Last weekend, we celebrated Boy-Boy’s third birthday. In the lead up to it, he was totally unaware of the impending event, but every day for the past fortnight, Fraboo has been asking us “How many days is it until his party now?” Well the big day has now come and gone, and what a lovely day we had. The day started predictably early with Fraboo doing her best to get us all out of bed at about 5.30. She’d been rudely awoken by Boy-Boy, (they sleep in the same room) who just couldn’t wait to open his presents. Clearly, upon turning 3, he had been granted telepathic powers, which he had obviously used in his sleep, as he was gently snoring in his bed.
Mrs L. and I had been up late, blowing up balloons, decorating cakes and wrapping presents, and so were less than thrilled about this intrusion into our sleep. Fraboo was sternly reprimanded and sent to guard the presents, and to make sure that the television was still working. She performed both tasks with great aplomb, but after about an hour or so, she tired of her duties and found herself another job. Waking the Birthday Boy up!
Despite the early hour, my lack of sleep, and not particularly cheerful demeanour, I could understand Fraboo’s cause for excitement. I remember being her age, and looking forward to my brother’s and especially my birthday for weeks. I’m ashamed to say the main reason for this, was the receiving of gifts, and my daughter is no different.
Over the past month or so, Mrs L. and I have been at loggerheads over what to get for Boy-Boy. I wanted to buy him a little pedal car, which I am sure he would have just adored, whilst she wanted to get him some sort of construction toy. As we often do in our marriage, we compromised, and ended up getting him a construction toy. The week before his Birthday, we went to a very exclusive toy shop in town, and on the recommendation of the shop assistant we selected a suitable set and then parted with a not insignificant sum of money. I pulled a face and looked longingly at the go carts. Meanwhile, Boy-Boy and Fraboo, were happily distracted, playing with the train set which was on display, almost identical to the one we have at home.
Later that day, when I had stopped sulking, I took Fraboo, to choose her present for her brother. She knew exactly what she wanted to get him and directed me to a shop, selling trains which would go with their set. These were a great bargain, at about a third of the price of the originals. This was probably due to the fact that are knock-offs of the originals (not factory seconds as I had assumed). Never-the-less, they all have unique and very endearing qualities; one appears to be cross eyed, one looks constipated, and yet another has an absolutely epic mono-brow. In my opinion they were worth every cent, due in large part to their facial peculiarities.
So now we return to the Birthday morning. Before we even got him to the breakfast table, where his presents were waiting him, Boy-Boy caught sight of a string of balloons which weren’t there when he’d gone to bed. He immediately began to bang them together and bounce them off of every conceivable surface. Eventually we coerced him into his chair and with great fanfare showed him his presents. He was clearly impressed, but kept on looking over his shoulder, giving a mournful glance at the balloons which were now resting on the sofa. Opening six gifts took about an hour, because Boy-Boy just wanted to play with everything as he opened it. Wanting to save, what we considered to be, the best until last, we finally gave him the construction set, but he was not remotely interested. He was in seventh heaven playing with his new trains, and the balloons. Eventually he politely opened the pressie, with a locomotive still clutched in his hand, had a quick look at the box, and then returned to his previous game.
Isn’t it interesting, that at Christmas, little children are often more excited about the prospect of playing with the box, or the wrapping paper, than they are about playing with the toy which was inside it? I’m sure that many parents will have experienced a similar disappointment to us, when they see their children’s reaction to the gift they’ve presented them with. The only parents who are exempt from this are, I assume, those who buy their children pedal cars.