Big event this week was Sam’s 4th birthday and ensuing extravaganza. Much like Christmas, she has gotten old enough to go completely ape over everything, yet young enough to insist that her birthday spanned the entire weekend from Friday morning to Sunday night. When told she could choose where we went to dinner on Friday night, she initially chose Sweet Tomatoes, which is one of those super soup and salad bar places. We jumped on that, and when Sam later said “No, maybe I want to go to Chuck E Cheeses instead” we were adamant that, no, by the ancient laws of birthday celebrations, she was not allowed to change her mind and there would be no fricking mechanical rats trying to sing Happy Birthday to the birthday boy or girl.
As you may have noticed from those pictures, Sam’s big birthday gift was her first bicycle! We had actually won it in a raffle back in October and kept it hidden in the basement this whole time. Geralyn had snuck it into the living room and put a big bow on it while the kids were strapped in the minivan outside waiting to depart for dinner, so when we returned Sam cluelessly marched inside and was astonished by her last treat of the day. I made sure I had a good view, and let me tell you that the look of pure, astonished joy was totally awesome.
Since the weather has been so cold, Sam has had to ride the bike around our kitchen in tiny circles, but she doesn’t seem to mind. At first she had a bit of trouble, though. The bike has training wheels, but it still wobbles a bit from side to side, presumably so kids can learn to balance for themselves but won’t fall over while they’re doing it. When the wobbling started, though, Sam’s first instinct was to DIVE, DIVE, DIVE and lurch –or attempt to lurch– off the bike with a kind of panicked, end of the world kind of expression on her face. This quickly led to the “Yes you have to wear the helmet, even indoors” rule.
She apparently practiced in her sleep, though, because the next morning she was riding like a pro.
We took a bit of a breather on Saturday, then on Sunday we had a small birthday party with some family. Sam got more gifts, including a working digital camera from her Aunt and Uncle that she has since used to take several hundred pictures of the floor. Also, there was cake, with a little Curious George diorama that reminded me of that one scene from King Kong where the giant monkey eats the lady.
Lest we forget Mandy, she hit another big milestone for herself this week –she walked! Well, I’m not sure if you can call it “walking” or not, it was more of a falling forward motion while desparately trying to keep her feet moving and under her, but whatever she did she took like 5 steps. And the amazing thing is that she keeps trying despite constantly falling down. She just shouts “Bum!” (her version of “Boom!”), gets back up, and tried again. This kind of built-in determination and placidity in the face of impossible odds really makes kids amazing. If we could retain more of that into adulthood, ther would be casinos and fast food places on Mars by now.