Tuesday, July 15, 2008

It's his birthday and we'll cry if we want to...

Alex's birthday was last Thursday, and as much as I'd love to say that it was the most wonderful, perfect day ever, one that we would always cherish and remember with fondness, that would make me a big, fat, lie-telling liar. And except for the occasional use of hyperbole for comic and/or dramatic effect, this blog only features the whole truth and nothing but.

So the truth is, Alex's birthday was an awful, icky day. The worst one I've had in months, maybe even years. I was already stressed about all the stuff I had left to do before we left for Fayetteville the next morning, including finishing several things for the party, figuring out what Alex was going to wear to the party (since the irresponsible, pathetic, loser of an internet company we had ordered his shirt from totally flaked out, never sent us his shirt, failed to respond after multiple attempts to contact them, and are now being pursued by PayPal to get us our money back), packing everything we were going to need for the trip, including all of the party decorations, blog, and try to clean up the house so we wouldn't come home to a pigsty.

I had had a late night and Alex decided to make it an early morning, plus I woke up with a headache and swollen lymph nodes and a raw, scratchy throat that made me feel nauseous. Alex was no better off. He was whiny and crabby from the minute he woke up, which is very uncharacteristic of him. In hindsight, I realize I should've taken that as a sign of scary things to come. We attempted to cheer him up with a decadent breakfast - a sweet potato pancake with syrup and whipped cream. We sang to him and helped him blow out his candle, then he ate his pancake. It blew his mind for about a minute, then he was back to whining and fussing. Ugh.

Timothy headed to class and left the whining and fussing birthday boy for me to deal with. He took only a short nap in the morning, and then we had to run some errands which included - yes, more whining. UGH. He is always so good in public. We went to Whole Foods, where I bribed him with yogurt-covered pretzels, then the cashier gave him a big red balloon and let him pick out a free snack. That kept him happy until we got to Target, where he whined and fussed his way through the aisles, making the frustrating task of finding a cowboy shirt that doesn't exist even more stressful.

We headed home after that, where he refused to eat his lunch and then cried through his second and much needed nap. Instead of entertaining himself as usual, he was wanting a lot of extra attention, and I was happy to oblige since it was his birthday and all. But that meant I was not checking anything off of my twelve page "To Do" list, which made my ulcer flare-up and inspired me to rip large chunks of hair out of my head. Oh, did I mention that I had woken up with swollen lymph nodes and a scratchy throat that made me want to throw up? Yeah. And I was worried about passing my symptoms onto Alex because, seriously, all I needed was for him to be sick on top of everything else. So basically, I had to lavish him with attention while attempting to stay as far away from him as possible.

Alex's extended family members were calling throughout the day to wish him a happy birthday, which was very nice, but meant that he would scream at me until I handed him the phone. So he could hang up on them. I finally sat him down with his wagon so I could talk business with my mom, and since he likes to climb into it and stand up, I turned it upside-down so he wouldn't get hurt.

I forgot that the little booger thrives when faced with a challenge.

My guess is that he stood up and tried to support himself with a wheel, which then proceeded to spin out of his grasp, thus causing him to fall face first into the metal axle. As my mom and I were talking, I heard a horrific shriek from the other side of the sofa and looked up to see blood gushing out of Alex's mouth. I dropped the phone and ran over, and in the one point three seconds it took me to get to him, his top lip had swollen to the size of marble. A shooter. It was so huge and bloody that I couldn't really tell what had happened or how bad it was, whether he had jammed his tooth through it, whether he was gonna need professional medical attention...

Needless to say, I pretty much freaked out. My mind immediately went to his party. Visions of him scaring away all of his young and impressionable party guests as he turns to face them with his grotesque lump of a lip. Kids screaming, terrified, running to take shelter behind their moms and dads who, secretly, are a little frightened themselves. THE HORROR!! And that was just his party. What about the rest of his life? How could he live like a normal boy with elephantiasis of the lip? Would he be able to eat? Drink?? He could certainly kiss straws goodbye...Speaking of which, would he ever have his first kiss or would the girls avoid him like the plague?? Oh Lord, how were we going to afford the plastic surgeon to turn his mangled monster lip back to the beautiful and perfect baby lip that it once was??!!

