Saturday, April 12, 2014

Birthday Pancakes

On one of the few days left in an adult's year
where selfishness and gluttony are acceptable, often encouraged,
I fix myself an order of buttery, syrupy pancakes,
 fantasizing about the peace and tranquility that could come
from a leisurely breakfast at the table.

Browsing the news.
Drinking in the sunlight.
Sipping coffee while it is still hot and
not neglected, cooling on a counter
while I tend to a drippy nose or an empty juice cup.  

Time for me to just be me,
I chant to myself as I set my cup and plate down at the table.

I take one bite,
 then two bites,
relishing the fact that my children have not yet
caught sight of me from the living room.
 My plan is working.
Warm sips of coffee.
Beautiful rays of sunlight.
This is the life.

And then she sees me.
Hair wild like long, tall grass.
Voice shrieking high
like the monkeys she loves at the zoo.
Tiny feet racing one another,
Left foot versus right --
which could get to me fastest?

She softly lays her head on my lap.
She doesn't know the words yet,
but her deep chocolate eyes do all the talking for her.
I know that I have been caught.

I carefully cut one bite,
then two bites,
and offer them to her on my fork.
She gobbles them up faster than I can cut another piece.
She squeals with delight
as she hoists herself up onto my lap.
She takes my fork
and cleans my plate for me,
as if she didn't want to put me out
any more than she already has.

A small violinist that lives inside my heart
plays a tune as I say goodbye
to the last bite, sliding off the fork
and into my daughter's mouth.

She knows she has stolen my breakfast.
Her apology is a sticky kiss,
loud and sloppy on my mouth and chin.
Before I can speak a word,
she slides off my lap
and sprints toward her toys.
Her work here is done.

My coffee is cold.
My plate is empty.
My stomach rumbles.
Still, these birthday pancakes were some of my favorites.
This is the life.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Eva's Big Day Out

I let Eva plan her birthday this year, so naturally she crammed as much as possible into the day.  Travis took the week off with some of his vacation days, and I took a personal day so we could spend the entire day together. The zoo opened the day before her birthday, so we went there first to see all our old friends again. Eva was pretty sad the elephants were gone, but at least she knows we weren't lying to her last year when we told her to say goodbye to them. Izzy really enjoyed feeding the fish and looking at the giraffes, but the usual zoo thrills did not agree with her at all. She was not a fan of the carousel or the train. Maybe one day. :)

Time got away from us at the zoo, so we went to Hungry Hobo to get a quick lunch. The girls devoured some cheese fries and we all had a good time. My one requirement in Eva's plan was that we had to fit a nap into the day, so this is where our nap went.

Once naptime was over, we piled back into the car and headed to Monkey Joes. This was definitely the highlight of the day. The place was deserted and the girls had the run of the place. Izzy was a child unlike I have ever seen. She was daring and had such a great time climbing and bouncing around and going down the slides. Eva had a blast, as always, as well. We will definitely be going back there again soon.

When the time came we left Monkey Joes and headed to Happy Joes and the Jungle Bungle to meet Grandma and Papa for some birthday pizza. She opened up a few presents we saved for the day and the kids played around the equipment and the arcade. Eva didn't want her birthday ice cream, so Izzy happily stepped up to the plate.