|The birthday waffles|
He came bouncing down the stairs at 7:25 chanting, "Happy Birthday, Happy Birthday, Happy Birthday," with each step until he could see into the living room and then he said, "OOOOOOO, balloons!" It's nice to know that nine years old isn't too old to appreciate my efforts.
When I tucked him into bed the night before he told me firmly that "just because it's a school day tomorrow doesn't mean that we can skip birthday waffles!" So I set my alarm half an hour earlier and set a steaming pile of our Rusnak tradition, fresh-off-the-iron waffles, topped with melted butter, maple syrup, raspberry jam, whipped cream, rainbow sprinkles and a candle before him at the breakfast bar beneath his sleepy-eyed grin.
His party was after school. I created a big scavenger hunt that would take two teams all over town. Questions like: What costs $50 at Strands Hair & Aethsetics on Main Street? (nose piercing) or What is the metal container called to the right of the red mailbox outside the Post Office? (butt stop) Each letter from their answers was assigned a number which they used to decipher a code message full of trivia about Zander and the day he was born. I worried that they might think it was too much like school but they were beyond excited.
We got back to the house with wet hair, numb fingers, red noses and high spirits. My team was first back but Zander's team was first to decipher the trivia - Nathaniel singing their answers along to Owl City's Fireflies - and they won coupons for a free ice cream cone at McDonalds.
I served pizza and hotdogs for supper. A cake shaped like a Nintendo mushroom. Party mix. Cream Soda. (My apologies, Canada Food Guide.) When it was all over, Zander hugged me and thanked me and said it was, "the best!" I told him it was my pleasure. And it really, really was!