absolute (birthday) power corrupts absolutely

So I’ve been meaning to write about Jafta’s birthday.  It was way back in December.  But it was dragged out nearly as long as it took me to write this post.

Jafta’s birthday is a couple days after Christmas . . . an unfortunate date for a birthday (speaking as someone with a birthday in that same week).  School is out, everyone is on vacation, and if any friends are around to come to a hastily-planned party, the chances are good that your gift is going to be a regifted reject from Christmas morning.  (“Ooooh, Aunt Dolores really gave the kids some random stuff this year.  Oh, and do we have a party tomorrow?  I don’t really want to go to the store the day after Christmas.  I KNOW WHAT WE’LL DO . . .”)

I spent a childhood having poorly-attended parties where I received random gifts in Christmas wrapping.  I’m still recovering.

Jafta’s kindergarten teacher had the forethought to celebrate his birthday in class right before the Christmas break.  Which is really thoughtful, because I seem to recall being jealous of all the kids who got to celebrate birthdays at school while mine happened on a non-school day.  I don’t think my teachers held a party if you weren’t there on the actual day.  It was a crueler time back in the 80’s.

Anyways, Jafta’s school celebration happened about a week before his actual birthday.  He is a smart kid and fully understood that is was not his real birthday, but that did not stop him from milking it ALL DAY LONG.

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(Also, it was pajama day at school, which made it even more exciting).

Jafta’s teacher has a tradition that kids can donate a book to the class on their birthday, and parents can come in and read the book during the celebration.  Jafta choose the book “No, David” . . . a favorite among my children thanks to the delightful schaudenfraude of watching another child getting in trouble over and over again.

It was fun to visit his class, but I was a bit mortified to find that my typically mild-mannered and considerate son turned into a power-hungry tyrant the minute the birthday crown was placed on his head.  He took his role of “Official Shusher” very seriously, chiding several of his classmates for talking moving while Mark read the book.

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He even employed the “I’ll wait” and “Eyes on me” warnings a few times.

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After the book, the students are allowed to bring a snack to share, or a small gift.  Since they were already having treats I opted for some Cars journals from the dollar bin at Target.  Jafta got to pass them out.

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And thus began the entirely-too-long process of Jafta mulling over which child was sitting quietly enough to receive a book.  Oh, the dramatic pauses, and the shame bestowed upon any classmate not sitting in rapt attention of King Jafta.

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The entitlement did not end at school.  For the rest of the day, Jafta requested every privilege he could think of since he was the birthday boy.  Every though I reminded him, nearly 1 million times that day, that it was not his real birthday.

Fast-forward two weeks, to his real birthday.  Unfortunately, our travel plans required us to be on the road for his real birthday.  Mark and I decided that we would just celebrate his birthday the following day.  We have employing this strategy of lying delaying birthday celebrations in previous years so I didn’t think too much of it.

Unfortunately I grossly underestimated his kindergarten math skills, because he woke up on his real birthday with full knowledge of the date.  Mark and I glanced nervously as he pronounced, “it’s my birthday today” – because we knew that eight hours of him being cramped into the backseat of my nephew’s station wagon was a recipe for unmet expectations and birthday drama.

So, we lied even more profusely.  I can’t remember exactly how we convinced him that it was not the right day, even though it was.  I think it involved a bar graph, some long division, and a clipped explanation of the lunar calendar, but somehow we held him off for the day so that we didn’t have to listen to him ask if the birthday boy could stop at every McDonald’s we saw between Atlanta and Orlando.

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So, the day after his birthday, we celebrated his birthday at a pizza buffet in Kissimee, followed by a trip to a room full of inflatables that now inhabits the mall where I got my ears pierced in 6th grade.

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Pizza birthday cake!!  Followed by a Transformers birthday cake at my mom’s house.

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But wait.  It still wasn’t over.  You see, Jafta was very adamant that his birthday was not complete without celebrating with his best friend Ryder.  We were in Florida until January 5th, and since I was in no mood to throw a party in the midst of my holiday hangover, I was thrilled when he agreed we could go to Disney with Ryder.

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I know this is going to sound insanely privileged (because it is), but this was kind of a hard sell.  We have Disney passes – they are pretty reasonable for California residents if you get the kind that blackout weekends and summer.  So we frequent Disney quite a bit, and Jafta felt that going to Disney just wasn’t special enough for his birthday.  In fact, his exact words were that it was “too obvious”.

Grrrr.

So we brainstormed and offered him a special birthday privilege: to ride the Pirates of the Caribbean.  This was his response to that offer.

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He was so. excited.  Though I am hear to tell you, despite his professions of love for the ride, he was SCARED OUT OF HIS MIND the whole time.

But he was very brave when it came to defeating his arch enemy Darth Maul.  Which made the birthday celebration complete. 

FINALLY.

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