Saturday 22 Oct 2016

A Rare B-day
Jennifer Flaten

Scuffling noises drag me from my sound slumber. I pry my eyes to find three little faces peering at me.

In unison, the children scream "Happy Birthday." In return, I mumble something that sounds like "mthh" that means "Thank you."

I look at the clock, six am. Ugh! As much as I would love to return to blissful slumber, I know resistance is futile, so I get up.

The reason my kids are extra chipper, today, and extra early, is that today, officially, is my non-leap year birthday. After a rousing, never-ending, chorus of the happy birthday song, the kids begin dancing around asking if we can have cake for breakfast.

Well, gee it is my birthday. I can think of no better reason than that to have cake for breakfast, all right if you gave me 15 minutes I could come up with a list of reasons. I am sure that sugar rush will get me through my day, a day that includes buying the decorations for my party and getting the house ready for my party.

Hmm, maybe I should have a double slice of cake.

Actually, it is more like keeping the kids from getting the house ready for my party. See, my kids love to decorate and make things. Unfortunately, they graduated top of their class from the Rube Goldberg school of design. Nothing makes them happier then constructing an elaborate gizmo to do something simple like displaying the birthday cake.

Earlier in the week, I nixed several preliminary cake delivery system designs, each one more complex then the other. Really, do you need a conveyor system to transport the cake to the ice cream? Even if you did, how exactly would two eight year olds and a seven year old make one?

Now, you know why I resort to cake for breakfast. How else would I get through the day?

I softened the blow by offering to let them blow up balloons and hang streamers.

Anticipation for my birthday has been quite high, mostly by the people who still think turning another year older is exciting.

Now, I don't mind birthdays, for one thing they are a wonderful excuse for people to give me presents and don't forget about the aforementioned cake for breakfast clause.

In fact, there is a gaily-wrapped package waiting for me. Hence, the children prodding me awake in the wee hours of the morning. If I don't open my present soon they will burst from excitement.

They have kept my present secret for three whole days, which is like 10 years to a kid. I was sure someone would spill the beans-someone always spills the beans, but to my surprise, no one did.

The fact all three of them agreed on the present is a gift of its own. Another great gift was hat none sulked over a nixed gift idea. Their agreeing was a gift of its own.

Although, I have a good idea what the gift is. I distinctly remember the kids begging me to buy a particular garden ornament from our local garden center. They were crestfallen when I said no.

So, I am pretty sure that I am now the proud owner of a crazy eyed kitten bobble-head garden statue...well; at least it isn't a gnome. Not that I have anything against gnomes, in fact, I like them, but once you get one garden gnome they begin to multiple. Before you know it, your front lawn is gnomeville.

I caught the kids eying up the gnome display at the garden center and I quickly diverted their attention.

Of course, now that I have one wonky-eyed bobble head I am sure every other major gift-giving holiday will include another one of the little critters. By this time next year, my front lawn will be bobble-headville.

Jennifer Flaten lives where the local delicacy is fried cheese, Wisconsin. She writes about family life, its amusing or not so amusing moments. "At least it's not another article on global warming," she says. Jennifer bakes a mean banana bread and admits an unusual attraction to balloon animals and cup cakes. Busy preparing for the zombie apocalypse, she stills finds time to write "As I See It," her witty, too often true column. "My urge to write," says Jennifer, "is driven by my love of cupcakes, with sprinkles on top. Who wouldn't write for cupcakes, with sprinkles," she wonders.

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