C.J.’s eighth birthday was on February 1, which was also Super Bowl Sunday, which a lot of people thought was really cool, except for C.J. Luckily, Katy Perry’s halftime show made the day bearable for him.
Because of the NFL’s total disregard for my child’s birthday, we were forced to celebrate early.
On Friday, I picked up C.J. and three of his best girl friends after school for a birthday playdate at our house.
The night before, while C.J. was asleep, I decorated the house in the pink and black party supplies he had selected. I was giving myself an “A” grade in parenting. Then, we arrived home and Matt was waiting with a bouquet of pink and white flowers for C.J., which knocked me down to a “B” grade and moved him up to an “A+” grade because a dad surprising his son with a birthday bouquet of flowers will always earn 100 percent.
At C.J.’s request, we gathered around the dining room table and decorated cookies. As you can see, to this group, more is more.
Then, we made Valentine’s Day-themed monkey necklaces. The package showed a girl monkey and a boy monkey, but we called them red monkeys and black monkeys. I told C.J. and his girl friends that we had enough supplies for each of them to make one red monkey necklace and one black monkey necklace.
They all made the red monkey first and decorated it to be a girl monkey.
“I’m going to make the black monkey be a half boy, half girl monkey,” C.J. informed everyone at the table.
“Me too! The boy monkey will be half boy and half girl like you, C.J.!” one of his friends said. All the others excitedly followed suit and C.J. was beyond flattered.
The cookie decorating and necklace making didn’t take nearly as long as I had anticipated; I was scrambling to think of something for them to do.
“We’re going to go upstairs and play what we always play during lunch and recess,” C.J. proclaimed.
“What do you play?”
And, with that, they were off, clamoring up the stairs and slamming doors as they all selected articles of clothing from our enormous dress up bin and dispersed to various rooms to get suited up. C.J. put on a dress, which I wasn’t sure he’d feel comfortable doing because one of the girls had never been to our house before nor seen him in a dress or skirt.
When they reconvened in C.J.’s room they took their places (naturally, C.J. got to be Annie since he was the birthday boy) and, then, at the top of their lungs, started singing “It’s A Hard-Knock Life.” Over and over and over and over again. They even had a semi-choreographed dance routine. I wondered what the other kids on the playground thought about them when they did this at school.
After close to an hour of enjoying their vocals, I suggested it was time to open presents. On the way downstairs C.J. and his friends tried to convince me that the new Annie movie is better than the original Annie movie. In an attempt to be a gracious host, I said that we should agree to disagree.
Proving they know him well, his friends gifted him with My Little Pony, Monster High, Littlest Pet Shop and a Target gift card, which he later spent on Shopkins and leggings.
When, it was time to take his friends home. C.J. left his dress on and slipped on flip-flops.
“Is C.J. going to take me home wearing a dress?!” his newer friend asked.
“Why not?” I asked.
She shrugged her shoulders and giggled and took his hand as they walked to the car.
We went to bed early that night, because the next day was a very big day….
Happy Birthday to CJ. Better late than never. Just catching up on my blog reading. I love Matt. What a great man, husband, and dad. He keeps confirming to all that you can be a strong man and dad while giving your creative son flowers for his birthday.
Happy birthday to cj from down in Australia! Also his hair is just gorgeous the colour is unbelievable most people have to pay a truck load to get hair as beautifully coloured as that.
One of my favorite versions of “Hard Knock Life.” Amazing choreography and talented kids. Hope C.J. likes it! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1PZ1iBId2h4
Happy birthday! What an inspiring family you are. Thank you for sharing your story – the more we are honest and authentic about who we are, the more others have permission to be their most authentic selves, and there’s less shame in the world. Good for everyone!
Did C.J. forget about a wig party? Did you have to convince him or did he change his mind?
I’m new to the blog but I just want to say that I’m so glad that he can be himself. I have boy girl twins and I just let them explore and be who they want, even if they are just seventeen months old. 🙂
Happy birthday to CJ! My birthday is also on February 1st, and I feel CJ’s pain about the SuperBowl! Glad you guys found other ways to celebrate!
Happy Birthday C.J x
Happy Birthday CJ!!! I hope that he had a magical weekend. He is such a special person. 🙂
What was happening the next day? The way you ended makes it sound like there is a story yet to come!
Why not indeed, wise Mama, why not indeed.
Happy Birthday CJ! I share your birthday and your pain about Super Bowl being on your birthday! LOL!
I can’t wait to read about his party! And I love that he has friends that accept him as he is. Happy birthday, CJ!
Sounds like a fabulous birthday….thanks to an amazing family and amazing friends. Happy, happy birthday C.J. !!!!!
I’m looking forward to part two 🙂 Jeremy agrees with the “more is more” sentiment for decorating cookies too.
A fantastic birthday. And every one will get better, each year. CJ and his family deserve nothing less.
When I was 6 my friends and I played Annie constantly in the playground (it quite replaced Star Wars for a while). I think I can still quote most of the script! We’d focus on the early scenes, and the dramatic rescue at the end, though CJ and Co’s choreography is almost certainly better than ours…
Yay awesomeness! I think you still get an A in parenting.
Happy birthday CJ! Sounds like a perfect celebration. Today is my son’s 6th bday. Your family is a gift to us!
Okay, now I am waiting for Part 2!
Happy Belated Birthday, C.J.! It sounds as if you had a blast for the first part anyway. 🙂
Your posts never fail to make me think and almost always make me smile. This one made me kind of weepy. Bless you both for raising such a wonderful child and letting him be whoever he needs to be.
Oh by the way, Matt gets an A+ in my book as well.
Beautiful! Happy Birthday CJ!!
Yeehaw, happy birthday, CJ! Sounds like a blast!
Happy Birthday to C.J.!
I have to agree that his Dad getting him flowers is pretty amazing 😀 And I love your comment on the way to the car…”why not?” why not indeed!
I just read the book you wrote about your wonderful son C.J. It’s as if you knew my 5 year old Maxwell and wrote about him. Our family has just started this wonderful, scary, journey with our son. Although, Maxwell has been wearing dresses inside our house since he could pick his own clothes. We, in the past 2 weeks allowed him to wear his dresses to school. He is like a new child. So happy.
My discovery of your book, and now your blog has come at just the right time;Thank you!
This is a beautiful story, I wish that someone that I know can be free to express himself, when he is in the house walking heels and makeup his face lights up like it’s Christmas it kills me that he has to suppress who he is and I see the anger in him and it kills me.I have to do something to help him be free.
When it comes to cookies, more is always more.
I’m picking up the old Annie this week to show the Little People in our house. We might have to go see the new Annie after that too, but we’ll see about that 😉
Have a fab year CJ! Amazing Annie hair could be achieved by ragging his hair overnight. I think he might love it!
Thanks for sharing this sweet story with all of us.
thanks so much for sharing the celebration with the world!
Happy Birthday to CJ. I just love reading your stories about him. He’s a special kid and you are definitely a special family. Not because you are different, but because you allow him to be different and don’t treat him as different.