Oh, it was awful.
First of all, last year, I was out of town on my baby boy’s birthday and therefore did not deliver cupcakes to his classroom but his friend‘s mother did (they have the same birthday), thus spotlighting my parental neglect. I didn’t even KNOW that they were allowed birthday celebrations at school anymore, but I learned. Oh boy, did I learn!
So this year, I fixed my hair, put on my makeup, drove to Albertson’s, bought twenty-nine cupcakes and delivered them to his classroom before noon. I rock. (I would have baked them with my own dried-out dishpan hands, but you can’t bring homemade stuff to school, only store-bought.)
When he returned home from school, we’d decorated the kitchen with balloons and streamers. And he smiled and thanked us. He was so happy.
We popped by the (boring) Science Fair, then went to Red Robin for a birthday dinner.
He claims to love shrimp and when I noticed it on the menu, I said, “Hey, they have shrimp here,” and so he decided to order Jumbo Shrimp.
I was eating my Cobb Salad when I looked over and realized that he did not love his Jumbo Shrimp. He gets this “I am trying not to cry” look on his face and I was puzzled. I must have glanced at my husband because he said, “He’s not getting anything else,” and I said, “What’s wrong? Don’t you like it?” and I could totally tell my baby boy, the Birthday Boy, was working hard at not crying.
So, my husband flags down the waiter who is apologetic and offers to bring him something else. Minutes pass, we eat in a somewhat grim silence, broken finally by my husband who is the King of Small-talk and I think, okay, this dinner will be redeemed, we will all be okay, he won’t cry–he’s getting a burger–all is well. Good. Right. Okay.
The burger comes and he fiddles with it awhile (muttering, “I said no pickle and no onion”) and then I understand that somehow the burger is wrong. It was supposed to have an egg on it. (AN EGG ON IT? WHAT? AN EGG? HUH?) and I’m all confused and like, “Wha– an egg? That is so gross!” and my husband flags down the waiter and now the manager comes out and they are all so sorry and apologetic and they say, “Oh, we’ll get you an egg.”
At least, they bring an egg and a bottom bun so his burger will not be contaminated by the dreadful red sauce and it’s evil pickly bits.
Everyone but me and the Birthday Boy were done and so my husband gathers up the other kids, realizing we have two cars at Red Robin, and tells us that he will meet us at home. Plus–and this is important–our upset boy was growing more upset by the attention and sympathy and questions from the other kids. So, he thought it best to just leave.
Which it was. So, my son finished his burger (comped by the restaurant) and we jetted out of there without a birthday song or ice cream. Instead, we went to Dairy Queen which gave us plenty of time to talk about what happened and I HOPE smooth over his distress and put this Birthday Disaster into some sort of perspective.
Though I may have been a little melodramatic when I pointed out that when I turned eleven my parents were getting a divorce. (Hey kid, quit crying. It could be worse. You could have no feet.)
Really, I felt awful about the whole situation. He’s such a soft-hearted boy and thought that he was somehow in trouble or that his dad disapproved since he didn’t like the shrimp. If anything, I said, Dad would be mad at me because I suggested the shrimp.
When will I learn to keep my mouth shut? Me and my helpful suggestions!
Anyway for next year, I know this: Cupcakes. Lots of cupcakes, distributed in lots of places.
And then? Barbecue at Famous Dave’s and I promise to just zip my lips when it comes to menu suggestions.
Also? I suddenly thought tonight, “Pre-adolescent hormones?” NO NO NO. Not ready.
Up next? Twins turn sixteen in April. Stop this bus! I want to get off.