For The Four And Under Crowd
Rational Birthday Party Jitters

From The Patrick File

Excellent! Thank you for the advice. Being an impatient type I decided to just try everything you suggested simultaneously and, sure enough, Patrick's wee head exploded. Problem solved.

Ho ho ho ho.

Actually Project Bathroom Friendly is proceeding nicely and I do thank you for all the good advice. The reason I am initiating this at all is that we have him signed up for morning preschool two days a week starting in September and the enrollment sheet they sent had the words MUST BE OUT OF DIAPERS printed in letters about a foot high. Now, I read that and said "Oh well, I tried. I guess Patrick will just have to spend another year playing with me" but Steve and my mother said it was time to let him, you know, interact with other kids and possibly learn to wash his own hands. So we are both being forced into it.

Patrick will be three on Saturday, for those who asked.  I assumed that you had already received flyers for his upcoming birthday party promising BALLOONS! and a BEAR CAKE! and SPAGHETTI! as he has been running that little press of his day and night (I hope he is just printing birthday invites- I would hate for that Rights of Man pamphlet stage to start up again. I also hope that he forgets about the spaghetti as I am not actually willing to serve pasta to four three-year-olds at ten-thirty in the morning.) But yes, three. He's turning three. These many.

Have I ever told you about Patrick's patented finger-counting system? I should, otherwise I will forget it and, frankly, it is pretty cool. I mean, if you are into counting.

It goes like this: First he counts one and puts up the pointer finger of his right hand. Incidentally he always calls this finger his "one" as in, "There is peanut butter on my one." Then he puts up his index finger: two, V for Victory. Ring finger goes up to make three and then the pinkie is four. OK, all right so far and the thumb makes five. Got it.

For six, though, he just sticks out the thumb on his right hand. Seven is the thumb and the pointer and so on until he gets to an awkward nine with only the pinkie on his right hand still pointing towards the palm. Ten is all ten fingers. Eleven? Well, for eleven he shifts to the left hand and puts up the pointer finger there and then the pointer on his right hand again. He can continue this way all the way up to 99 (although he is currently stuck at 60 and likes to leap to 80 more often than not.)         

Speaking of Patrick and how sweet and good he is, here's a little story from my weekend. Yesterday we went to Target (where he peed! in the big potty!) to get stuff for the birthday party. While we were going through the checkout line Patrick was startled by the sound of what appeared to be a Build-Your-Own-Mack-Track kit hitting the conveyer belt behind him. He flung up his hands and yelled, in ringing, beautifully modulated, speech therapized tones: "JESUS CHRIST!"   

"Amen," I added, hastily. I tried to look suitably devout, but I think the checkout clerk realized that we were spending the Lord's Day buying glitter glue.

He didn't learn it from me. Just so you know.