7 after 6

March 29th, 2005

Seven days ago on March 22, 2005 Isaiah turned six years old.

The festivities surrounding this event started that Tuesday morning and much like his previous birthday, this one began with the first present. The present I gave to him on his birthday morning this year was very similar to the one given him last year, too. It was another Lego mini-robots kit.

“Wow- Lego robots! Cool!”

“Yes, but this is also your clue gift.”


“This present is a clue to something else. You think about it today and see if you can figure it out.”

Of course, diligent readers will remember my mention mention of certain preparations made the Saturday before and likely figure out that the clue meant we’d be taking him to see the movie Robots that evening and in reaching this conclusion, they would be correct.

My mother (with whom I carpool) was sick that day so I drove her car and met Ruth and Isaiah (Gideon was with Nanie and Dimmy) at Jamestown Mall where we were going to save a few bucks on the rush hour show of Robots.

I got there first and waited outside in the beautiful weather a few minutes till I saw Ruth pull in the lot and park. I walked to the van which she’d parked two spots away from where I’d parked and opened the door for Isaiah.

“Hey, Dad!”

“Hi, Son. Did you figure out the clue yet?”


“He’s been asking me about it, but I haven’t told him anything,” Ruth said.

As we walked towards the entrance right by the theater, Isaiah began to put it together.

“Are we going to see a movie?”


“Which one?”

“You’re forgetting your clue.”

“Hmmm- robots… Are we going to see Robots?”

“Yes,” I said as we got in line for tickets.

We’d gotten there a little bit early so we played one video game (I say ‘we’ I suppose I mean ‘I’), but only one cause it cost $1!. It was supposed to be a four-wheeler that you drove through various terrains such as a jungle and through a volcano. There were two seats on it and Isaiah hopped on the back one since he couldn’t have effectively reached the handlebars anyway.

When the game started I realized I was getting more of my dollar’s worth than I had expected since the part with the seats on it actually moved in sync with the pitchings and rollings of the vehicle on the screen. It was pretty cool, but the tyranny of the clock and the need to still purchase some popcorn and drinks before the movie started precluded me from experiencing any temptation to play again.

It was good that the game had ended when it had too, because despite the fact that my watch suggested we still had a few minutes to spare when we’d made our way all the way down the hall to theater #10, the trailers were already playing. This irked me a little because I would have liked to pick our seats with light to see by, but the theater was almost empty so we had no problem getting a spot smack-dab in the middle four or five rows down from the top.

We got situated and sat down which was not a trivial task what with taking off our jackets, putting down our drinks, etc all without dropping or spilling anything– in the dark, but we accomplished it.

I held the bag of popcorn while Isaiah and I shared it since Ruth doesn’t care much for it. I put one of the two drinks in the cupholder between the boy and I. When I pulled out the cup for a sip, I noted that the cupholder was pretty grabby. It was almost a two handed job for a grownup.

Isaiah was having a blast even before the actual movie started. Most of the trailers were for movies that weren’t very interesting for him (or me) but he was entranced by the trailer for the latest Star Wars movie. I spoke quietly in his ear to tell him that the movie would be far too scary for a little kid and that he wouldn’t able to watch it till he was a lot older, which he accepted with equanimity.

When the movie started he was spellbound. I enjoyed the movie, but I enjoyed much more knowing how much fun he was having. With Gideon being so young it’s rare that both Ruth and I can do something with just Isaiah, but I’m sure the fact that it was just the three of us made it extra special for him.

About ten minutes after the movie began, Isaiah put both hands around the drink and lifted which didn’t remove the paper cup from the sticky holder, but did pop the top off.

No– ,” I squawked “Son, let me know when you need a drink and I’ll get it for you, OK? The cup is big and hard to handle.”

I replaced the lid and lifted out the drink for him and then put it on the other side of me in case he forgot my admonition. This plan worked perfectly– he’d ask for a drink and I’d get it for him and replace it on the other side of me– until a point about two thirds of the way through the movie when I guess I got lazy and tried to lift the cup out of the holder with one hand.

Now I know how to manage oversize paper cups. Believe me, I’ve had plenty of experience with large drinks in paper cups. However I have had enough experience to know that once the lid has been popped off the wrong way, it never goes back on properly. I had spread my fingers out evenly around the rim of the cup and curled them under the rolled lip exercising the perfect technique for picking up such a cup.

