Thursday, June 22, 2006

Just Like That Annoying Mastercard Commercial...

Dinner for 20 at Chuck E. Cheese: $85.49
Balloons and water bottles for 9 kids: $18.00
Amount for ungodly quantities of batteries required: $28.50
Nickelodeon aquarium kit: $21.95
Goldfish: $.29
Getting a big hug and kiss and "this was the best birthday EVER!" from Nicholas: priceless!

Yes, Nicholas celebrated his 5th birthday at the coveted Chuck E. Cheeses last night. It was chaotic and crazy and crowded, and we couldn't keep track of all the kids that ran helter-skelter through the place, and the pizza kinda sucked and damn! why can't that place sell drinks by the pitcher anyway? And it was nearly impossible for the adults to have any sort of conversation what with all the chasing around of the kids, but the kids themselves had the time of their lives, and that's what counts when you're 5 and it's your birthday. And they even announced it over the P.A. system and everything! And Chuck E. Cheese himself came up to him and shook his hand! Oh boy - a dream come true. Despite getting sick with a chest cold, Nicholas still rocked the games and earned enough tickets for a slinky. A bonus birthday gift.

I love the fact that my child, while getting bigger and more worldly everyday, still believes in such things as "birthday fairies" because I told him they existed. Am I evil for doing this? He's been wanting a goldfish longer than I can remember, and I must have told him at one point that you needed to be 5 to get a fish. Nicholas forgets nothing, and has reminded me almost daily for months that he's turning 5 and is therefore old enough for a fish and he wants one and PLEASE CAN I HAVE A GOLDFISH FOR MY BIRTHDAY??!! Even I can get that hint. As luck would have it, the PlayCare at the YMCA happened to have fish bowls and fish, cut out and everything, for kids to color and then glue the fish on the bowl. Glue, people - not tape. Because, y'know, that's what the person told him to do so we simply.could.not.use.tape. So after Nicholas colored the fish bowl and the fish (gold, appropriately), and we "glued" (really, taped, but don't tell him or I WILL kill you) that fish into place, I told Nicholas that if he put his picture under his pillow and wished for a fish (the name of a book we have), the birthday fairy would hear his wish and he might just get what he wished for. He promptly put that crayola creation under his pillow and repeated the mantra, "I wish for a fish! I wish for a fish! I wish for a fish!" before naptime and bedtime for two days. He rationalized the concept by explaining to me that the Birthday Fairy would hear his wish and then tell the people coming to his party what he wanted. See, that makes perfect sense to a 5 yr old. Just so you know. If only life were that simple, eh?

So of course we were getting him a goldfish. I mean, duh - ! We're not cruel, regardless of what you think. Mr. Chick made the obligatory visit to Petco to get the necessary supplies. I was envisioning, you know, a simple bowl and some rocks and maybe a fake plant or two. He busts out with a 10-gallon aquarium kit, complete with filter and lighted hood. A bit much for a simple goldfish, but what can you do? He was just as excited as Nicholas, I think, to get a damn fish. We wrapped that big box up (in Christmas paper, no less, because it was so massive that I didn't have enough birthday wrap to cover it. Nice. I rock like that.) and Mr. Chick brought it with him to Chuck E. Cheese. It goes without saying that Nicholas was happy that the Birthday Fairy listened and came through for him.

But then, momentary angst. First thing this morning we had to check out the gift haul. I mean, it's hard to really examine and appreciate the bountiful goodness of glorious presents in the middle of nutty Chuck E. Cheeses. Almost immediately - before breakfast had been eaten or pajamas exchanged for clothing - Nicholas was wanting to go to the store for batteries and fish. NOW! (quick aside: we needed 4 "D" batteries, 3 "C" batteries, 2 9-volts, and 3 dc1.5's - the little disc kind - to power all the stuff he was given. Jeez! It probably cost more to buy the power for the toys than the toys themselves. What a racket!) We scouted locations for this aquarium and quickly realized that it was too big to go in Nick's room. His dresser has a bookshelf hutch on it, and there wasn't enough room to accommodate the tank. This was a major bummer because Nicholas had visions of cozying up with the fish, I think. But I said we could take a look at other options, and this soothed his troubled soul. Apparently having the tank downstairs in the playroom just wouldn't do. Then it wouldn't be truly his. I understand this.

Once we hit Petco we found the perfect compromise: a less-expensive, smaller aquarium kit from the nutty people of Nickelodeon. It's a brand from them called "Odd Parents" - it's not quite SpongeBob, but it's close. It's a 3-gallon plastic bowl that has an off-kilter castle that masks the filter/bubbler thingy, and two very strange, slightly upsetting and creepy, balloon heads that "float" in the water. Nicholas thinks they're perfect toys for "Fishie" (the oh-so-original moniker he's bestowed upon his new goldfish. Long live Fishie!) So the tank, while noticeably cheaper than what Mr. Chick had picked out, fits on Nick's dresser, and isn't quite as low-grade as a simple bowl. It has a filter! We set the thing up and Nicholas has been visiting Fishie off and on all day. And having Fishie in his room was clearly more important than Fishie rocking a stylin' glass aquarium. Now if I can just keep Lauren from dunking her fingers in the water or wanting to drop various objects into the bowl we'll be A-OK.

I took pictures of the party - really, I did. But I had to use my mother's camera and she hasn't downloaded them yet. Hopefully I'll get them soon and can share a few images from the event.

Must be somethin' about The Mouse and #5 because we'll be going there next Thursday to celebrate Collin's big 5!!!

Happy birthday to Nick!!!!
HAPPY BIRTHDAY to Nicholas!!!!!!!!

We got our 3 year old one for christmas and he loves it, we got the 10 gallon variety and we've been through several fish...oh well, that's the life of a fish I suppose, good luck with our fishie!

By the way, I have a guest blogger today if you have time, stop by and give her a whirl!
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