Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Birthday BOYS!

My oldest turned seven last week. Since his birthday falls so quickly after Christmas, the begging and greed that accompany that holiday tend to flow over into what he seems to think ought to be some childhood bacchanalia of Legos and cake and whatever else is currently being advertised on Nickelodeon (how I hate you, mail-order advertisements). But, the Birthday Gods, who I imagine to be generally mischievous cake addicts that convey themselves primarily via balloons, seemed to smile down on me. All he wanted for his birthday was to take a friend to see Tron: Legacy.

He picked a friend and I got permission from his mother, and we made plans to see the movie the following Saturday. Remember how I have to drive ridiculous distances to get some awesome stuff, like anything at Target or apparel any classier than Sears? Well, it turns out our local theater isn’t high-tech enough to play a 3-D movie. Didn’t know that when I made the plan. Because I am SO on top of it (man, I wish there was a sarcasm font) I didn’t know this until 11:30 the night before the party. Frick. So there I was Saturday morning trying to convince my kid that Megamind or Narnia are viable substitutes for Tron. It turns out they are not. I therefore found myself spending my Saturday afternoon driving 70 miles to take two seven-year-olds to see a two hour movie.

I had never had two boys of this age in my car before. They helped me realize how long an hour can be. They passed the time via the following enriching activities:

Burping Contests

Oh yes. There was more than one. It turns out there are several events in the Burping Olympics.

The first event is the “Name Spelling” event. As the name might suggest, this event involves seeing who can spell their name out while burping. The contestants were evenly matched, both shooting for 5 letters.

“Alphabet” is a similar event. I actually knew this one—I did have three brothers. It’s a classic game, seeing who can get all the way through all 26 letters. This is a difficult event, not for beginners. It takes a lot of practice to achieve mastery—these two are almost ready to go pro.

In the “Freestyle” event, competitors go for duration, tone, quality and odor. Stinky is better. Loud is awesome. Loud, stinky, and deep are a trifecta. A really good trifecta is celebrated with the traditional maniacal laughter and farting noises.


The Lincoln-Douglas Debates of 1858 drew the entire nation’s attention, arguing the logic of popular sovereignty vs the end of the expansion of slavery. The 7th Birthday Debates of 2011intersted no one beyond the two debaters and argued who is the best super-hero: Spiderman vs Ironman.

Birthday Boy: Ironman can fly!

Cohort: Spiderman can swing on webs!

Birthday Boy: Ironman looks cooler!

Cohort: Spiderman is red AND blue!

It was at least as entertaining as the last presidential debate. (NOTE: the entire viewership of the last presidential debate was Obama’s grandma, McCain’s kids, and Al Roker. That’s how riveting that was.)

Honestly, these are the only two I can report. I may have tuned them out from mile 20 to mile 70. Don’t judge me.

I thought that I would be saving money on this birthday because I didn’t have to buy gifts. Do you know how much it costs to drive 140 miles, buy three 3D movie tickets, popcorn, soda and treats? Elventy jillion dollars. However, it must be said that both boys were very grateful for and awed by the awesomeness of their own popcorn and soda. They politely sat in their seats, put on their 3D glasses and waited for the magic to begin.

I had already seen Tron, so I knew about all the amazing graphics and motorcycle races and gladiator events. I marveled in appreciative silence. A seven-year-old is incapable of appreciative silence. Each explosion, each trick, each cheer from the film’s imaginary crowd illicited a loud cheer from both boys, punctuated by loud cries of “That was AWESOME,” “WHOA,” and “This is the BEST MOVIE EVER!” Between shushing them, I grinned a little bit. I don’t really care if someone was irritated, or if they were a little bit rowdy. Seeing how amazed they both were, listening to their gleeful delight, made 60 minutes worth of boy worth it.

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