This weekend, I discovered a new form of torture and it is called "Happy Birthday To You." Prior to Max's party, I had never realized just how evil that song is. Now that I am fully aware, I would like to know what that kindergarten principal and her pianist sibling who came up with the melody were thinking.
Here's what went down at Max's birthday party, whose theme can best be described as Purple Cars 2 And More Purple and whose mood can best be described as 85 percent happy, 15 percent meltdown. We held it at an art studio, and Max spent the first hour of the party at the various stations painting with purple, drawing with purple, mixing up purple shaving cream and making himself a purple frame. The kids, mostly from his class, were all really enjoying themselves.
Inspecting the paint to make sure it is just the right shade of purple
He particularly loved this table, where you could dip cars in purple paint and make purple tracks.
Time to make the purple shaving cream
Portrait of an artist as a purple young man
My niece, Margo, my sis and her husband dressed in purple in honor of Max.
My niece Gillian and Sabrina
Max was determined to color every speck of this frame purple, and he did.
Max and Sabrina, collaborating on a finger-painted masterpiece
At last, cake time. Max was gleeful that I'd gotten him the exact ice-cream cake he'd coveted, props to my sister-in-law and her husband for transporting it.
Then people began to sing "Happy birthday to you" in a low voice. Max lost it and started wailing, and then he went into this tailspin of angst and he did not stop crying for a good twenty minutes.
I would like to say that I remained calm, but I got upset. Sometimes, my expectations for making Max happy get the best of me and I wig out inside, right along with Max.
Dave whisked Max out of the room where all the kids were sitting, eagerly awaiting cake, and then we both tried to calm him down but he wouldn't be soothed and I desperately wished the place stocked some Birthday Mom valium, along with the paint and pom-poms.
My good friend Paola stepped in to cut the cake. That tightness in my chest didn't ease up unti 1) Max finally stopped crying and started eating birthday cake and 2) Paola jokingly suggested that we duck out to the bar across the street for a martini.
By the time we were ready to head out, Max was upset because the party was over. He wanted to stay, he told us. At home, he reverted to his usual cheerful self. He had another portion of birthday cake, he opened presents (he now has Cars 2 stuff up the wazoo), and he bemusedly listened to Sabrina's new song: "Happy birthday to whoop-dee-doo."
And then he woke up the next morning and told me it was his birthday that day, too.