Yesterday was David’s seventh birthday.
That was me whispering, just in case you couldn’t tell.
In the days leading up to his birthday, David wanted no birthday talk. He does not anticipate presents. In fact, he does not ever request new toys, which I must admit is somewhat refreshing, and he really has to be coaxed to play with anything new. He does not like to pick out a cake because, among other reasons, he does not like cake of any kind and sees it merely as a decorative holder for the candles. He did not count the days or hours until his birthday.
Truthfully, since language is a relatively new development for David, I am not sure he even knew when his big day was going to be. I guess we were so busy trying to coax meaningful speech from him that we had, until recently, neglected practicing a few basic skills like address and phone number, age and birth date.
It is a tradition in my family to call very early in the morning and sing the birthday song, but yesterday I had to screen David’s calls. Even a whispered “Happy Birthday” after the 3:30 a.m. trip to the bathroom elicited an emphatic “NO BIRTHDAY” accompanied by David’s index finger placed over my lips with the only semi-polite warning, “PLEASE be qui-hee (quiet)."
I sent a quick e-mail to David’s teacher explaining that David was bringing treats for his classmates at school, but seemed reluctant to celebrate his birthday. He only willingly stepped onto the bus when I assured him that the bus driver would make no mention of birthdays.
David’s birthday happened to coincide with his class celebration of Grandparent’s Day, so I had the late afternoon call from my spy—I mean mother. David seemed to be doing really well. He was wearing the birthday crown, had tolerated an enthusiastic rendition of the birthday song, and appeared to be having a good day.
David’s good mood continued when he arrived home. He endured the bus driver’s birthday well wishes—sorry, David, but the crown gave you away. He spent time showing me the booklet which included portraits drawn by his classmates and opened with David’s birthday self-portrait in which he was wearing green. (I swear that kid stays up at night trying to invent new ways to surprise me.)
He initiated some play time with Andrew, and was still happy when the party guests arrived, my immediate family. He gobbled down his favorite pizza—actually his only pizza—Godfather’s original crust hamburger. He opened a present or two, endured the opening of the remaining presents and cards by present opening elves and even gave a passing glance to his big present, a Nintendo 3DS.
We had decided to give David his big, birthday/Christmas present for his birthday when there is less confusion. We opened it and charged it in advance and Andrew had even (selflessly, I am sure) volunteered to serve as first runner-up Nintendo 3DS owner/operator in the unfortunate event that David is unable to fulfill his duties as primary Nintendo 3DS owner or just plain never really warms up to the thing.
At David’s insistence, I had to remove the game cartridges from the boxes of the two corresponding DS games that David received and rewrap them. Evidently, they make the perfect pretend elevator doors. I also had to quickly draw an elevator on the new Magnadoodle—at least one present was a hit. David looked pleased as we sang to him in hushed voices, followed by our best golf clap. He blew out his candles, summarily rejected his slice of SpongeBob cake and even, for a split second, modeled his school birthday crown for us.
It was a good birthday. It was a fun birthday for David and by the time I peeked in his room at 9:00, he was leaning against his SpongeBob pillows, hair still wet from his bath, playing WipeOut on his new DS. Sorry, Andrew.
Happy Birthday, my sweet boy.