Life in the Nomad household is returning to what passes for normal around here. The puppy is growing rapidly and is beginning to not have to bite Every Single Thing in his life All The Time; now he can go several hours where he is fun to be with before the biting urge strikes again. The rabbit died one very hot afternoon in early March; this is not uncommon when temperatures are in the triple digits. Although he was locally born and bred, rabbits have a hard time with heat. (As do many larger mammals, like, for instance, me) The kittens are off on their own. We’re still going to the beach every Saturday, although Donn is basically out of surfboards now—they’ve all broken and been repaired and broken again so many times that it is really hopeless. Our bananas actually ripened, and they were yummy. Donn made banana chocolate chip ice-cream for Ilsa’s party.
We survived not one but two ten year old birthday parties this year. Up till now, they’ve had separate cakes but the same party each year. This year, they wanted their own. Makes sense. After all, being a twin means having to compromise; since conception, they’ve had to share something. The morning of their birthday, I took them to the store to pick out a special cereal, and even then they had to agree—Ilsa didn’t want Nesquick, Abel didn’t want Rice Krispies, they compromised on Honey Pops. (You can get a lot of sugar cereals here but they are $8-10 a box, hence the compromise. I rarely get them because a. I do have some rudimentary knowledge of nutrition and b. I’m cheap)
So for the first time this year, the twins had separate parties. And they both wanted Sleepover Parties! Sigh… Aren’t I too old for this? Still, it was a big year. So we had their parties on consecutive Fridays; Ilsa’s on the 9th, Abel’s on the 16th.
As you would expect if you knew them, their parties turned out to be completely different. My kids go to the International French School, but they also have friends from the American community who go to English-speaking schools, and they invited friends from both. (Ilsa initially invited Every Single Person she knew in the Entire Country, so I had to be the Mean Mom and go round uninviting people.)
Everyone that was invited from school came to Ilsa’s party, and no-one that was invited from school came to Abel’s. Why? They both have good friends at school, and if anything, Abel’s friends are more likely to come for lunch and play on the school-free afternoons.
Ilsa’s party was wild. 14 children ran screaming through the garden. She wanted a treasure hunt again, so I divided them in 2. Each team got 10 clues; the first 9 were different and the 10th the same—whoever solved it won the bag of candy. The teams of children, laughing and chattering in a mixture of French and English, streamed upstairs and down, back to the kitchen, out to the yard, back upstairs, etc. I got a work-out just hiding the clues; I was hoping to wear them out. You’re shaking your head because you know what happened. My plan backfired of course. I was exhausted, and they ate the candy and just kept going and going.
And going. At 1:30 a.m. I was downstairs, telling little girls that it’s a school weekend and stop talking and the NEXT GIGGLE I HEAR IT’S GONNA GET UGLY. I get sarcastic after midnight.
Abel’s party was much mellower. Don’t tell me boys aren’t easier, less complicated. For a start, the decibel levels are lower; that’s a big help right there. We did nothing that required planning ahead, like a Treasure Hunt or games with a theme. The kids amused themselves by climbing on our neighbour’s shipping container and jumping off into the sand and other things that I don’t know about and don’t want to know about, thank you, involving our wall and the top of our car and more jumping. I stayed inside and had coffee. The boys all went right to sleep after “Superman Returns,” which was one of Abel’s American presents. In the morning, our house guests got up and made breakfast, and I didn’t have to.
Next year, I suggested they go back to one party again. I’m hoping to talk them down to one cake even, although I doubt I’ll be able to manage that.
Our house guests have moved on. We’re back to the normal daily patterns of school and work, thesis grading, friends dropping by, crazy drivers, hot afternoons, and leftovers for dinner. How are things for you?