Because Jack’s winter solstice birthday is so close to Christmas, we have been moving the major celebration to his half birthday (on June 21). This year we abandoned the practice to make sure he had a party with his new friends here. One of his closest school friends is Naim, a hilarious little guy who began writing notes to Jack in school, saying things like “je voudrais t’inviter chez moi” and “tu es super-cool,” drawing little American flags on his stationery. It turns out that Naim also has a winter vacation birthday, so his mother Rachel and I decided to join forces on a shared birthday party. The boys decided on a Gormiti theme, the latest fantasy figure collection to capture the juvenile imagination and the parental pocketbook. This Italian-conceived, Chinese-made extravaganza seems to have caught on in Europe before reaching the United States, so I guess we can pretend that the Gormiti addiction is a sign of Jack’s internationalization.
Naim’s mother Rachel is an artist and made a fabulous invitation as well as Gormiti T-shirts for the two proud boys. She and I also decided to go for a very adult-friendly cake selection; in fact, I have no idea where to find a mediocre kid-cake here. We ended up with around 17 children crowding into our fifth floor walk-up. Yes, it was pretty wild. The kids moved from room to room in swarms, taking over Jack’s room, then ours, then Daphne’s with escalating intensity. Michael came to the rescue with a brief magic show that calmed everyone down very successfully. For a brief moment, all you could hear was Michael’s tranquil magician’s patter and Jack’s incredibly masterful translation of his dad’s monologue. After candles, cake, and an overwhelming number of presents, the swarms began again, but all parents decided to detach over a few bottles of champagne. In truth, we were pretty pleased to have so much happiness in the apartment and to see our little guy so thrilled.