My already elevated anxiety level shot straight through the roof, and the tears that had only trickled out during the course of the day started pouring. I got a towel full of ice and convinced A to suck on it to try to stop the swelling. As he and I sat on the floor bawling, I called Timothy, who was on his way home from class, and said "I need you home now." A couple of minutes later, he got home to find two big crybabies who were very glad to see him. Like the good dad he his, he comforted Alex and made me go to the bathroom and take a breather because Alex was "feeding off of my negative energy".

As much as I hated to admit it, he was right, and as soon as I took a sec to calm down, I came back to find Alex in good spirits, jabbering, and repeatedly slamming a plastic microphone into his swollen lip. It seemed that he was already over it, but I was still upset that such an icky thing had to happen on his birthday.

We had an appointment to get his first haircut that afternoon, so we packed up Alex and his lip and headed to a place called Cool Cuts for Kids. Basically, it's a salon where they can charge you an arm and a leg for a crappy haircut because they have car chairs for the kids to sit in and TV's for them to watch. We weren't sure how Alex would respond to getting his hair cut, but he did great. He loved "driving" the car chair and watching the TV and hardly seemed to notice that someone was touching his head. (P.S. By this time, the swelling had already gone down quite a bit, so don't judge my dramatic reaction to Alex's busted grill based on what you see in these pictures.)

I told her that I wanted to be able to comb it over or spike it up, but she cut it in this weird, reverse-widow's peak where the middle was shorter than the sides. It looks okay if it's got enough product in it, but sue me, I was hoping my one year old's haircut would be wash and wear.

The finished product:

We went to pay and they charged us $17.95 for the cut. $17.95!! Alex has about one twentieth of the hair I've got on my head (even after ripping half of it out), so the way I figure it, that's like me getting a three hundred and fifty dollar haircut. I was a little disappointed that there wasn't more fanfare about the fact that it was his first haircut, ever, in his whole entire life, but they really didn't make a fuss about it at all. They did give us a little envelope with his little baby curls in it, so I guess that's something.

We had planned on going somewhere fun for dinner, but all the excitement (and poor napping) left A pooped. He completely passed out during the ten minute drive back to our apartment, and instead of waking the poor, tired baby, we hit the drive-thru at Wendy's.

We took home some hard-earned burgers and fries, and since it was his first birthday, we decided that we'd give in and let him have his first french fry.

I wouldn't say that he "loved" it, but he seemed to like it about as much as he any new thing he tries. Let me put it this way - he didn't throw a hissy fit to get more, and these days, that is the telltale sign that he is really into something. After dinner, he and I shared some ice cream and then we let him roam around a little before bathtime.

Apparently Murphy was feeling not-so-fresh, so he decided to join Alex in the tub. Needless to say, it was a surprise for all three of us.

So his birthday had turned out all right in the end. Alex was in a much better mood and his lip had deflated significantly, which meant that I was in a much better mood. Even amidst all the drama of the day, I kept thinking about how it had been a whole year since Alex had joined the family, about how much he has grown, about how much pleasure he has brought to us, and how lucky we are that God bestowed this particular child on us. What a blessing, to have such a healthy, happy, and overall amazing child in our lives for the last year. It really does make even the worst of days more tolerable, when between fat lips and hissy fits you get to hug him and comfort him and to know that he loves you back.

As much as I wish this day had been perfect and fuss-free and boo-boo-less, it probably would not have been quite a memorable. And Alex knows that Mama needs a good story to tell know and again, so I suppose he was just doing me a favor. That Alex, what a good sweet boy he is. Happy birthday, buddy!!

1 comment:

Alison said...

Never a dull moment with little ones around. I'm glad it all turned out to be a good day.