Little Miss Birthday

Today Annabelle and I went to Kate Belly Button’s birthday party.

(You know, it could be that I’ve already introduced Kate Belly Button, but the truth is that it’s close to midnight and I’ve promised myself I’ll deal with at least one overflowing basket of laundry before bed, so I figure I either have time to go back and read old posts and figure out whether you’ve met KBB, or I have time to write about the party. And I just spent three minutes on this explanation, so I think i’ll cut my losses at this point.)

Kate Belly Button is Annabelle’s oldest friend. Born a day apart, the girls started day care the same day at the same place. Kate’s parents, Todd and Kacey are that odd couple in that Ray and I both actually like both of them. Unheard of! And they have a sweet little boy named Evan. The girls made their first trip to Disneyland together and they’ve played at the beach. Of course, they’ve always invited one another to their birthday parties.

The birthday party thing is tricky, since Annabelle and Kate (Kate nicknamed her Annabellybutton early on, and while that nickname didn’t stick, for some reason we’ve transferred it to Kate — probably because we know several Kates) haven’t been in school together since they were 3. They have no friends in common. That can be a tricky proposition with a swimming pool full of 7 year old girls, and although the invitation arrived with both Annabelle and Sophie’s names on it, for some reason I thought it would be wiser to just bring Annabelle.

I’ll be honest. Sophie has, in fact, been known to suck the attention out of a room (or a pool). I figured Annabelle would need (and deserve, for once) my undivided attention. And although he’s certainly a lot more fun that I am, Ray doesn’t particularly like kid birthday parties.

I thought I’d keep it simple. I thought Annabelle would be thrilled. I know I never wanted my sister around, when I was 7. (Sorry, Jenny, but I know you felt the same. Now we’re BFFs. Well, close.)

Halfway to Kate’s, Annabelle asked, in a small voice, “Will I know anyone at the party?”

Uh oh. We arrived, and no, she didn’t. Just Kate, and the birthday girl was understandably swept up in the commotion of her day.

In the end, it was fine. Several girls didn’t know the others, so everyone played and swam and ate and had fun. “That was a great party!” Annabelle announced as she buckled her seat belt. It was; Kacey always throws a nice party. Her mother in law even brought eegee’s lemon ice up from Tucson.

But at the beginning, it wasn’t so good.

As she wriggled into her swim shirt in the bathroom, Annabelle looked up said, “I hope I have someone to play with.”

It suddenly occurred to me that I’d left her playmate at home.

Already, today, the sisters had cycled through several highs and lows — Sophie chased her around the dining room table til Annabelle, crying, slammed herself into her room; later, the two tangoed across the kitchen floor, gasping for breath between giggles as Annabelle tried to dip Sophie.

“I should have brought Sophie, shouldn’t I?” I asked, in a small voice.

From under the swim shirt, an equally small voice answered. “Yes.”

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