On Sunday, we went to Round Hill Farm for my work friend Missy’s one-year-old son’s birthday party. I put a Jason Voorhees shirt on Chooch because that’s appropriate.
Missy had little treat boxes shaped like barns for all of the kids. Chooch was STOKED ON THIS. She even let him pick which stuffed animal he wanted, which of course was a vein-bulging decision. He ultimately chose a cow, and then immediately seemed to doubt himself. However, that cow never left his side all day. Except for when Henry was holding it.
Which was actually often, so nevermind.
(Side note: If Barb had thrown this party, she would have had a little barn gift for me, too. JUST SAYIN’, MISSY!)
Sandy’s daughter Elena mimicked Chooch’s every word. He inadvertently taught her to say “derp” and “EAT IT!!!” while tossing bread into the pond. He kept sighing in faux-disgust, but c’mon, Chooch — you finally had the audience you always wanted! You could tell he was relishing this on the inside.
“If she goes home and wants to watch zombie movies, it’s not my fault,” I said to Sandy.
I also loved the contrast between his Jason Voorhees shirt and her pretty pink party dress.
Missy promised Elena a balloon and was trying to pass one off to her without any of the other children seeing because she wasn’t ready to start doling out party decor yet. But of course Chooch, who was probably one of the oldest kids there, saw and was all, “I WANT A BALLOON TOO OMG.” So while Missy was untying a balloon from the cake and present table inside the visitor’s center, Elena let go of her balloon and since Henry, Sandy and I are all under 12 feet tall, it now belonged to the ceiling.
When Chooch came running back to us with his balloon, I nudged him to give it to Elena. “Be the hero!” is what my elbow yelled into his shoulderblade. He did so begrudgingly, but I know my kid and if he didn’t REALLY WANT to give her his balloon, he wouldn’t have.
And then, before we could stop him, he ran back into the party room to hound Missy for another balloon.
While everyone was gathered inside the party room, singing Happy Birthday to little James, I momentarily lost sight of Chooch and Elena. Then I saw the only two balloons undulating above the small crowd, like bouncing beacons.
“This is probably why Missy didn’t want any of the kids to have balloons yet,” Sandy observed as their balloons drifted into people’s faces and other children craned their necks to covet the accessory that their hands did not have. The whole scene just made me laugh.
What you can’t see in Missy’s blurry hand is the GIGANTIC CAKE KNIFE she was swinging around like a princess wand, slicing up the air and god forbid any poor gnat that happened to be in the vicinity. My friend Sandy and I kind of just hugged the wall and allowed this to happen because it was entertaining and we were far enough away that we probably wouldn’t have gotten carved up like someone’s Thanksgiving turkey.
You would think that going to a one-year-old’s birthday party at a petting farm wouldn’t have much morbidity going on—and it didn’t, not until my kid took it there, anyway. But while Chooch was hanging off a tree, teaching Elena god only knows what, his balloon popped on one of the branches.
So he decided to have a funeral and bury it.
(This picture is courtesy of Sandy.)
Elena of course chose a stick of a dangerous size and joined in the labor. Some party guests walked by and did a double take. Chooch explained with a shrug, “This is how people used to dig holes in the past.”
RIP Red Balloon.
I promise, this was fake. At least I think so.
After the party, we drove down the street to the pet cemetery where Speck and Don are resting. After visiting with them, we wound up going inside and reserving two plots above theirs for Marcy and Willie, so that one day they can all be together again and not scattered in far apart plots all across the pet cemetery.
You know, cat lady problems.
So, a balloon funeral and pet cemetery plots. But we had birthday cake along the way so it all balances out.