you get your birthday song sung to you while you're taking your morning pee.
So 35 is here, and for 11 days Jörg gets to be 2 years younger than I am. Usually these are his 11 favorite days of the year, but all his "grandma" jokes are undercut by the fact that he smells like a Ben Gay
factory exploded all over him. (OK, that link wasn't to Ben Gay cream, but Emu Oil is just a lot funnier. "It penetrates right through!")
As usual, the birthday song (with its awkward tinkling accompaniment and my bleary "give me a second, will you" look) was the main celebration of the day. We spent the rest of the day shopping for Annika and Frankie's combined birthday present: bunk beds.
The sleeping arrangements have been difficult for the girls of late. Annika had been sleeping in her twin bed, which was just a mattress on a frame. We only were using the frame because it allowed us to store out-of-season clothes under there. It was all a pretty minimalist arrangement.
Then Frankie decided that her nights could no longer be spent alone. We soon discovered that one twin bed was not enough to contain Annika and floppy Frankie, who kicks and flips all night with predictably disastrous results. At the same time, though, Frankie decided that her crib was surely Dante's first circle of hell
. So we ended up inflating an air mattress, which we placed on the floor between the twin bed and the crib. This meant that the floor of the room was no longer traversable. But it was the only way they could sleep through the night.
Frankie still kept trying to sneak off the bed down to where Annika was sleeping, of course. This wouldn't have been so bad if she had simply cuddled in to sleep beside Annika, but she always always
threw herself over Annika's body as if she were a little cat seeking the warmth of a gently expanding and contracting abdomen. Needless to say, Frankie weighs a bit more than your typical cat, and Annika was less than appreciative.
We really had no idea what we were going to do.
Then we went to ToysRUs to let the girls choose what they wanted to buy with their birthday money from my parents. Frankie did not show any clear preferences, but Annika really
wanted this Cinderella vanity
(Yes, "magical" and "talking." Oooooo.) Our ToysRUs store is really horrendous about marking the prices of toys, and it looked like it was $35. Which already seemed like plenty for a rather tacky piece of furniture that looked like it might break in approximately 2 weeks. When we found out that it was really $70, we told her that it was too expensive, but offered to let her buy a real
vanity instead. She loved that idea, and so I took her to the cheapest place I know to buy furniture (since the garage sales are mostly over around here), Big Lots. The idea of buying a vanity was completely forgotten, though, when she spotted a bunk bed display in the store, which Frankie found pretty fascinating, too.
We didn't buy the one at Big Lots, but they did get a set of bunk beds after much debate and measuring and then more debate. Jörg put them together by himself, including lifting the top bunk into place, which is why he's currently smothered in Ben Gay, and smelling like a retirement home.
Annika is sleeping on the top bunk. And I know, I know that kids are supposed to be 6 before they sleep on the top and she's only 5 (in 6 days). But please don't write me to tell me what a horrible, irresponsible parent I am. I just think it would be boring to go into too much detail about why I think it's OK for her to sleep on top. Actually, the real safety problem was with Frankie on the lower bunk. She's quite the mover at night, and there was an unavoidably large gap between her mattress and the wall that we had to barricade to prevent her slipping between the wall and the mattress in the middle of the night.
Annika is now happy that she can sleep at night in the same room with Frankie, but without fear of being ambushed in the middle of the night. Frankie's legs are too short to climb the ladder, thank goodness. Actually, even if they weren't too short, I don't think Frankie would attempt it by herself. She's apparently inherited a fear of heights from both parents.
I have promised Annika that we will also paint the walls in their room, with each girl getting to choose one color. Thus eradicating the evidence of Annika's experiment in Harold
So that's it for the girls' birthday presents. Annika was fine getting the bunk beds instead of toys, and Frankie is still too little to care much one way or the other. Every day is like a birthday as far as our happy little Frankie is concerned.
We did have a tiny little party for Frankie on Sunday. Anna and Demi, ages 12 and 10, came over. I had Pooh hats left over from Annika's second birthday party, and the girls and I made cupcakes.
Frankie loved opening her birthday cards, especially the hand-made one from Jörg's mom that included Frankie's picture on the envelope, and the Diddl
necklace that Jörg's father and step-mother sent was a big hit (Click that link at your own risk. You may suffer an over-cutesied attack. Remember, "In Pimboli you have the loveliest southwest crumplish snuggelyhug for every occasion!" And that's no Google translation, either. Keep in mind this little mouse guy is no niche product. I cannot exaggerate how incredibly popular Diddl is in Germany. And Annika and Frankie fell for him, too. But of course.)
During the party, Frankie got lots of birthday wishes over the phone, which tickled her no end.
She especially loved that all 5 members of the Cochran family (my sister's family) took turns singing the birthday song to her. She sang the birthday song to herself as I was rocking her to sleep last night.
We should be home from Anni's next round of sclerosing this week in Chicago just in time for her birthday, and then Jörg's comes three days after that. It's just one non-stop party around here, you know?
(You can see more birthday photos here