Noah, Luke and I arrived at the bakery soaking wet from the soggy, chilly weather we were given this morning for Noah’s 5th birthday party. The very sweet (elderly) bakery owner had made a cake for Noah which was nothing like what I had envisioned. It was a gigantic rectangle of blue frosting with Noah’s much too small Turbo the Snail cake topper placed off center and the phrase, “Slo No Mo, Happy 5th Birthday Noah!” scrawled across the top. I know she was trying to add an extra touch, but that wasn’t quite what I’d had in mind.
Of course the few people who have seen the movie, might know that it’s about a snail with a dream to move fast like a race car, who is then sucked into a car engine and comes out with the ability to move at lightning speed and starts calling himself “Turbo.” It wasn’t intentional, but it seemed to imply to those who have never seen the movie that Noah was no longer “slow” minus the “w.” Noah had been obsessed with the movie and requested a Turbo birthday cake so he didn’t mind. In fact, he liked that it was blue and had the Turbo action figure on the top. “Meh, good enough then,” I thought.
The very sweet bakery owner also gave Luke a mylar balloon which he let float away into the rainy, gray yonder as we left and while the owner held the door open for us and of course watched as her gift turned into a speck in the sky. I offered my apologies and she just said with a slightly annoyed edge to her voice, “Boys will be boys.”
The second half of the morning went better. They both had a decent lunch of fruit and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Noah actually asked to take a nap before the party and they slept for two whole hours! I was able to make two giant trays of baked ziti, finished cleaning a few last minute things, and applied some much needed make-up. Scott ran to the store and bought ice cream, ice, and took back the pop cans to make room for many more.
Guests began to arrive around 3:00. In no time at all, our foyer was lined with presents. Noah was bouncing off the walls with excitement. It was really cute how enthusiastic he was with each friend’s arrival, “CARTER!” “JAMESON!” “VINCE!” His voice was a shriek. It made the week of cleaning and planning well worth it.
After dinner, we sang happy birthday to Noah. His “dinner” had been his blue cake, some ice cream, a cup of juice and just as he was taking a bite of a cookie, he started to gag. My mom was watching the whole scene and thinking quickly, grabbed Noah, dashed him to the bathroom where he quickly emptied his dinner of sugar into the toilet.
I had been in the kitchen cleaning up when all of this went down. But someone (I think my sister) came and found me to let me know Noah had just thrown up. I couldn’t tell you details because everything got blurry for me at that moment. One very important thing you need to know about me is that at the very top of ALL OF MY PHOBIAS is vomit. Vomit makes me go out-of-my-head-crazy. I quickly go into panic mode at the sight or even sound of someone tossing their cookies.
That being said, I gathered my nerves and ran to the bathroom to see if he was all right.
“I need to clean him up, but the water isn’t working,” my mom said looking a bit anxious but told me she was relieved that they’d made it to the bathroom. I grabbed a wash cloth to wipe Noah’s face and arm but the water was off, it finally registered that my mom had just said that. We had blown a fuse earlier that day and since we use well water, I thought maybe that had been the problem. Noah was also jittery and announced, “I threw up, Mommy! But I’m all better now. I want to go play.”
“We need to clean you up,” I said. “Mom, will you please find Scott and tell him the water isn’t working and I will try the upstairs bathroom to see if it’s working…?” I was reaching and not thinking clearly because I was so grossed out by the smudge of nastiness on Noah’s shirt and arm.
Finally, Scott found us and told me he had chosen that very moment to be changing out the filter on our water softener. Now, this is a perfect example of my husband’s uncanny ability to choose the days of major events hosted in our home to work on completely unrelated household projects. Obviously, that would be the perfect thing to do in the middle of a five-year-old’s birthday party when 40 people are in your house. Past projects have included cleaning out the garage or our unfinished basement (which no one ever sees or cares about) hours before major holiday celebrations. So for the sake of keeping the story rolling, we’ll just leave it there. The water was off because the water filter was being changed out.
He realized that I was freaking out and hurried back to the basement to turn the water back on. It was back on in a couple minutes. We cleaned up Noah and I looked at his hazel eyes.
“You ok, buddy?” I asked more calmly.
“Thank you for my party,” he smiled and hugged me un-phased by upchucking. I was so glad it hadn’t affected him too seriously. But it also made me feel like he was such a big boy.
“You’re welcome, sweetie. I love you,” I said and I kissed the top of his head forgetting the past ten minutes.
A little while later, we opened his presents. The pile of loot looked like an inventory check of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle merchandise at Wal-Mart. It was with a twinge of sadness that I eyed the stack remembering when it was a heap of Thomas the Train toys and more little-boy toys for past birthday celebrations. But he’s five now and I suppose Thomas might be a little babyish to him very soon.
It’s the age-old tale of the mommy who thinks, “My little baby is growing up. Where has the time gone?” It doesn’t seem like all that long ago that I held his chunky little body in the crook of my arm and rocked him to sleep wondering what he’d be like. Time is speeding by swiftly. I can see him growing into a kind, empathetic, thoughtful boy. I can see his stubborn streak a mile wide. He is a natural leader. He can also be very bossy, but I have faith that with a little direction he can channel it into something very positive.
I see the wheels turning in his head every day. He sounds out words and tries to write sentences. Just a few days ago he wrote the letters, “I M TRNEN 5” without any help from me. I asked him what it said and he said, “I am turning 5.”
I am so proud of him. I am amazed that I have been blessed with such bright and wonderful kids. I am also aware at how true it is when people say time flies. It feels a little like a snail’s pace when you’re going through those baby/toddler years. But as we know, it’s really “slo no mo.”
(Sorry, I couldn’t help myself.)