Bubble Burst

My youngest son recently celebrated his third birthday.

He's a typical third child -- hand-me-down clothes, hand-me-down furniture, hand-me-down gear. We, i.e. Santa, took pity on the poor child and bought him a John Deere tractor with trailer and bulldozer-thingy for Christmas, justifying ONE MORE RIDE ON TOY with the fact that he'd never had a new ride-on toy. Poor thing. He gets the rusty, but fully functional three wheel scooter with the Spiderman decal peeling off -- his choice, because there's a fairly new-looking non-rusty Disney Princess scooter that lights up, but he's got no interest in that one -- and thinks he's hit the jackpot because he has a scooter and he can hang with the big kids. And he actually rides the tractor. But only occasionally. And when his sister hasn't commandeered it for her "shopping trips."

Who drives a tractor with a bulldozer scoop to the mall?

Since he's the third, we've also scrimped a bit in the birthday party category. You know, grandparents, cousins, a couple neighbors.... He hasn't minded. He's 3. But, realizing that I have yet to enter anything into his baby book, and that his pants are slightly too short and that the poor thing has a drawer full of hand-me-down underwear (I know, but can't I use some of it? There's a small fortune sitting there!), I decided this would be his year for a party with some friends. Of course, his friends are all age 7 and older. And they were mostly mommy and daddy's friends. And the menu consisted of wine, beer, juice boxes and cupcakes.

I asked him what he wanted. "Fi- duh-man." He's fairly articulate, but he still has trouble with "sp" -- he says "f" -- and so...is that fireman or Spiderman? After asking him to clarify for the 100th time (still fi-duh-man, except with an air of exasperation and with his eyes bugging out at me), I ordered a fire truck and had Spiderman plates and cups. There!

Feeling pleased with myself that I was so on the ball with the fireman/Spiderman theme and having actual non-relatives at the party, I'm strolling through Target one day talking to my son about his party and a nice old lady overhears and asks him if he's having a birthday. He says, without any hesitation, that he is. Doing the proud mom thing I think, he must be so excited about his party to not even be shy with her! Until she asks him what kind. Gearing myself to explain the whole (cute, right?) fi-duh-man thing (remember, I'm feeling ridiculously pleased with myself), I'm jolted back to earth when he blurts...

"A penis party!"

She looks at me in shock. My face mirrors her expression, but with a healthy dose of horror added.

All I can manage to say is "um" as my face turns hot and my palms start to sweat.

Then she bursts into hysterical laughter. Stunned, and yet somehow returning to my senses, I apologize and encourage my son to do the same. He starts running around, gleeful that he's made a funny. She explains that she had boys and so she knows all about penis parties. And she walks off, still cackling.

Later, when recounting the experience with my husband, we had a good laugh. And it just goes to show you that as soon as you feel like you've actually done something right as a parent and you're feeling like an all-star, you child will decide to tell everyone he's having penis party.

Just to put you back in your place.


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