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June 22, 2002: Snips and snails

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Today was my nephew’s 4th birthday party. He’s been looking forward to this for quite some time, now that he’s old enough to grasp the concept of birthdays, and knows that his is soon after his grandpa’s. He was antsy at my family’s half of the Father Fest last Sunday because he knew that grandpa’s birthday meant his would be coming soon. And to make matters worse, his mom had enlisted his help in picking out the theme. Bob the Builder, it seems, is quite popular with the pre-preschool set. So for weeks now he’s known that soon he would get his cake with the traffic cone candles, and for a little guy, waiting any amount of time is hard.

Richard and I slept as late as the cats would let us (so much for that ride we’d planned around our usual weekend Starbucks run!) and then drove up to Napa, where we discovered that everyone else was hitting traffic and running late. While we waited for both sets of grandparents and two other families with small boys his age, we chatted with my brother-in-law’s sister about, naturally, cats.

My nephew was practically vibrating with excitement, and it got worse and worse each time the door opened and someone else entered with presents. His younger brother wasn’t as interested in the people or the presents, being only a bit over a year. He was more interested in the fact that he’d finally gotten this whole walking thing down, and was wearing a tread in the floor doing circles through all the rooms.

My nephew (the older one) will start pre-school this fall, and for his next birthday there will only be kids his age. I’ll admit to feeling some small sense of relief about that – four rambunctious little boys are awfully loud even when playing with wooden trains in the other room, and he’s getting old enough where his aunts, uncles, and grandparents aren’t nearly as fun to play with as kids his own age.

Still, it was amusing to crowd both sides of the family into my sister’s living room and watch him blow out his traffic cone candles and open his presents. Plus, we got to play with his new toys. Little kids get the coolest toys.

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