Saturday, September 29, 2012

Four Tommy with Love

Tommy might not remember his 4th birthday, but I sure as hell will. Peter probably will too, but we'll get to that breaking news in due time.

For undue time, I'd like to flash back to 1:00 this morning, when Nicole, Angie and I were wrapping gifts, blowing up balloons and drinking beer. This by itself was not unusual - we even do some of those things on a nightly basis. Unusual was when Angie blurted out 'I know it!' and grabbed the phone.

We found out later that Angie had apparently been ignoring our conversation and had been listening intently to the radio station instead. SWR3 was on and they had posed a riddle.

Mr. Palushka looks into the face of a woman and realizes he's ruined. Why?

People could then call in and ask three yes/no questions.

Angie nodded at Nicole and me and we naively assumed that she was really paying attention to what we were talking about when actually, she was busy digesting the clues as people called in.

He was not married to the woman. The woman was not alive. It was a picture of a woman. He had a company. He was now bankrupt.

'I know it!'

'Yeah, okay. That doesn't really fit with what I just said.' 

Before I could scratch my head as to why Angie was frantically calling someone at one o'clock in the morning, I heard the radio DJ announce that they had an Angie Johnson from Heidelberg who thought she had the right answer. Yeah, that happens a lot, actually.

'I think it's because he paid a lot of money for the rights to use the Mona Lisa for a cosmetic company selling eyebrow brushes and realized after finally looking at the painting that she has no eyebrows.'

For a few seconds you could only hear the DJ and the entire SWR3 staff applauding and shouting in the background.

'I can't believe it! I thought for sure I had another 30 minutes - amazing! Congratulations!'

Angie went on to explain that her son Tommy had a birthday today. The DJ asked Angie to please not wake him up, but told her that they would send us an SWR3 stuffed animal for his birthday. Cool!

Luckily, Angie and I have been trained to only get four hours of sleep, so going to bed at two and having a house full of kids who had spent the night wake us up at six was not a problem. No, actually it was several problems, starting with the sun, which was shining way too brightly for my liking. My ears were also dawning on the realization that Tommy's voice had actually gotten louder overnight. To make problems grumpier, I didn't have a coffee in my hand, even though I had clearly demanded that Angie make me one. Her self-perceived witty comment about being banned from the kitchen didn't help solve the problem, either.

As Angie and I worked hard to fix each other's problems, the show moved on. Loudly.

You can really measure a kid's age by how they respond to gifts. At age one, they suck on the wrapping paper.  At age two, they eat the wrapping paper. At age three, they rip the wrapping paper to shreds. At four, though, they actually look at the wrapping paper. And giggle?

Okay, at age four, they don't giggle. They give the wrapping a brief glimpse and still just rip it to shreds. Maybe the humor gene doesn't kick in until later. Angie is coming up on her 40th and I'm still waiting, so it could take a while.

Boys will be boys and the group of overnighters immediately zoomed in on the 'aliens trapped in vials of snot' gift.

I turned to Angie and asked her what moron gave him that lovely gift.


I deemed that moment to be the wrong time to ask about my coffee and wisely disappeared into the kitchen. Nicole jumped in and showed the boys how to use toys that Angie will most likely regret buying. 

After several hours of disgusting Angie with extraterrestrial mucus, it was time for Tommy's fan club to stop by. 'My Ute' was at the top of Tommy's guest list.

Judging by Ute's smile, she knows all too well that Tommy doesn't need a bag full of sugar to get his motor running. Judging by Tommy's candy-eating grin, I don't think he cares. He gets this from his mother.

As Ute was gleefully shifting Tommy into second gear, Peter was shifting into overdrive while playing hide and seek in the garden with Sebastian. Despite very wise advice that has been repeatedly given by a sexy father-figure, Peter decided to hide on the garden wall.

The reason I constantly yell at Peter that he is not allowed to play on the wall is simple. On one side, the fall is short and ends in grass and mud. The other side is not so short and ends in pavement. Peter decided to fall down the side less traveled.

I was upstairs welcoming guests to Tommy's birthday party when Peter face-planted the sidewalk. Luckily, Sebastian is good at the seek part of the game, especially when the hider begins screaming his head off and promptly rang the door bell. Me, thinking it was another guest, answered with what I thought was a witty welcome.

'If you brought loud instruments or presents with a lot of small pieces, you're not welcome.'

'Uh,...Peter fell off the garden wall and landed on his face.'

'I'll be right there.'

I raced down the steps five at a time and found Peter curled up in a ball on the sidewalk. He was conscious, which I took as a good sign. His arm was bending in strange places, which I took as a bad sign. I scooped him up and carried him upstairs.

'Right! I'll get the ice-pack. Angie, go get the car. I'll meet you at the corner.'

Cooking aside, I love Angie for many reasons. One of them is her ability to keep calm in situations where you really need both parents to not freak out. I was borderline, but still keeping it together. I carried broken Peter to the corner to be rescued by Mama.

'Make sure they do a CAT scan. He also says that he can't feel his left arm - I think his wrist is broken. Call me when you have news.' 


'Do you have your cell phone?'


'Well, that makes it a bit tricky to give me updates.'

'I'm blocking traffic - do we really need to discuss this now?'

'No, but take my phone, just in case.'

Luckily, my iPhone also has a camera that is brain-dead simple to operate. Angie figured out how to use it shortly after the pain killers had kicked in.

As the doctor's finished setting the cast, the party was shifting into third gear. Lauri showed up and started screaming for Tommy to 'open up the cool monster truck so we can play with it!'

Sami and I were still discussing the usefulness of wrapping paper when Peter returned.

'Peter, do you understand now why you are not supposed to climb the wall?'


David was standing next to him. He looked at Peter's face, then his cast, then at me.

'Papa, I am never gonna climb the wall either.'

Well, at least Peter may have avoided future nose dives from the garden.

Tommy walked over, gave Peter and hug and then demanded to know where his present from them was. Peter and David raced off to get THE gift that they hadn't been able to shut up about for the last week. They had picked out a kick-ass remote control off-road monster truck that could flip over and still drive on either side. Tommy was ballistically impressed and immediately disappeared with David to take it for a test drive.

As with any battle scar, it sucks getting it. Once it's over, though, you definitely need to brag about it. Peter spent the rest of the afternoon calling everyone who has ever given us their phone number. 

Ladder Talk:
1) What was the best part of your day?
Peter: That we give Tommy his birthday present.
David: That I can play with all of Tommy's new toys 'cause they are so cool.
Tom: That I am now four and have so many new toys.

2) What was the worst part of your day?
Peter: Papa, I think you know that - when I fall off the wall.
David: When Peter crashed on his head from the wall.
Tom: When Peter go whaaaa-bonk and he need to the hospital.

3) What would you like to do tomorrow?
Peter: To go to the movies.
David: To play on the computer.
Tom: To have a party again why that was so cool.


  1. Wow, you can write! happy birthday Tommy and love to all. Those boys will cherish this someday....bernie

  2. Thanks, Bernie! The boys will probably want to kill me first, but I hope they eventually will understand what I am trying to do. :-)