Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Birthday Bash

A mama's work is never done. Today was a mandatory Dodge Ball game at the yochien. It was the mamas versus the kids for the first game and then second game was the boy mamas vs. the boys and the girl mamas vs. the girls. The kids are six! The mamas range from their twenties to forties. It was awesome to see the athleticism of some of the mamas. One of theJapanese mamas asked me if we play dodge ball in America. Hmm, I wondered. We did when I was a kid, but I have no idea any more. I recollected in middle school more than a few rough dodge balls games being held in the school gym in Rota, Spain, during the rainy season. Today, we played in the sunshine on the dirt. This was only an interlude to my morning as I, not knowing about the mandatory fun, had invited several friends for lunch to celebrate the moose's birthday.

I managed to sort of clean the house, make hot & sour soup, pizza dough, and millionaire chicken salad with dressing before the game. After the game, I had just enough time to warm up harumaki spring rolls and start the pizzas in the oven. One convenient thing I have learned in Japan is that no mama will show up to your house without food so when the others arrived, they were all bearing dishes to share. There is some kind of hospitality rule here that you must prepare a dish even if you are invited for a meal. We had a feast and in the end I didn't really even have to make dinner thanks to leftovers.
We waited for the mule to get home from shogakko elementary school before having cake and attacking the piñata. This was the first time I made a piñata. I had no idea how it would work. I used a glue mix with water and newspapers, managing to apply three layers. I painted eyes & a smile like on the plain Lego head and added a rim to it. The birthday boy loved it. The munsters had helped me stuff sour bunnies and Legos into it the night before so I was concerned it could have a weak spot. Turned out to be made well! Everyone whacked at it with the large bamboo stick. After everyone had taken three turns on it, I told the moose to get the baseball bat. We whacked away- the five mamas, the nine kids! It took a beating. Laying on the ground after we beat it off the hanger, it still wasn't open. At last, the birthday boy got a dent into it. I picked it up and ripped it apart with a kind of festive zeal. I highly recommend celebrating birthdays with pinatas! The kids loaded their own goody bags and all seemed happy after our united efforts.

The Japanese mamas left in a gaggle as they do- all at once. We were all spent from our game and the party. It seemed surreal to think that six years ago my husband and I were driving down the GW parkway in a freak snowstorm while I called out with my labor contractions and the mule chatted happily in the back seat; I think my husband prayed for the traffic jam to clear. Six years and forever seem the same when I think of how long the moose has been with us. What a blessing!