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January 16, 2005: Hanging with the boys

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My mom's birthday was on Friday, but we could not assemble the family until this afternoon. Yesterday, in between checking out the knitting machine and going to the play, I baked a cake, and this morning, before heading off to church bright and early to practice with the recorder ensemble, I frosted it. Mom prefers white cake with white frosting and coconut something which the entire rest of her family (all three of her sons-in-law being notable exceptions) despises. So I made a Bundt cake and put coconut only on parts of it, figuring this way it was still decorated like she wanted, but there were enough uncontaminated parts that the rest of us would still be willing to eat it.

My older sister and her husband and the two boys drove down from Napa after church, and after meeting and conferring (and a little oohing and aahing over my parents' shiny new Prius) we all headed off to lunch, and then from there back to my parents' house for cake and ice cream and presents. I made her a knitted hooded scarf (pictures can be seen here).

After the birthday festivities were over my dad and the oldest nephew, who is six, headed across the street to the elementary school playground to ride bikes. The little guy was thrilled because he'd finally decided it was okay to remove the training wheels, and he knew his Grandpa liked riding bikes, so they brought their bikes (or in the younger one's case, their tricycles) with them to go riding. The rest of us made our way over just to watch, and to take bets on how old the youngest nephew will be when he finally gets his first concussion. This child barrels through life without looking first, laughing the entire time. Luckily there's only so fast you can go on a tricycle, no matter how furiously you pedal. I say luckily because the younger one would get going as fast as his little legs could go, but he wouldn't pay any attention at all to where he was going. He missed running into the same wall by mere inches more than once, and came within a hair's width of tumbling head over wheels through the fence along a ramp by one of the classrooms. My sister would holler out 'Look where you're going!' but my little nephew is King of the Oblivious and would just keep on watching anything but forward. It was hysterical.

The older one tends to be a little more serious, now that he is a big boy in first grade this is the one that's been known to do math problems just for fun. While he was riding around, my dad pedaled slowly by him, and dinged his bell. My nephew noted that he didn't have a bell, and since he was right near us I replied that he's got a birthday coming up this summer and maybe we could get him one as a birthday present.

He got a thoughtful look on his face at that. "Oh. Well. I don't know. If I invite you, that is."

He's too young yet to realize quite how that came out in his six-year-old brain, presents come from people who come to your party, and it's entirely appropriate that he'd much rather have his little friends come over to his birthday party than his boring old adult aunts and uncles. But Richard and I just cracked up, and immediately had to share his response with both his parents. It became the afternoon's most repeated phrase. "Well. If I invite you, that is." In about ten years we'll be gleefully dragging out this sort of story whenever he's being particularly snotty to his parents, just for the embarrassment factor. Little kids are so much fun.

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