Celebrating Ken

Pride goes before a fall, you know, and that holds just as true for birthdays. I was congratulating myself as Reid and I wrapped Ken’s present for having made him something ourselves and then kept it a secret. Okay, we had it for only 36 hours or so but it was still quite an accomplishment compared to the first aid kit I’d picked up that he saw before I had even brought it in from the car or the Cookie Monster glass that Reid told Ken about as soon as she saw him when we got back from the grocery store. I was thinking this way right up until I realized that the cellophane tape I thought was in the drawer, wasn’t. As I went to the basement to choose between black duct tape and green painter’s tape, I reminded myself that pride was a sin.

Reid had decided that we needed to set the table and then hide before Ken came downstairs so that we could yell, “surprise” when he came into the kitchen. Luckily enough for me, Reid decided to hide in the pantry rather than in a cramped location – at 6:45, I am less flexible than I might hope. Ken took the long route down from the bedroom but we still managed to say quiet until he finally came into the kitchen and then we yelled (but quietly) “Surprise!”. Ken looked more confused than surprised. It seems that he knew it was his birthday and had expected that Reid and I would be in the house when he came downstairs.

Reid was far too excited to wait until breakfast was finished for Ken to open his cards and present.  Given that I was still a bit proud, but in a humble way, of our present, I didn’t want her to spill our secret. Ken opened his cards first and was suitably impressed that Reid wrote both “Daddy” and “Reid” by herself in the card from him. She scooped my surprise by telling him that his card from me would make “smack, smack, smack” kissing sounds when he opened it and then as he pulled the bag out from the wrapping paper she blurted, “It’s a tray!” And, indeed, it was a small wooden tray that was the perfect size to hold Ken’s cereal bowl and spoon. The one end isn’t perfectly aligned but then the same could be said of me. ;+)

We made the tray at the Canadian Children’s Museum workshop as part of the Bob the Builder, Project: Build It exhibit. There was a supply of kits from Home Depot to choose from, with all of the wood cut, nails counted and directions provided. It was just the right level of complexity for builders like me and Reid. When Reid is 5, and old enough to attend a kids’ workshop at Home Depot (sorry no Canadian link), we will definitely seek them out.

After gymnastics – yes, Ken got to attend a live entertainment event for his birthday – Reid and I stuck 14 candles into an angel food cake and she sang Happy Birthday to him mostly solo. I had started with her but realized that she didn’t need my assistance. If you’re wondering why “14″ contains the same digits as Ken’s real age but not in the right order.  After the song, Ken blew out the candles all in one breath. Reid was much impressed!

Ken’s birthday is one of my favourite days of the year. Sometimes I think that I am more excited by it than he is. He is pretty low-key and I’m more romantic. If he hadn’t been born, how different my life would be. I am grateful for his birth and will celebrate the day, to his embarassment perhaps, and share the importance of it with Reid.

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