Tuesday, September 25, 2012

A Series of Unfortunate Birthday Events

Not the sort of title you ever really want to use to describe your child's birthday, but unfortunately for R, it was entirely too fitting.
Let's back up a bit, shall we?
R turned five years old 5 days after our stuff was delivered, 4 days before school started, 2 days after our van failed the state safety test, and 5 days before I discovered that my camera wasn't working properly.
So, we did our best to find some sort of cake pan, candles, and sprinkles.  We wanted to celebrate the real deal.  It was sort of one of those hurry up affairs because there were so many other things that we needed to be doing.  But we adore this girl, so we had to do something to show her how special she is.  The bundt pan was one of the few that I could find, and since I didn't have any powdered sugar in the house, we just heated up some hot fudge and poured it on top.  It was actually really tasty.
Which, apparently, is not good enough when your piece of cake happens to be waaaaay too small.  Nice grumpy face.
After about 15 minutes, she realized that we weren't going to give her a bigger piece just because she fussed for one.  So she got over it, ate her cake that was plenty full of chocolate goodness, and opened some cards and gifts from her grandparents.
And then, the attic fairy struck.  We love it when she does.  This time around she brought hand-me-down American Girl stuff.  R was delighted.  As were we, since this whole relocation thing has depleted our finances.  I was sad when S told me a while back that she was done with all her doll stuff and wanted to clear it out of her room.  But now it seems like a beautiful thing, a chance for those toys to have a second life. 
It was short and sweet, but I felt guilty about how much of a hurried affair this was on her real birthday.  So we tried again for more of a party the next week.  I should have just let a layin' dog lay.  Literally.  Although this will probably become one of those infamous family stories that gets remembered much more often than the happy-go-lucky, nothing-went-wrong type of birthdays.  How ironic.  But somehow, I'm totally ok with that.
The most merciful thing about this little party is that it was a family only affair.  I didn't invite any guests, even though I came really close.  Sometimes hesitation is a wonderful thing.
This was my assistant baker.  Which was unfortunate because she just kept yelling about holding the bowl.  "Hold it!  Hold it!'  And she wouldn't let anybody else stir, or help stir.  And she yelled at us when we talked about helping to stir.  Which made it a little difficult to get this cake ready to go in the oven.
I wanted to try my hand at those rainbow cakes that are all over the internet.
Fortunately, that part went really well.  And frosting it was a cinch.  No colors, hardly any piping.  It was nice.  I found myself thinking that I should make cakes like this more often.
And then, unfortunately, my camera began acting up in earnest.  It became harder and harder to trick it into focusing properly.  Which nearly had me in tears.  I don't have a back up camera.  It's a one shot deal.  Stupid camera.
I was so frustrated that I decided to just put everything on pause.  R & B needed a bath, anyway.  And Shaggy was on the roof cleaning gutters or something.  Not really in a position to break for a family gathering.
And that's when the dog seized his opportunity to crash the party.
I was upstairs when I heard one of the kids yelling at Ruger.  My heart sank.  I knew exactly what had happened.  He's so big, he has no trouble at all getting to the good stuff left on the table.  It took me a long, long time to come downstairs.  And when I finally did, I was still furious.  Shaggy got quite an earful about 'his' dogs and their bad behavior.  It was a good thing that he kept them away from me because I probably would have booted them into the next state.  Stupid dogs.
I think Shaggy opted for the duck and cover approach to my barrage.  He started drawing with the birthday girl.  Which was the only party activity I had planned.  (I know, I totally went all out on this one.)  He drew a picture of a dog with a giant mouth eating a birthday cake.  Which made R laugh.  She knew that the other half of the cake was still perfectly good to eat. 
That's where the merciful part about not inviting any guests comes in.  How, exactly, do you approach this subject with someone you've only just met.  "Oh, by the way, how do you feel about your children sharing their cake with the dog?  Yeah, because we're totally OK with it."
The steam coming out of my ears was starting to trickle off a little.  My spirits were very slowly lifting.  I was trying to grasp a little perspective.  So I figured I would cut the cake and try some deceptively tricky camera angles that would make it look like just another beautiful birthday cake. 
 This is what I got.  Stupid camera.
See how clever I was to dress her in colorful pants?  What else do you wear to a rainbow party?  And isn't it nice how the mess on the counter behind her is in better focus and better light than R is?  Yep, that's nice.  Stupid camera.
 I know that you're supposed to light the candles, and sing, and THEN cut the cake.  But why be a stickler about protocol when you have to share your birthday cake with the dog?  Stupid dog.
Doesn't my clutter make such a nice focal point for this picture? 
 The somewhat decent pictures were very hard to come by.  Lots of zooming in and out.  Lots of turning the camera off and on.  Lots of pushing the button extra hard thinking it might possibly make a difference in the camera's ability to focus properly.  And yes, I did try the manual focus.  But part of the camera's problem was that every single picture looked fuzzy when I looked through the viewfinder.  Even the ones that turned out to be in focus.  Stupid camera.
 I had to take this picture because it made me laugh.  Isn't that just the saddest 'happy' ever?  So fitting.
It took us a long while to locate our stash of recycled gift bags.  But the look on R's face when she realized that she was inheriting S's beloved doll made it all worth it.  And the fact that my camera actually got the shot made me repent just a little for calling it stupid so many times.
 B was quite put out that she didn't get a new doll, and didn't get to stand in a giant gift bag.
 We remedied what we could.
 Even J joined in, in his own way.
 And B took that opportunity to try to climb onto the table to get to the good stuff.  I wonder where on earth she got that idea.
 At the end of the day, I guess I have a lot to learn from this little girl.  She didn't mind sharing her cake with the dog.  And she didn't mind that her presents were hand me downs.  And she certainly didn't mind that her Mommy's camera wasn't working.  She just went ahead and had a happy birthday, unfortunate events and all.  I sure love this girl!