am doing something right.

my point is that sometimes we can be all thumbs about incorporating our kids, given that the circumstances are new, and still get the job done right. to that point, often you wonder when and where to say "no gifts please" when announcing a birthday party. we've said it before, and our friends still show bearing gifts. likewise, friends say "no gifts" and we ignore them.

here's why: it's a birthday party. kids absolutely love gifts (we did back then). and none of us are in bad financial shape.

i completely get the whole concept of suggesting "no gifts" and respect the politeness of the gesture. i also catch that it can spoil them, et al. still, the kids are great and they get this once a year.

well, in the end we decided not to edit the evite, and he got way too much stuff, leading us to hide half of it, fearing him being overwhelmed and scatterbrained.

that is to say, we can completely see both sides of the matter.

[hands thrown into air]

cute, not subtle

speaking of way too many gifts, a pile of them in the corner of the dining room had a tractor beam like the death star because i noticed the jackal drifting toward it on many of my passes through the room. we'd told him to wait until everyone left since we thought it might spark a lord the flies re-enactment. that didn't stop him from asking (nagging) me or his mother about it.

jackal: mommy, i want to open one.
mom: no, remember...when everyone leaves.
jackal: (turns to woman mommy is hanging with) can you go home now?

dog farts

really thrilled that my friend joe brought that raunchy bone filled with processed meat for our dog baci. at the time it was funny the way he wrapped it in birthday gift wrap and tricked the jackal with it. not so funny is the way baci farts like a senile old man since he devoured it. not only do they echo, they gag you. the gift keeps on giving. thanks!

(happy belated birthday, meathead!)