I hope I never lose my sense of wonder. If that makes me naive, then so be it.

Wednesday, 28 May 2008

birthdays and showers and cakes, oh my

Yesterday my baby turned eight. I'm not sure how I've allowed my little M to be growing up so fast, but sure enough at 6:30 in the morning yesterday, I heard the little elfin footsteps and she crawled into my bed talking quietly about her birthday and accepting our sleepy well wishing, then I could hear her murmuring decisions of which of the gifts sitting on my dresser she would open first. Her strategy all planned, she snuggled in and informed me that eight didn't feel any different from seven. The rest of the day involved watching her new DVD (Enchanted) and different errands to prepare for her party and supper (M's request: fettuccine alfredo with sauteed shrimp, and Neapolitan ice cream for dessert).

I had two cakes to make, one for her party this afternoon and one for a baby shower this evening. The birthday cake started out as a sketch and actually came out looking a lot like the sketch. For her under-the-sea party, we hung green and blue streamers from the ceiling and decorated the table with fish napkins, fishy cutouts, and seashells we'd collected at Myrtle Beach last year. The cake was shaped like a dolphin (prompting speculation that Greenpeace might come after us). The kids had a fun time, and M thoroughly enjoyed her special afternoon.

A shower tonight for my sister Bee (Random Thoughts blog), a baby shower for their soon-to-come three year-old. They are adopting a little girl from an orphanage in South Africa and as the proud parents of two boys had no girlie stuff, and since the fire, no stashed-away baby stuff either. The shower was a lovely celebration of pink and Dora the Explorer. M was happy, since her new little cousin is in "a house full of boys", and needs some nice princessy things. The cake for that was a baby block, much simpler after my dolphin escapade.

And the "oh my" for this post is courtesy of the rat in our chicken coop. On our return from the shower tonight, the girls went inside while I quietly went to the coop, carefully opened the door, slipped inside and snapped on the lights. And I saw it. I had an image in mind when D described it to me - but my image was smaller, a sort of svelte rat that would slip nimbly in and out of the coop, the size 2 of the rat world. This one, however, was huge. It wasn't facing me but slipped into its hole, the size of a guinea pig. A dark gray, fat guinea pig with a long tail that snaked into the hole after it. It's obviously been enjoying the hens' food; if there were a market for grain-fed rat, I think I'd be on to something.

Now I don't mind rodents; I think most of them rather cute. The hamster is adorable, the mice and voles do elicit some pity when they are trapped (and a large part of me wants to catch them live, gently teach them not to eat the food in my shelves, then let them make their way in society), the squirrels are fun to watch. This guy (or girl), however, gave me the creeps. It was just so ... big. And living with my hens. And big. And sauntering away as if it wasn't really all that concerned with me. Did I mention big?

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