Well, I was all ready to carve out a nice 1/2 hour or so tonight and go on a huge bitch-fest about Mr. Z's birthday weekend extravaganza but, basically, the whole thing went off with nary a hitch. It's really bizarre -- like I was konked on the head and, when I came to, I was part of some ruckus-free family where things always go as planned, nay, better than planned. Frankly, I didn't know what to do with myself.
Of course, Mr. Z woke up not only AT the crack of dawn yesterday, he woke up IN the crack of dawn. He crept into our room and sort of whisper/yelled, "Dad, can I get up now?" Still in my morning phlegm chrysalis, and forgetting it was his birthday, I hissed, "ACK! Go back to sleep!" Then I remembered and added, "Oh, and Happy Birthday... ACK!" Of course, I couldn't go back to sleep at that point, so I got up and we went downstairs.
He was dying to open his presents, but it was the old lady's day to sleep in, so he was forced to wait. I did let him open a couple from his aunts and uncles, which held him over for a bit. Kind of like methadone for a horse user. Smooths out the rough edges but it's just can't quite scratch that itch.
Finally, the old lady came down and, in a flurry of ripping and shredding that lasted all of 30 seconds, all of the presents were opened. Unlike buying gifts for the old lady, getting shit for Mr. Z that he'd like is a piece of fucking cake. We hit and hit hard on every one. He totally loved the two games for his Gamecube (Pikmin2 and Paper Mario). We're not really into the whole video game thing, but he's been playing that Animal Crossing game forever and I felt bad for him. So he dug those. He was totally jacked about the new "Secrets of Droon" book and this book called "The Giggler Treatment," which is basically all about poop. Can't go wrong there.
There were a few other things, but the biggest hit, I think, was this cheapo "Practical Joke Kit" that the old lady picked up for him. Complete with fake vomit, fart whistle, hand buzzer, disappearing ink, squirting gum, dribble glass, dollar bill snatcher, and the all-time classic, fake dog shit -- it was like we had given him a briefcase full of diamonds. The fake dog shit alone is probably going to keep the kid laughing his ass off until he's 18 or so. He must've come up to me 10 times today with that thing in his hand, or on his shoulder saying, "Uh oh, Dad, look what happened." And you know what, I fucking laughed every time. There's no two ways about it --fake dog shit is comedy gold... er, brown.
Anypoo, the present opening over with, we started getting ready for the party at the zoo. I was prepared for the worst -- no one showing up for the party, massive puking from bad cupcakes, one of the kids getting mauled by a leopard -- something.
The kids who showed up, about eight of them, were total Leave it to Beavers -- full of "Please," "Thank You" and "No-no, you look at the Biturong first!" It was crazyiness!
First, some old lady docents presented some animals to pet -- a hedghog, an opossum, a milk snake and a legless lizard (which I totally want -- those things are fucking gnarly as shit.) One of them tended to ramble on for, like, EVER but hell, she was old and shit so it didn't even bother me. Then we all walked around the zoo checked out the meager selection of wildlife on display. It was like some sort of zoo-seeking neutron bomb went off and vaporized all the really cool animals, leaving behind all the boring beasts. I mean, there was a tiger or two and some monkeys and shit, but compared to the Lincoln Park Zoo back in Chicago, this place was like walking around an outdoor Petco.
But the kids dug it, so who gives a shit. Then, we had some pretty tasty cupcakes from this great Italian Bakery in Lansing called the Roma Bakery, sucked down some juice-boxes and choked down the zoo-provided popcorn that tasted/smelled like wet farts and earplugs.
And that was it. No conflicts, no tears, no mauling of any sort. It was a normal birthday party. Amazing. Oh, and for the record, there were no goodie-bags handed out at this party. I put my foot down this year. The whole goodie-bag thing is such bullshit and I have made it my personal mission to put an end to ridiculous ritual. Come to the party, bring a gift or don't, I don't care. We'll provide some entertainment, some cake-like food, a beverage and maybe even some farty popcorn. But you ain't getting a fucking baggie filled with generic candy, whistles, army men, glow sticks, and novelty sunglasses. Go to the dentist for that crap, ya little shits. For cry-eye.
So, yeah, Mr. Z stepped up to the plate and did an incredible job this weekend. He's fucking eight?! That's insane! It feels like only last week he was sobbing uncontrollably because Miss O wouldn't let him play with her sea otter puppet.
Oh wait... that was last week. Oh well. Baby steps.