The problem was that the cup holder on the other side of me was grabby too, and this coupled with the impaired lid attachment resulted in a catastrophic event.

As I was pulling upwards the lid popped off. If that had been all, it would have been no big deal, but for some annoying reason I involuntarily jumped when the lid popped off and ended up with cold soda in my lap and popcorn (which I’d been holding in the non-drink-lifting hand) all over the front of me and half filling the space in the cup above the level of the remaining soda.

I wasn’t very happy about it, but I got over it quickly enough. There was still plenty of popcorn in the bag and once I scooped as much of the popcorn out of the cup as I could, there was still a decent amount of soda left.

Isaiah didn’t even notice what had happened. He was too engrossed in the movie. After all, not only was it a movie, but it was about robots. Did I mention what a good time he had?

After the movie we picked Gideon up from Nanie and Dimmy’s. He was awake, but he was asleep long before we got home. The next afternoon Ruth told me that when I had been in the bathroom while Ruth was getting Gideon bundled up to take out to the car, Nanie had told her that since Dimmy’s birthday was a couple of days after Isaiah’s we’d all be going to Fin Inn for supper Saturday night.

Now don’t get me wrong– I’m a big fan of the Fin Inn, but this proclamation had been made several days after Ruth had told her mother that we’d planned to have everybody over for dinner at our house that night for Isaiah’s family party.

To say I was a little peeved would be an understatement, but eventually I decided to respond to the situation in the only reasonable fashion that such proclamations (from this particular proclaimer, anyway) can be. I eventually realized the folly of resistance and acquiesced.

Friday night evaporated in a blur of domestic maintenance that began pretty much when I got home from work and ended somewhere near two am and Saturday morning came early. I would have preferred to sleep in till nine or nine-thirty, but we had more stuff to do– not the least of which was to create an Underdog cake.

Before going to bed, I’d cut three stencils. One for the red of Underdog’s suit, one for the blue of his cape, and one for his fur/skin. My plan was to lay the stencils lightly onto the white icing Ruth would put on the cake for me and then gently pepper colored sprinkles through the stencils onto the cake. I was putting the finishing touches on it just as the first guests were arriving, but I think it turned out pretty well.

The party was a success. The kids had fun running through the place playing with Isaiah’s mountainous pile of toys until we had lunch– the hot dogs and hamburgers I’d grilled that morning. Then he opened his loot and they played a while longer till it was time for cake. After cake there was, you probably guessed it, more playing for a while till the party began to break up around one o’clock.

The kids had all had a blast with no major altercations and the parents had a good time hanging out and conversing a bit without having to worry about keeping an eye on the kids. We’d told all the kids explicitly that no one was to go upstairs, so there was no replacement of last year’s chocolate handprint on the wall at the top of the steps and they all pitched in to help pick up the toys they’d gotten out so that there wasn’t even much of a mess when it was over.

When the last guest had left I told Isaiah that it was naptime. I wanted him to be rested and in a good mood for dinner at Fin Inn later. Of course his idea of what he wanted to do was somewhat different. We struck a deal. I’d let him play with his new toys for twenty minutes if he promised to go on up for a nap when time was up with no whining. This turned out to be a fine arrangement. He got some rest and I got about half an hour of uninterrupted time to play with his new stuff all by myself!

I’d built a couple of neat creations from the big bucket of Bionicles Ruth had found for him and when he finally came down he was pretty impressed with my work. We spent the remainder of the time between his nap’s end and time to leave for Fin Inn working together to build a fierce and diverse assortment of bionicle creatures armed with a vast and bristling panoply of claws, guns, flamethrowers, and lightning bolt shooters.

Dinner turned out to be OK. The food was good, Ruth and I both had catfish fritters which we couldn’t finish (we had them for supper the following Monday) and we got to sit by the giant snapping turtle. And by giant I don’t mean ‘pretty big’ I mean giant. He had to be almost three feet in diameter. He was pretty neat to look at but not too interesting to watch. Over the course of the forty-five minutes or so we were there he blinked about four times, but I don’t mean blink in the way it’s normally used. What I mean by blink is I’d look over and notice that his eye (I could only see one of’em) was closed and a few minutes later I’d look over and it would still be closed and I’d look over a few minutes later and it would be open.

After dinner we all went back to our house where Isaiah closed out his sixth birthday with a few more presents and some more Underdog cake.