In ‘better late than never’ news, the younger boys had birthdays. In August.
Four years ago, when young Percy was still in utero, it was really important to me that he and the Hen not share the same birthday. Seeing as they shared the same due date (two years apart) it was not outside the realm of possibility that they could share a birth-day, and I spent not-an-inconsiderable-amount-of-time hoping Percy would arrive on any day but August 28th.
He ended up arriving on August 27th, carving out a distinctive day for himself without infringing on his brother’s special day. Or so I thought.
But, four years on, I have to concede it might have been easier if they’d shared a birthday. For starters, there’s the paperwork nightmare. When filling out passport applications, visa renewals, and registrations of any kind (as foreigners, we do this kind of thing often) we have to stop and really think about which boy was born when – and which day corresponds with which birth year: 8.28.07? 8.27.09? 8.28.09? 8.27.07?
If only someone had been born on 8.28.08.
Then there’s the matter of celebrating two back-to-back birthdays; trying to bestow an equal amount of festivity to each day. It’s where I fail miserably, each year.
In previous years, Percy has gotten the shaft with presents. After all, what does a one, or two or three year old boy with two older brothers really need? So this year I was somewhat determined to make sure he had actual gifts. Except the Hen came with me when I bought said gifts, which means I didn’t have a chance to buy him any gifts. Which means the professor drove to Wal-Mart at 11 on the eve of the Hen’s sixth birthday.
And came back with a Nerf gun. Which I wrapped, along with the Lego sticker book the Hen had picked out for himself when we were shopping for his younger brother.
Happy Birthday, Pal! (To make matters worse, I wrapped the gifts in brown paper because I was completely out of wrapping paper. I mean, really, these birthdays happen every year on the same day(s) and I can’t remember to stock up on wrapping paper?! At least I had tape…..this year.)
In addition to remembering the correct dates, and procuring two sets of presents, there’s also the matter of cake. Two times. My solution the last few years has been to make cupcakes. Except this year I asked the boys what kind of cupcake they wanted and Percy said ‘chocolate marshmallow’ and the Hen said ‘vanilla’. (Note to 2014 self: Don’t Ask.)
So the morning of Percy’s birthday, I consulted various recipe websites for a ‘chocolate marshmallow’ cupcake recipe. And I found one on Martha Stewart, I think, and then I thought I’d be creative, fun-mom by melting marshmallows and stirring it into the chocolate batter.
I’m not particularly knowledgeable about the science of cooking, but I suspect the culprit here was too.much.sugar. Because my initial theory -that I’d put too much batter inside the muffin tin – faltered when I tried it a second time with less batter and got the same result: obliterated cupcakes.
The pseudo-perfectionist part of me really wanted to start over and make another, better-looking batch of cupcakes. But the realistic part of me interceded, arguing that four year old Percy probably would not care that his cupcakes weren’t….pretty. And, my practical self argued, we would be having more cupcakes the next day.
I used my creme brulee torch to toast marshmallows on top of the explode-a-cupcakes and we sang happy birthday to our four year old
baby boy. We got to the ‘happy biiiiiirthday dear [name of celebrated individual]’ part and I laughed when I realized everyone had sung a different name. ‘Pee-yurs.’ ‘Per-cy.’ ‘Pee-yur-sa-rooney.’ ‘Pier-see.’
I mean, really – we couldn’t even sing the same name?!
Twenty four hours later, it was birthday: round two. With a taller, blonder, blue-eyed child. And the number six instead of four.
The Hen had asked throughout the summer to have two friends from Kindergarten over for his birthday and I did manage to make that happen for him. (Along with slightly more
attractive conventional cupcakes.)
And there was that Nerf gun…. After twenty four hours of having a Nerf gun in my house, I realized why I’d never bought one in my nearly decade-long tenure as a mother. There were fights and tears about allthingsNerf. And there were Nerf bullets in my car. In my purse. On the roof. In the 84 year old neighbor’s garage. In the laundry. In random drawers throughout the house.
And woeful lamentations about ‘I can’t find any of my Nerf bullets.’ Really? Because I just found TEN!!
As I stuck a candle in one the Hen’s cupcakes so I could take a picture of Percy blowing out a candle on a not-ugly-cupcake, I thought of the Flight of the Conchords song, Hurt Feelings: ‘the day after my birthday…..is not my birthday’