Today is 'Salina's 8th birthday. This time 8 years ago I was stupefied in hospital, looking at a trussed up baby and wondering what the heck I was meant to do!!
Our Day Part 1
Today were awoken at 6.15am - so a one hour sleep in - woo hoo. We had stayed up late last night (well the adults - all that wrapping!) so needed caffeine - and instead we got an episode of the Eddie mini-dramas...
Interlude: Eddie Adventure
Last night, Eddie had climbed the screen door, somehow balanced on top while he found a grasshopper to torment, and once he got him down "guarded" the recycling the grasshopper hid in - so of course, we shut him on the other side of the screen door.
By 6 this morning, he had torn the screen door in an attempt to reunite with the grasshopper - so 'Salina put him out of his misery and opened the door. By the time our kettle had boiled, Eddie had the grasshopper begging for mercy.
Now, this was not a lubbley little native keeper but a big brown locust variety - and although I am all for balance in this unnatural environment, I decided to free the little beggar because there is nothing like torture to make the morning an unpleasant experience.
I got a tissue to protect myself from nasty grasshopper feel (they give me the hee-bees) and in a smooth arc of the arm, tossed him through the window beside me.
Thump!! The window was shut. So I opened it and redid my brave feat! Lubbly grasshopper did not have a good 12 hours.
Back to Our Day
With V's coffee and my tea, we sat down for the present opening ritual. It appears 8 year olds are far more wily than your 7 year old variety, as she saw this for an opportunity to potter and play act for her captive audience. It wasn't until the family cry of "stop messing with our minds" did she get down to business.
She scored well - she knew most of the booty she was getting from me, as she shopped with me for it yesterday - but I still wrapped every item up seperately (in recycled wrapping paper - one of my OCD behaviours). She also some stationary and an address book from me (so important in the social life!), a horse crystal and light set from V, got a electric-dog pencil sharpener (from V's ex-wife), a horse brush and clothes (from my sister and her family) and clothes and a swing set and monkey bars from Nana and Grandpa!
After breakfast there were household duties to attend, as I have been a bit absent this week and there was a pressing engagement at 11.
Her festivities begin
No party was the order this year - instead, there was a request for a shopping expedition with girlfriends to check out toy stores. I whittled the number down to 2, and at 11am the first task was to collect Girl1.
After I collected Girl1 and her mother waved her away blithely into my care for as long as we wished - and our first port of call was to collect the lay-by 'Salina has been paying off for the past few months.
Then it was time to meet with Girl2, take her from her parents and start our adventures.
The first adventure was food. Now, my child is no paragon, but her preference has been tailored by V and I to look for good stuff, and she wanted a kebab. Girl1 thought about it, but Girl2 exclaimed "eww", so all three ended up eating junk. I allowed it as it was the easiest route, and I needed to follow that path with the extra girlage.
Then we went to a fantastic toy store we discovered yesterday - it doesn't have a website (yet - I enquired) but really lovely quality toys at reasonable prices - yay!!!
Apparently the store was meant to be shut before we entered, but the owner was waiting for someone and we assumed open door meant open for business - but she was more than glad to let the girls choose a few little things (that 'Salina bought for them out of her money) and 'Salina buy a real toy sewing machine from her birthday and money-box money (with only a small booster from Mum, as there were too many coins to contemplate).
We then went to try the large toy chain as it has a sale on presently - but they adhered to their early closing time on Saturday ritual and missed out on an opportunity to fleece us.
We went to a park we had not ventured to before - and it had one of those cycle-see-saw things - that the girls worked out could cater to all of them, so a good hour of energy was drained (and squealing achieved) there - until the call of the shops (and the screech of the bindis and threats of broken glass) stopped our fun.
The shopping frenzy
Our final destination was a shopping centre where there is the "$2 Shop" to take our last coins. Girl2 had given 'Salina money for her birthday, but had none of her own to spend - so 'Salina gave her 1/4 back - and they shopped every aisle, examining the better, more wonderful toys or options. Girl1 was cashed up, and bought for 'Salina, her mother, her father, her brother, her cousins and her sister - and still had over $20 left in her purse! Girl2 had the fiver, and so bought quite well.
Seeing Girl1 being so magnanimous, she spent $1 on something for her brother - "which is very nice for me to do, as I don't like him" she said (on 6 separate occasions).
When we left that store, the couple who owned the wonderful toy store were walking past and again chatted about website stuff - I am not a designer, but knew of a deal around town so actually felt a bit business-like for a moment - oh, and then 3 girls clamoured for my attention and I was back to reality...
We dropped Girl1 back to her family (and I must say, Girl1 did a marvellous thank you speech to myself and 'Salina on the way with no prompting whatsoever - I WAS impressed).
On the other hand, Girl2 taught 'Salina the lyrics to "Don't you wish your boyfriend was hot like me" on the way home, interspersed with them playing with magnifying glasses they had bought and Girl2 saying "This makes you look even chubbier, 'Salina. You're really fat".
Home, sweet home
We came home to see how V had gone without us ALL DAY, only having Eddie, the laundry, the swing set assembly, the monkey bars assembly and the newspapers to amuse him.
(Now, I am not sure at which point I should put this in, but another request was that V and I stop smoking by her birthday - which we had good intentions to do 3 months out from her birthday - okay, 1 month out - maybe 2 weeks out? - 1 week? Nah, today is cold turkey (with some patches). And I accede to a shopping trip with 2 other pre-teens? Yeah, right... V played it safe by staying home.)
Upon seeing his posture and the fact that other matters took precedence over reading my mind, I whisked 'Salina and Girl2 downstairs again to help assemble monkey bars.
Players in the back yard
Girl2 really got up my nose, with a conversation with 'Salina (in front of the invisible me) as follows:
Girl2: Who is your best friend, 'Salina?
'Salina: BestFriendFromOldSchool and You, Girl2.
Girl2: But I mean here - who is your best friend here?
'Salina: You - and Girl1, Girl3, Girl4, Girl5, Girl6 and Girl7.
Girl2: Yes, but I am your best friend, aren't I?
BoyNextDoor was home, and as he and 'Salina play together well was invited to join in the project.
Girl2: You don't like BoyNextDoor, do you?
'Salina: We play together.
Girl2: But you don't like BoyNextDoor, he's not your friend.
'Salina: We play dinosaurs and dragons a lot - not all the time.
BoyNextDoor enters back yard and they all go to climb frangipanni tree.
Girl2: BoyNextDoor, 'Salina hates you.
Jeanie: We do not have conversations like that in this back yard, thank you!
By this stage, realising that the monkey bars needed the swing set to maintain full stability, I had dragged out the swing set pieces. BoyNextDoor and I did the inventory, I ascertained that V wasn't feeling left out by not being included in the process (he didn't want to yell at kids and that is what one of them makes him feel like doing, so he passed), laid out the first few bits, realised the self-locking screws (or something) looked too much like the short-setting screws (both in packet 2015), worked out that I didn't want to yell at kids and that is what one of them was making me feel like doing (we had a much bigger swing set at our old house, 'Salina) and the sun was about to set.
I packed Girl2 and 'Salina in the car and took Girl2 home. I am not sure how glad her parents were to see her, but there was a certain Mr Olsen look from the father...
By the way - I am not saying Girl1 or 'Salina are paragons - they just know not to show it in front of an impressionable adult...
We had lasagne for dinner, a million phone calls returned and a tired but oh-so-very happy daughter in bed (with the crystal horse as a new night-light).
I think I may head that way too - very, very soon.