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….