Birthday Loot

Charlie’s birthday was last Thursday and true to our (we’re-so-tired-all-the-time) parenting style, the event was pretty low key. Charlie had a good friend from school over for a playdate and we baked cupcakes and opened presents and sang and blew out a birthday candle and that was that.


Charlie did not, as in years past, proceed to eat the actual birthday candle. With age, comes wisdom, apparently.

Charlie asked for one specific thing for his sixth birthday: a wallet. He has earned a little money helping around the house and wanted a place to keep it. Makes perfect sense. We were relieved with the simplicity of his birthday wish list since he kind of hasn’t stopped talking about bringing that baby bear home. A wallet is infinitely easier to procure. Charlie’s new Spiderman billfold doesn’t actually fit into his teeny tiny pant’s pocket but, whatever, he can just hold it in his hand since I’m sure he’ll need some form of identification when he goes to pick up his new bear.

At six, Charlie’s most defining physical characteristic remains his small stature. He is still rather wee, as six-year-olds go.

It has been entertaining to watch him board the bus every day, clambering up the massive first step. With his backpack loaded down with books on library day, he almost doesn’t have enough momentum to actually make it in. I sometimes worry he’s going to tip over and fall back out. In fact, for many months, there was actually a girl that sat in the very front seat of the bus – right behind the steps – that would lean over every morning as Charlie boarded and hoist him up by his backpack handle. Without fail, I would watch her hand appear, take hold and yank him up the steps. It was hilarious.

At Henry’s soccer practice last week, I was sitting on the sidelines while Millie and Charlie loitered close by playing. One of the other mothers looked in their general direction and asked, “Twins, right?” “Well, no,” I laughed. One is three and one is six. But, I can see why she would think that. Only four pounds separate Millie and Charlie. In fact, Millie, oversized for her age, has now surpassed Charlie in pants size.

At this age, Charlie’s compactness only works to his advantage since we find him ridiculously adorable and want to give him everything he asks for (except for a baby bear, but only because Target doesn’t sell them). That’s why we bought Charlie a new lawn tractor. The argument could be made that we purchased the lawn tractor for mowing the lawn but really, Charlie knows that we know that he knows that the mower is really for him.

Charlie and Bob studied lawn tractors for months, eventually deciding on one together. They brought me to the dealership, pointed at the model they both wanted and then waved me into the showroom so I could handle all of the paperwork. A week later, the day before his birthday, Charlie was driving all over the neighborhood on his new Cub Cadet.


Sorry neighbors! You’ll be hearing the roar of this engine for months to come.

I cannot overstate how much Charlie loves this lawn mower. He wakes up talking about it, falls asleep dreaming about it and incessantly pings Bob to take him riding on it. I pulled into the driveway this past weekend, opened the garage door and found Charlie, with the hood of the lawn tractor up, examining the engine. He had a small notebook and pen in hand and explained that he was performing a twelve-point inspection.

Charlie's notes from the mower inspection. We should actually consider teaching him how to change the oil on this thing. It would be handy.

According to Charlie, everything looked good. Also, we should probably work on his counting since this actually appears to be a 14-point inspection.

In addition to the lawn tractor, we successfully convinced Charlie we got him bunk beds for his birthday. Technically, we just bunked their existing beds but the whole thing seemed novel and new.

I have been diligently attempting to get our house more organized over the past few weeks and bunking the boys’ beds was crucial to solving the storage problem in the small room they share. (Full disclosure: I have never been a fan of their beds. I hastily purchased them years ago when we were moving to Richmond and now I strongly believe no one should ever be allowed to panic buy furniture while living in a temporary apartment with a padded bank account between house closings. I was mostly irritated with myself for how much I spent on bunk beds that we never bunked however, now that they are in their final resting place, I love them with my whole heart.) The boys’ room is pretty much transformed with all of the new floor space bunking the beds revealed and with the addition of a double dresser that needed a new home.

This room will never look this neat ever again. (Also, ignore the paint colors and lack of curtains. WE'RE GETTING TO IT.)

This room will never look this neat ever again. (Also, ignore the paint colors and lack of curtains. WE’RE GETTING TO IT.)

Charlie feels like a king getting to sleep on the top bunk and Henry, nine, is enjoying the cave-like atmosphere of the bottom bunk. However, the absolute best side effect of bunking their beds is that the kids actually want to play in their room now which means significantly less Lego pieces in the family room and greater quiet everywhere else.

Basically, a marvelous birthday present all around for everyone.

Totally unrelated to Charlie and his birthday, I assume that, by now, most of you have seen this video mashup of famous dance scenes set to Walk the Moon’s, “Shut Up and Dance.” If you haven’t, we should remedy that:

Are you dancing yet? Because it’s impossible not to dance while watching this. Literally impossible. If you’re not at least moving your feet a teeny tiny bit right now, you might be dead. Even Bob dances when this song comes on. It’s no Wings or anything but it’s pretty catchy.

We have watched this clip innumerable times in the past couple of weeks (hat tip to Twitter for always having links to the best stuff). Also, Henry assures me that the “shut up” part of the lyrics aren’t bad to say because we’re not saying them TO anyone. We’re just singing them. Sounds good to me.

So, you’re welcome because now this song is stuck in your head for the next week. My birthday gift to you!

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