Sunday, January 04, 2009

Worst birthday ever.

Today was Bean's birthday. Know what we did? Yelled at him all day to finish his homework (which, of course, he had had two weeks to do). We *were* going to go to Target to buy him "Operation" with his birthday money; Mr. P. and I had talked about taking him to feed his addiction at Build-A-Bear Workshop; there was to be cake, or at least the baking of chocolate chip cookies.

NONE of this happened. And do you know why? Because that child refused to sit and do the damn homework. For nearly 8 hours. I did what I always do, and sat down at the table next to him to do my work while he did his. Instead, major drama ensued, with tears and wailing. Eventually, for a break from this, he and I played catch, since he's been begging to do this for weeks and we've not been able to, and since I wanted at least something to go right for him on his birthday. But then, he disappeared into his room to read something that, while I'm glad he is reading it, is most definitely not the book he was supposed to be reading for school.

In retrospect, I'm wishing I had done at 2pm what I finally did at 9pm and simply stand over him, pointing to each math problem and helping him stay focused. The whole thing could have taken about an hour, including the reading of a book that I finally just gave up on, so thrilled I was that he finally finished the two math sheets.

As various relatives called to wish him a happy birthday, he would proclaim that it was "the worst birthday ever!" And I would feel a pang of guilt, or several pangs, until I remembered that we just had a lovely big party for him with the relatives a couple of days ago, and that we will be having a lovely big party for him in a couple of weeks with his friends at one of those places where parents take kids to run around and be noisy and eat cake.

Still, I feel that one's birthday should be special, and I feel like I've let him down. If it hadn't been 3 degrees with a wind chill of -15 today, and if I hadn't felt somewhat crappy, we would probably have made a much bigger effort.

He did get extra stories tonight at bedtime.

For my part, it was a melancholy day. I can't help but to feel vulnerable as my baby turns 7 and I wonder what things will look like for our family in another 7 years. It's also the last day of Christmas vacation (well, for Bean, anyway), which always makes me tearful and cranky. There's nothing like being slapped in the face with the cold reality of January after hiding out in cozy Hannemas and visits with family you don't see frequently enough. So, now I'm back to planning my syllabus (which will probably seem more exciting tomorrow, as it's a job I usually enjoy) for a semester in which I will be having surgery, but I don't know just when, or how long it will take me to recover enough to come back to class (or, the part I can't really bring myself to say out loud, what the outcome will be). A challenge.


Anonymous said...

Well, if it's any comfort, Emma's birthday was almost as bad. We did our annual outing to Golden Bowl w/ friends (Barts, her best friend & family from school, ice skating buddy and mom, former babysitter), and she behaved like whatever the equivalent of a bridezilla would be: Was rude to adults, grabbed presents and threw them around, pushed her sister down...she ended up sulking by the fishtank after she was threatened with removal. It must be a seven thing...

Green said...

As a kid I used to feel that one should not be made to cry on one's birthday. Now I am an adult and don't have to celebrate my birthday anymore and find I cry less on that day than I used to.

I'm sorry Bean had the worst birthday ever, and really do hope he already got through the worst birthday he'll ever have in his life.

Plain(s)feminist said...

Anon - I'm sorry to hear that! I hope the rest of the day went better.

Green - I agree: no one, especially a kid, should be made to cry on their birthday.

Bean seems to have rallied. He was very excited to hand out party invitations and to bring cookies to school as a birthday treat.