Saturday, December 17, 2011

The Birthday Party, Part 3: The Moral

In the end, seventeen of Sky's friends and two of Pink P's joined us for skating. I anticipated Sky would melt down at least once about not being able to skate and that Pink P would melt down about the discrepancy in presents. I also figured neither kid would be thrilled about the big skating panda that helped birthday kids celebrate.

I was wrong. But only slightly. Sky didn't melt down about skating. In fact he loved it, and Pink P didn't notice or care about the presents, especially since I had them open them at different times.

Here's what I didn't expect: I didn't expect the woman from the skating rink to narrate the play-by-play panda skate with,"Neither the birthday boy or girl can skate! Look at Pink P struggle! Poor Pink P...." I didn't expect Pink P to have an existential crisis brought on by her newfound ambivalence about skating. Put the skates on. Cry. Take the skates off. Cry. Repeat. It didn't help that we had to travel half way around the rink to get from our party table to the kids' practice rink. Every time Pink P took off her skates she insisted on going back to the table and putting on her shoes. Then, by the time she walked back to watch her friends in the practice rink, she was ready to try again. So back to the table to put on the skates. Fortunately, while Pink P and I were walking back and forth, Sky had a blast skating with his friends.

In fact, Sky kept it together pretty well. Until time for cake. The very thing I expected to be our saving grace was nearly our downfall. It all started out just fine. The kids gathered at the tables, taking a break from various forms of skating. Candles in place, four for Pink P and seven for Sky, the group started singing. By the time we got to, "Happy birthday de~ar Pink and Sky~...," half of Pink P's candles and three of Sky's seven had fallen victim to a boy who took advantage of each "ha" in "happy birthday" to blow them out. By the end of the song, few lit candles remained. Puzzled, Pink P blew out the remaining two with a shrug of her shoulders. Oblivious, Sky took a moment to make a wish. In that moment, the little girl in his class who wants to marry him, ducked around him and blew out the rest of his candles.

I honestly didn't see that coming.

So, of course, I didn't react quickly enough. If I had, I could have gotten my hands on the matches and relit his candles. But I didn't. Sky leaned in to blow and only then realized the candles had all been extinguished. From the look on his face, I could tell he thought Pink P had done it. Before things devolved into sibling warfare, I had to intervene. With no other recourse, I told him his friends had accidentally blown them out when they were singing. For a brief moment, I thought he might take it okay.

He didn't.

Instead, he stood up and removed himself from the group. (For what it's worth, his ability to remove himself before melting down shows that our time at OT is paying off). Ren tried to soothe him while I corralled the rest of the kids. It wasn't until most of the kids had eaten most of the cake that we managed to secure more candles and reenact the song and candle-blowing sequence. Then, and only then, could Sky be pacified. And after a few bites of cake, he was back to skating with his friends.

In the end, everything turned out okay. And what did we learn? We learned you can never really anticipate what will go wrong, so you might as well stop trying.

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