It's my turn to be confused. Orangeboy was all excited. He was counting down the days. His anticipation was growing. Finally, I had to ask!
"What are so excited about? What is it you expect to happen on your birthday? Is there something special you want to do.... because you had better clue us in if there is something you are expecting. The magic birthday fairy won't just grant all your wishes you know."
I wasn't trying to burst his birthday anticipation bubble. It's just that, in our family, birthday celebrations are usually fairly low-key. A few presents, a special meal, maybe a cake if the person isn't one of the family members who is allergic... that's about it. I've planned and thrown parties for the kids in past years, but it's not something I do every year. I just couldn't understand why Orangeboy seemed to be greatly anticipating the day. He hadn't asked for anything special or even expressed any hopes for an event.
As usual, when asked a question that might require introspection, Orangeboy ducked his head and mumbled, "Oh."
He couldn't verbalize a reason for his excitement, so I asked if he was merely excited to become officially 10 years old. He agreed with a nod. I could see this as a possibility because, in his mind, he could now play E-10 rated video games. But I wasn't entirely convinced, so I asked if he was expecting presents. He again agreed that (nod) "maybe" he was.
"Well, you are easy to please. We just acknowledge that you're ten and give you a couple of gifts and you will be happy? That's all it takes to get you so excited?"
Nod - slight grin.
And so, it was. On birthday morn he burst from his room early and stampeded downstairs like he was expecting a pile of gifts, a pony, and a new motorcycle to be waiting for him. But his joy wasn't diminished when he poured himself a bowl of cereal all alone in the empty kitchen. He was munching contentedly when I came down and told him that I had expected to make a special breakfast of pancakes and turkey bacon for him. His head drooped in momentary disappointment; but when I offered to go ahead and cook the bacon, he was all upturned face and slight grin again.
Later, at lunch, we all sat in a booth at the restaurant he had picked and waited for him to finish eating. He wasn't the only one eating lunch, but the rest of us finished our meals long before he did - as usual. Plus he ordered a steak for his birthday lunch and that took all that extra cutting and chewing time. The good news is that now he is TEN and can cut up his own meat! Another sign of Orangeboy's improved maturity happened when he first looked at the kids menu and saw that they had taken the kid steak off. He just said, "Oh well, I can order something else."
There was an incident not too many years ago, in that same restaurant when he wanted a corn dog. Told they didn't have any, he burst into tears and refused to talk to anyone about other possibilities. He is definitely older and wiser. He also graciously agreed to my suggestion that he order the petite sirloin from the regular (adult) menu. He wasn't even bothered by the fact that he was given a kids menu by the server and he is still not an adult and shouldn't be ordering from the "adult" menu. He is actually getting more flexible in his old age and not worrying about breaking rules as much!
He opened a present from his two sibling antagonists and was very excited to receive the exact Bionicle character that his brother wanted! For his gift from his parents, I had decided to take him to the store after lunch and let him pick out whatever he wanted - up to the value of a certain fairly small amount of money. And this wasn't because I was too disorganized or lazy to get something ahead of time (not entirely). It's just that Orangeboy never seems to be able to come up with an object of his desire out of his head. He has to see it to know he might want it - and even then he's not so sure. But as his ten year old self, he picked out a great gift within a few minutes! It was amazing! He was so mature and decisive!
That's what turning ten will do for you folks. He was right to be so excited.