Friday, November 2, 2012

40 Days of Birthday: Day Forty {End of Days}

My 40th Birth-Day came and went and instead of writing about it, I took a day off. I hope the suspense hasn’t been too great. The day began with taking my son to Kita. The day before, I had asked if there would be any sort of Halloween festivities, but beyond having a Jack-o-Lantern in the lobby, the answer was no. It’s still catching on here, as you may have read. When we arrived, however, there was one child who’d come in a half-baked Darth Vader costume. I say half-baked because he was missing his mask, the ultimate accessory for any Vader. Nonetheless, this made me wish I had put Lennon in his Beagle costume for the day. Discussing it with Nicholas later, it was determined that we did the right thing by bringing him sans costume: The Beagle costume is still a little big on Lennon and it might have been annoying for all parties to have him tripping on it all day. In addition, it had already gotten some good play this costume season. I reminded myself that there is always Fasching in February—his bigger fitting Beagle costume should still be in working order then as well.

I received a couple of last minute birthday gifts on my final Birth-Day: Eight hours of uninterrupted sleep the night before from Lennon, and in my mailbox when I came home from Kita drop off, a lovely bracelet from my sister-in-law, Kim.

A couple of weeks ago, I received a large package from my sister, Erin, stuffed with fun bath toys for Lennon and a birthday gift for me: Artisan wool felted cuffs handmade in Northern California. I wanted to wait until my last Birth-Day to show them off—giving them their proper due. So pretty.

I did some gifting myself, this being a holiday beyond just Birth-Day Forty. I made some extra banana sweetened “acorn” muffins for our upstairs neighbors, the family that includes Lennon’s buddy Otis. I reckoned since the boys are too young to go out for Trick-or-Treating—or eating candy—they could enjoy a healthy “treat” at home. Lennon would have his “acorn” muffins with cream cheese for breakfast the rest of the week. Incidentally, the muffin recipe is the same one I used for his birthday cake. No sugar but lots of love.

When I retrieved Lennon from Kita, his teachers informed me that Lennon had walked from the playroom to the bathroom all by himself. When we got home, I tried to recreate what had happened at Kita: he walks! He walked all the way down our hallway. Then he walked across the living room. I tried to film, but realized this was a two person job so waited until Nicholas got home. It was literally overnight that he went from taking just a few steps beyond our arms to truly walking on his own!

After filming the boy and his new amazing feat (or is it amazing “feet?”), I put him into the tiger costume that I had worn on Halloween when I was his age. I talk more about it here. As always, our photo shoot did not go as planned. Our independent little boy isn’t interested is posing—certainly not when there is walking to be done. Miraculously, we captured some shots of him that mirrored the ones of me wearing the costume—completely by accident. Finally, Lennon was happy to be freed from the acrylic confines of the 1970s baby romper and into his own cotton pajamas.

The main activity for my Halloween Birth-Day was to do a Native American-esque smudging ceremony of our apartment. Truth be told, I had meant to do this directly after we moved in, but there was still so much commotion, it just never seemed the right time. On this last Birth-Day, as I put my transition into this new decade behind me, it felt right to cleanse. I had purchased the sage smudge stick in Half Moon Bay, California this past summer. I love that it wrapped wrapped in a pretty orange, cotton twine. After the smudge was lit, I started clockwise from our front door and visited every room, letting the smoke waft throughout. Many people had lived here temporarily in the months leading up to our moving in and the place needed a clearing out. In addition, whatever stress or fears we brought with us regarding the move or the financial jump we’d made to the larger apartment could stand a cleansing as well. With all my esoteric good intentions, the first change I noticed after I smudged was that my cold-turned-sinus-infection seemed much worse. Even the gentle, aromatic smoke from the smudge was irritating. Small price to pay, I suppose, for clean house.

Later that evening, unexpectedly, a small group of Trick-or-Treaters rang our bell. We hadn’t purchased any candy, not having had any visitors on Halloween for a couple of years. We buzzed them in thinking they’d go to someone else's door in the building. When they knocked on ours, Nicholas was standing, frozen, by the knob, signaling to me not to make a sound. One Halloween, before I moved to Germany, Trick-or-Treaters knocked on Nicholas’s door and he was mortified to not have anything for them. I assured him it would be all right and grabbed my bowl of acorn muffins—at least we could offer those. At the door was a group of four twelve year olds dressed in classic witch and goblin attire. Nicholas explained, rather defeated, that we did not have any candy but asked would they like a homemade muffin, baked fresh today. Three of the kids took a muffin. The other, perhaps, had been warned by her parents not to take any homemade treats. In general, that’s probably a good rule.

Nicholas then ran out to a convenience store to grab a bag of candy. I put the contents in a bowl by the door, proper Halloween style. Luckily, we did get one more small group of Trick-or-Treaters who were thrilled by our selection: Haribo Maoam.

Side Note: On the way home from the store with the candy, Nicholas informed me that one of my muffins had been found half eaten on a window ledge in our building and another was perched on the pumpkin outside our door. I really can’t blame those twelve year olds. How can banana possible stand up to all that delicious sugar?