Monday, July 24, 2006

The party's over

What a weekend - I'm exhausted.

Yesterday was Nico's birthday party and we had more than 60 people in our back yard, with at least a third of them under age five. The event may have taken years off my life, but it was totally worth it. Nico had a great time, despite being whiny and crabby at times (no nap).

The party was much like a wedding, with so much happening in a blur of activity. The main difference, though, was the added fun of having to say, "Stop that! Share! You have to share! Do I need to take that away from you?" at regular intervals.

For the most part, Nico behaved well and greeted his guests as I had coached him earlier: Say hello, give your friend a hug, and say, "Thank you for coming to my party." Nico did this for the first handful of guests, but after a while, he just ran up to people, pointed to the wrapped gift in their hands and said, "That's for me? Yes, it's my birthday, that's for me." He had to be reminded many times to be a gracious host.

A few people noticed that we had a culturally diverse mix of people at the party. It was one of the best things about the day - we had guests from Nigeria, India, Egypt, Taiwan and from various parts of the U.S. (North Dakota, Georgia, etc.). One of Nico's friends, whose parents are Australian, was also supposed to come, but had to fly back home for a family emergency.

I think most people who know me and Vic well have come to expect that social gatherings we host will typically have some sort of cultural component attached to them, such as our Lunar New Year party or our multicultural potluck dinners.

I'd like to think that even if Nico weren't part Taiwanese and Italian, we would still raise him to be understanding and appreciative of diverse cultures. But especially since he is multicultural, it's important that he sees the world as beyond black and white.

Anyhow, Nico had a great time at his back yard bash. He loved the Thomas & Friends theme and kept saying "Wow!" when he saw all the decorations. He chowed down on sushi, potstickers, pizza, rigatoni, watermelon and, of course, birthday cake. He led the crowd in singing "Happy Birthday" to himself and he got loads of presents, which I'm tempted to hide until Christmas and the one after that and the one after that. We don't want him to be spoiled and really, how many toys does a four-year-old boy need?

Beyond the material stuff, Nico's very fortunate in other ways. Yesterday, besides being surrounded by so many of his friends, he was also lucky to have grandparents and his great uncle and aunt there to join him for his big day. It was a fun celebration of friends and family.

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