Monday, April 22, 2013

Go Ikey Day

Ike's birthday is April 4.

He is the only child I 'planned'. As in, truly orchestrated the moment of his conception.

His immediately preceding sibling was born in December, conceived in March after we attended a wedding where the only beverages offered were ice water and margaritas. We chose the latter. Which means she has Jose Cuervo to thank for her very existence.

The day, well, night, little Maggie tipsily came into being, Shepherd was 18 months old and Eva Rose was six months old.

It was rather shocking news.

In our discombobulated state, we decided to put our house on the market. Which means the summer of 2005 I was pregnant with two infants who were two young for any day camps or even a trip to the pool and a house that was constantly being showed.

In other words, it was pure unadulterated hell.

The following year, before she was walking, I decided that I wanted another baby, and I wanted said baby to be a boy, since Maggie was not. And I wanted this baby boy to be conceived in August and born in May, so that my pregnancy would perfectly coincide with the Mother's Day Out calendar, because I knew that three toddlers and a newborn would be nowhere near as difficult as three toddlers while pregnant.

Ike came six weeks early. While incredibly traumatic, this was also a bonus, because by the time Mother's Day Out let out he was just that much closer to sleeping through the night. And we all know that three toddlers and a newborn who sleeps through the night is a veritable piece of cake. Right? Right.

Bless my heart. I look a bit spent.

The other bonus about planning Ike is that I finally, by kid four, got a kid with a decent birth month. The others have horrible birth months. When I taught school I always said: you should never have a kid in August or September, because they will either be the youngest kid in the class and you have to grapple with holding them back, or the oldest kid, and you have to deal with them being bored.

Shepherd was born August 26.
Evangeline, September 5.

And growing up I always felt sorry for my friends who were poor Christmas babies, who got slammed with presents in one month, and then had to wait a whole year before they got anything else.

Magdalene was born December 14.

But finally, finally, with Ike, I got it right. Because he was induced I even got to choose his birthday, April 4, chosen because by this time I had commenced to pausing awkwardly and thinking real hard when people asked my kids' birthdays. It was embarrassing. So I planned to bring my 4th kid into the world on 4-4. A gift to my previously intelligent, now exhausted brain-damaged self.

I had not considered this when I was so brilliantly scheming his birth, but April 4 is not only a convenient, easy to remember date, but it just happens to also fall during the four or so months where being outside in Texas not just an option but a pleasure.

So when I asked Ike what he wanted to do for his sixth birthday, and he said, "Cowboy party!" I knew I could throw that together in our backyard and it would actually be bearable.

My super talented sister-in-law Laurel whipped up this donkey for us to play Pin the Tail

One of the kids said, "Oh, I've never heard of that game." Isn't that crazy? I think I played Pin the Tail at just about every party I went to as a kid, didn't you?

Guess what? The kids still peek and then say they didn't. I harbor some serious suspicions about the little girl who "won". Cheater cheater donkey eater.

Before the party started we decided we needed to take a family photo. My children and my husband always act like I'm torturing them to make them pose for family photos - and always have.  Get over it and SMILE DANGIT!

These were the best of the lot, even though the birthday boy looks miserable. As he did in just about all of them.

And can I just say that I would like to string up whoever invented the "make a crazy face!" trend that happens now when taking pictures?! As if it's not hard enough to get my brood to all look at the camera at the same time without looking deranged, now you gotta encourage them to look deranged?

Of course the only picture of Ike looking happy on his birthday would be the one where his sister looks like a nutjob.

And then, even after you say "STOP WITH THE CRAZY FACES" they can't let it go, so whatever pictures are taken from that point on will have at least one kid looking like a freak.

It's not cute.

Our newest Texan got to wear pink cowboy boots, which she loved, because all girls love pink cowboy boots. Here she is with her cousin Linc.

Y'all are wondering if I always just happen to have so many cowboy clothes around for my kids to wear. The answer is yes, as a matter of fact, I do. 

In Houston, every February, every school has Go Texan Day. On this day all the kids dress up like cowboys and go to school and usually do a square dance and have a cowboy come in to tell them legends or something. It is a Very Big Deal.

It also always makes for Very Cute Photo Ops, such as these:

For years I have kept a bin of Go Texan accoutrements on the shelf in a closet. This year, after Christmas, I kept waiting for something to come home from the kids' school announcing when Go Texan Day would be. I waited, and waited, and waited...until I came to the very, very sad realization that Go Texan is not a state-wide thing, it is a Houston thing.

Austin doesn't celebrate Go Texan Day.

(I just caused all my Houston readers to gasp aloud.)
It is so very, very sad.

Sigh. Thus far, that's about the only thing about Austin that has broken my heart.

But thank the Lord, and my amazing baby planning skilz, I'll always have an April baby who will let me pull down the bin and Go Texan on his birthday.

I hope.


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