Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Happy (belated) Birthday, Brendan!

Yesterday was not only April Fool's Day, but also Brendan's 12th birthday! It was a school day, but he was
ok with the wait for the end of the school day for birthday fun :) He had requested fruit trays with dip for the school celebration & they were a big hit (the teachers said that the kids appreciated the fruit more than cake or cookies :). When asked how old he was, Brendan chose to make up a math problem to tell them (a school tradition) & even used negative numbers in the equation! (The latest subject in 6th grade math... :) Since Charlie wouldn't be home from work until dinner time he had suggested that Brendan open one gift after school, so I had him open the japanese-language version of the newest Pokemon movie (it hasn't been released in english yet) that I'd found online &, as I'd hoped, he wanted to watch it right away. So I made popcorn & we headed upstairs, where we have Brendan's computer set for region 2 dvds, & had a great time watching it. It's just as visually gorgeous as the other recent Pokemon movies, & there was a great anti-war message, too. We did our usual shout-out of words & phrases we understood, & it really wasn't terribly hard to follow the plot or dialogue at all.

After the movie I showed Brendan the thank-you card I'd printed on the computer, a picture from one of his fencing lessons, specifically for the gift from his fencing teacher of a hand-built foil just for Brendan! He gave it to him on Monday after having him try it our for his lesson. Brendan was pretty floored, to be given a fencing foil of his own, & really excited when he recovered from the surprise :) His teacher told him that he found Brendan's enthusiasm for fencing, at such a young age, very inspiring, & wanted him to have a foil of his own to really get used to. Lucky kid! (Really proud mom, too :)

Another birthday surprise, that arrived in the mail, was a card, sent overnight mail, from Tomoko in Minnesota! She'd had some car misfortune & wasn't able to get a card out in time, so she sent it overnight so it would get here on his birthday (which I found very touching!). Grammie joined us for dinner, too, so she could be in on the birthday fun.

As mentioned in previous posts, Brendan's anxiety has been running higher for the past few months, & he was definitely on higher-anxiety mode anticipating his birthday. Since we really didn't want him to be miserable about his birthday, we asked him to make a list of some legos he really wanted (nothing too expensive!) & told him that he'd definitely get these sets for his birthday. He's been really into the Star Wars legos & has been working hard to earn & save allowance money to buy sets bit by bit, so he was really excited by this plan. That nipped the anxiety right in the bud, too- whew! Just to make things more interesting, I hid the legos & gave him clues for finding them (they were much too easy- next year he's going to have to work harder! :) He even translated my hiragana handwriting (which is notoriously bad...) & understood the clue I'd written in japanese. We told him that he would not be able to make all of the sets before bedtime (he had homework to do, too) & he was ok with just making one... go Brendan!!

As you can see by the above photo, legos weren't the only Star Wars items he got... Charlie got Brendan a lightsabre of his own at the same time that he'd gotten mine, so now Brendan & I have matching sabres! He was soooo excited. So, my sabre is now safe (he's been playing with it a lot...) although the living room furniture won't be until the weather warms up & he can practise outside... :)

And, just a year to go before he's a teenager... amazing...

In honour of his birthday, here's a Brendan story that I've been wanting to share for a while:
A couple of weeks ago we visited the anime store to pick up some new manga. They had some new pokemon plushies, some with light-up cheeks (kawaii!) & Brendan managed to talk me into getting one (not terribly hard- I'm a cute freak, too :). I love how he treats all of them as though they were real friends... Well, when we got out to the car, he pulled the tab from the battery &... the cheeks didn't light up. I sighed & prepared to go back into the store to try & exchange it, but Brendan told me that he didn't want to give it up. "It's ok, Mom, I like this one the way he is. I don't want to take him back." I was a little surprised, & a little relieved... In the car on the way home I mentioned to Brendan that not many kids would be satisfied with a plushie that didn't do what was advertised. He said that he was worried about what would happen to it if he took it back, that no-one would love it. I told him that maybe he's better at loving things no matter how well they work because he knows what it's like to be different. He smiled...

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