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Birthday Shenanigans

Yesterday was Kaleb's ninth birthday and a surprise guest showed up to celebrate...Chimney, our elf on the shelf, who, in keeping with the times, donned a navy blue gator and practiced social distancing, finding (drink) a perch high above the kitchen cabinets.

The kids were thrilled to be reunited with their magical friend. Kaleb decided he must be quite hungry and prepared (drink) a breakfast of cookies and coffee cake with three choices of milk (surprisingly, Chimney opted for Lactaid over chocolate or regular).

He also sent Chimney back to the North Pole with a goody bag chock full of treats for the others elves and Mr. and Mrs. Clause. By mistake, Chimney (drink) managed to drop a few marshmallows from the goody bag as he was passing over the patio, much to the delight of several thousand ants this morning (thanks James).

In other birthday news, there was the sign debacle. I've said it before and I'll say it again - Kaleb has a tendency to over-complicate things. Kaleb wanted to do his part to prepare for his family birthday party. In an effort to "help" with the decorations, he attempted to untangle a Happy Birthday sign which had become jumbled in the bowels of our party (drink) supply box. Unable to navigate the knots, he decided to de-string the entire sign.

But restringing it proved to be a challenge in and of itself - the holes through which the string must weave were small and the string was quite frayed. In an unexpected throwback to my friendship bracelet making days, I tediously compressed the frayed string through the tiny openings while Kaleb ran off to make sure we had purchased the Utz Potato Chips her requested. After much laboring, the sign was fixed. But not really. Oops. I almost fixed it, but Paige thought it would be funnier if I let it be. She was right.

The brithday boy didn't let a faulty sign ruin his party. Even our failure to purchase proper birthday candles didn't get him down.

Especially since he is now a walking sponsor for the Liverpool soccer team.

He also received a heartfelt card from Eleanor which he actually took the time to read.

And, in a lesson on what not to do for kids' birthdays, he proudly gave a party favor to each of his sisters. We started this practice when Abigail and Paige were very young, buying a token gift for the "un-birthday" girl in a lazy parenting effort to avoid a jealous tantrum. Little did we know we would have five kids and the tradition would be nearly impossible to retire. So now, every birthday results in a near-Christmas-like event of gifts to appease (drink) the masses. The one positive thing is that I can use the opportunity to buy them something I would have purchased anyway and spin it as a consolation prize. The twins needed new water bottles for when (if) they start kindergarten, for example. Though as I'm writing this, it occurs to me that water bottles may not even be permitted with the new COVID guidelines. Whatever.

It was a good day full of the usual Kaleb antics. It was a day I will always savor because in all likelihood, it is the last birthday of pure innocence. The ant infestation and spilled milk (drink) were well worth the price to pay to encourage the wonder of a child's imagination. In so many ways I can't wait for them to grow up - to take care of their own snacks and laundry and itchy mosquito bites. But this I will miss. This is what it's all about.

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