Half-Birthdays Are Where It’s At!

My daughter was due to be born at the end of January 2003. But she very inconveniently decided to make a surprise appearance on Christmas Eve.

It is inconvenient mostly for her — it was quite convenient for us when we went to do our taxes for 2002! But she has discovered that being a Christmas baby comes with more than its fair share of baggage. Although we go out of our way to make her birthday special for her each year, it does make planning a party rather difficult. And as a July baby myself, I know the glory of having a summer birthday. So I suggested that we have a half-birthday party for her this year, and she was all over it.

We decided to have it at our swimming pool. This is the first time I have ever, in 11 years of having kids and birthday parties, paid for an off-site birthday party. It ain’t cheap, but it’s the way to go. Since we only pay for one birthday party a year (the kid have to rotate – so each child gets a party every 3rd year) I think I can justify the expense next time!

The birthday festivities actually started on Saturday, when my mom had a huge balloon bouquet delivered to the house.

Sunday was the day of the party, and we started out by letting her open her present from us. All the child has talked about for a year and a half is a DSi. I did the unthinkable and settled for a plain ole DS for her 7th birthday. She wanted a DSi, but I didn’t want the internet access and didn’t see the point of the camera, plus I had never spent so much on a gift for one of my kids before (thanks to generous grandparents) so I figured the DS would suffice.

Oh how wrong I was.

She has never stopped talking about wanting a DSi. Ungrateful? Maybe. But after a year and a half, I decided to look into it. Someone told me to try Craigslist, so I did. I managed to find one for a mere $55 and decided to go for it. Unfortunately the seller and I could not agree on a point of exchange so I agreed to mail a personal check and have her ship it to me. I knew it was a gamble, as there is no recourse for this type of transaction on Craigslist, and if she didn’t hold up her end of the deal, I was going to be out of $55. But I had no time to negotiate another deal and I took the risk.

Fortunately it arrived within just 3 days, and it was in decent condition, so I tucked it away with a mental note to have someone more tech savvy than I (namely my 11-year-old son) take a look at it and make sure it worked before I wrapped it. Not once did it occur to me to clear the other person’s personal information off of it. (And I didn’t mention the whole transaction to my husand until about 5 minutes before we gave her the present yesterday morning — because HE would have had the presence of mind to check it out.)

You know where this is going, right?

So yesterday morning, I got up early, dug out the DSi, cleaned it off, and made sure it powered up. Then I put it in a gift bag and set it on the kitchen counter to taunt her. I was going to wait until she got home from the party and opened her friends’ presents, and then pop this on her at the end. But I must be a softie because I couldn’t wait.

We decided to let her open it before church.

She wasted no time powering it up and signing in. And THAT is when it happened.

Thankfully my husband took a look (he had already said that he hoped they took their info off it, so I think he had an inkling of what was to come) and saw the highly inappropriate user name generated by the prior owner when it appeared on the upper screen. The kids were so focused on the lower screen that they didn’t even see it — not even my son who was “helping.”

My husband GRABBED the DSi and made a beeline for the office, where he promptly googled how to reset the DSi to factory settings and cleaned it off for her.

We all got a good laugh out of that one. Nice going, Mom.

Somehow my daughter is none the wiser. She has thanked me for her DSi no less than 10 times in the past 24 hours. It was so worth it. (Although the next time I decide to purchase used electronic equipment, I will be sure to have my husband clear off all personal data!!!

I wish I could say the rest of the day was smooth sailing, but . . .

After church we had lunch, ran a couple last minute errands, and headed over to the pool. I got everything set up and we were ready by the time most of the guests arrived. The kids had just taken off their coverups and headed towards the pool when I heard the ominous sound of a lifeguard whistle. I looked up to see everyone filing out of the pool. A quick glance at my watch assured me that this was not “Adult Swim” as it was not the top of the hour, and I KNEW what was coming.

CODE BROWN.

Yep, you guessed it. Someone’s kid pooped in the pool. GRAND.

I was afraid they would close for the night, and we would be relegated to the baby pool and the indoor pools, but we had no choice but to go ahead and eat and see how it played out. It worked out because within 45 minutes the pool was open again, and a lot of less patient people had decided to leave so the pool was much less crowded for the rest of our stay.

We ate tomato pie — it’s a Philly thing. Trust me. It’s yum.

Everybody thinks so!

They swam for a bit and then came back for cake. I don’t make a pretty cake, but it was tasty! (Or so I was told. I guess I need to learn how to make a gluten free version.)

After we got home, we had a present opening session, and my kids have been sufficiently occupied all morning playing with new toys.

I’m pretty sure my daughter will agree when I say, half-birthday parties rock!