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Two Birthdays and some Hot Chocolate Running

Little Man will be ten on Tuesday. A couple months ago, he had said he wanted to have his party at the bowling alley. Then, as per norm, he changed his mind a few weeks ago. He wanted a Minecraft party at home. Awesome. Thank you, Pinterest, for making the Minecraft theme a breeze to pull off. Well, I guess I wouldn’t exactly say it was a breeze. The ideas were easy to obtain. Then came the work of making the ideas a reality. I spent three days running to Michael’s and the grocery store, then ordered a few things from Etsy and Amazon. We made a Creeper cake, Creeper t-shirts, Creeper cups, and Creeper goody bags. We had carrots, cookies, “diamonds” (rock candy), lava (red jello), water (blue jello), Creeper juice (Sprite in the green bottles with the labels taken off and Creeper faces colored on), TNT (red vines), sticks (pretzel sticks), fish (Swedish fish), and coal (black M & M’s). We played Creeper toss and had a golden egg hunt in the backyard. It was work, but not difficult work, to put together. If you’ve  never heard of Minecraft, it’s a building program/game on the computer, and everything is square. Just before the party yesterday, Little Man said, “This is going to be the best birthday party ever!” I hope it was. It ended up being pretty mellow….just six kids from the neighborhood who all know him well, and then my three beasties. He had a couple of moments…his bestie was late (tournament he was in ran long), and Little Man was standing by the front window watching for him, tears rolling silently down his face. Then two classmates told him they were coming, but then didn’t show up, although their parents had never RSVP’d. So we had some tears. And once the games were done and all the other kids were just playing in the backyard, he chose to stay inside by himself. He said he loved the party and that it definitely was the best birthday party ever. I think it turned out well. Was it like a party my other two would have? Probably not. It was much quieter, and with his own little quirks involved. But he loved it. I can’t ask more than that.

His party followed a night of me and Spouse being downtown in the Gaslamp for a friend’s 40th birthday. A couple of times a year, we get a night to go downtown and hang out with our friends. So yes, there were adult beverages involved. There were clubs involved. There was dancing in heels I don’t wear often anymore. We were out four hours past our usual 9:30 bedtime. And there may have been some midnight pizza scarfing involved as well. But…It. Was. Awesome. We had such a good time. We insist on having time where we are not “Mom and Dad” and can just be a couple. It was a bit ugly when Spouse’s cell phone rang at 7:30 yesterday morning. I may have said a bad word or two. I was rewarded with a yummy breakfast out, and then we came home to prep for the Minecraft party.

I knew going in this weekend was going to be somewhat brutal. A couple months ago, I registered for the Hot Chocolate 15K, which was this morning. Then we planned Little Man’s party for yesterday. I had though to myself it wouldn’t be bad. I could spend the week getting ready for his party, and then crash afterwards. Then late last week, we got the invite for the downtown gig, which we were not going to miss. So, yes, I jammed my weekend. I’m sure I over-tapped myself. There were a few times yesterday I contemplated bailing on the run this morning.

Have you ever run a Hot Chocolate run? First of all, you don’t get a tech shirt. You get a pullover hoodie, and a cool drawstring bag rather than a throwaway. Second, you don’t get (another) medal when you finish the race, you get a finisher’s mug complete with hot chocolate, chocolate fondue, and dippables. So, yeah, after Friday and yesterday, I hauled myself out of bed at 4:30 this morning, left the house at 5:30, and ran a 15K (give or take….my running app said it was actually 9.49 miles). It was one of the more highly organized and well-managed races I’ve ever been in. The starts were right on time. The corralling was the best I’ve seen. There were more than enough port-a-potties (always an issue at races). There was plenty of course support. And who can be mad at chocolate at the end? I had a good run, staying at or below my planned race-pace for my upcoming half, even given the fact the course today was essentially all hills. Seriously…I think there was maybe one flat mile of the 9.49. It was all up and down. I felt good. And I was entertained by the people around me. As an aside…why do some people think they don’t need to wear deodorant when running a race? Good golly…there were some seriously stinky people right out of the gate.

I came home – after consuming my hot chocolate – to a kitchen that still required post-party cleanup. Then the Princess had a private lesson. I treated her to some frozen yogurt afterwards. Okay, so I treated myself and she just happened to be collateral damage. Came home from the studio to Little Man bawling his eyes out in his room while Spouse steamed in the garage. He told me, “Before you go inside, Little Man is done. He’s in his room, and he’s staying there.” Awesome. Spouse told me what had instigated the room-sending. I went upstairs to calm him, but also reinforce what dad had said. Later, I went back up to get something from my room and heard Little Man, still crying and talking to himself about how he was worthless, a horrible person, nothing better than paper to be put in a shredder. Cue my heart breaking. I went back in to have another conversation with him. He cannot let go when he’s made bad choices and gotten in trouble. He can have a fabulous day, but if one thing goes wrong or he makes one bad choice, all of the sudden his entire day has been “the worst day ever.” He said he was a bad person because of all the bad things he’s ever done. Sigh. I asked if he thought his brother and sister are perfect. He said no. I asked if that then made them “horrible people.” He said no. We need to remind him the difference between how we feel about his behavior and how we feel about him. I pointed out all the things I do wrong or fail at, and asked if that made me a horrible person. I actually got a smile out of him.

It terrifies me to hear him talk to himself sometimes, not because he’s talking to himself – don’t we all? – but because of what he says. It freaks me out where his mind goes sometimes. It is so dark, and I am reminded of those days last November. We are entering pre-puberty. Hormones are starting to change. He’s already not managing well. What will the next few years bring? I asked him to talk to the school psych when he sees her this week. He said he needs help, but we aren’t giving it to him nor are we getting it for him. I told him I can’t read his mind. He has to tell me what/how he needs help. He will talk to the psych – he promised. He’s seeing her now every week rather than the school social worker intern so we can give him more consistency (the social worker intern changes every year because, hello, internships). He’s doing better now, thankfully. I know we’ve been off-schedule all weekend. He’s tired. He’s been over-excited, over-stimulated. That all adds to his norm and blows things up a thousand percent. He’s still very excited for his birthday Tuesday. I still can’t believe he’s turning 10.


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