Saturday, August 18, 2007

Happy Happy Day

Today, my "baby" turned 6. I seriously don't know how that happened.

At the end of school yesterday I brought cupcakes and gingerbread cookies for his classmates and teacher (and I got to read _The Gingerbread Man_ to the kids). It's a tradition and now that there are 3 elementary classes per grade we only bring for a single class. It's great! I'd also brought plenty extra for him to share with whomever he chose: teachers, the principal, random friends. Everyone knew it was his birthday, the huge paper crown notwithstanding.
We brought a friend of Rebecca's home for a sleepover last night. She's a wonderful little girl in 4th grade, new to Chennai as of a couple weeks ago. Her family is slowly settling in, and it was nice to be able to take in their daughter for an evening. The girls had a great time petting the new kitten, making Jonathon's birthday cake, playing and hanging about. Rebecca had her tennis lesson this morning so her friend watched, and piano was canceled so the morning was low key. The girl has three younger brothers, one of then a First Grader too, so later in the morning once Katherine came home from swimming we planned to meet up with the family for a little fun.
It was Jonathon's birthday so the day was about him. He got to play on the Wii first. He invited his friend to go bowling. He was allowed to have mac&cheese and a brownie sundae at Sparky's. He opened plenty of gifts and had chocolate chocolate cake for dinner. (We had lunch late, no one wanted real food for dinner.)
Snow Bowling was packed. I've never seen it like that and hope never to again. I'll stick with school holidays from here on out. All four lanes were full, ours with 6 kids bowling, two other little kids and four adults watching. The lane to the right was overflowing with Korean kids from AISC. At one point I think there were 10 of them. To the left were about 8 Indian kids. And in lane 1 were 4 Americans and an infant, the women in full salwar sets. I could only think... why? For bowling?
So the place was full, hot and for some reason the Korean kids would not keep out of our lane, hanging on the ball return, standing in front of our kids, using the 6 and 8 pounds balls. We yelled at them more than once to stay on their side.
For all the hassle, Snow Bowling is laid back and cheap. Six games for Rs900, no shoe rental because if you think bowling shoes in the States are rank, try them in India. No, they don't let us wear our own shoes, it's barefoot time. With bowling balls. Who knew bowling was a risky sport? Well, we do since way back in Manila Jonathon fractured his thumb once at bowling. Ah, memories. No fractures today, thank goodness, we just had to make our own score sheet. The computers for Lanes 1&2 work, but Lanes 3&4 are on their own. There are plenty of issues with Lane 3 aside from the lack of computer scoring, including the pin lifter machine thingie dropping pins regularly. It made the kids scores much better than normal. I think the lanes are bent too with a definite lean to the left. It's an adventure. I wonder what the offices the floor below think of all the pounding. A bowling alley on the 4th floor, who thought that was a good idea?
Thirsty and worn out from our very long and loud game of 10 pins, we hopped over to Sparky's for lunch. We're not huge fans of going to the restaurant as Ian orders Sparky's food just about every day for lunch and when the kids buy at school it's often Sparky's, but I knew it would totally make Jonathon's day. So we invited the other family out (it's right in their neighborhood) and spent some time in a diner, capped by the crew coming over with a lit brownie sundae and cheering for our guy. It was a great moment.
The afternoon flittered away and the evening was present time. We're a little cruel with our kids, stacking up gifts in the morning and making them wait until after dinner to open. This year he was quite pleased, finally getting to play with the Tamagotchi he picked out this summer, a Transformer from Rebecca that flips to a mini video camera, silly string from his other sister, a Washington DC stuffed animal from his brother, a Spiderman motorcycle from his neighbor friend and a set of titanium junior left-handed golf clubs from mom and dad. No golf balls yet, they're coming, and his gift from grandma and grandpa is on its way too. But it's even better this way, stretching his birthday into the coming week.
This pas Wednesday he was really sick. Friday I noticed he looked tall and lean. I don't know if he grew or if it's a trick with being ill, so it looks like it's time to pull out the tape measure and see if our kid is as big as he looks.
Wish I could stick him in a box and keep him little. Barring that, I'll just remember his happy face on days like today and think that growing up is OK when it's accompanied by such joy.

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