Daniel's birthday celebrations began on Thursday when I very not secretly let him ride a tricycle to the checkout at Target. Then he rode it out the store and through the mall and back to the car.
The next day when he woke up and hopped on it, I called out Happy Birthday! and then we headed out to one of those indoor play cafes because, my god, the rain. The plan had been to go to this really awesome one about twenty minutes up the freeway but as our invited friend's mother almost cacked her pants at the idea of All That Rain, we went to the good enough, slightly less awesome one located in the mall down the road. That's the mall that's SO huge that it's The Mall Of The UNIVERSE and, like, viewable from the MOON, and one I choose to NOT go to at ANY time of the year because it's SO fucking crowded ALL the time, and all the being elbowed and jostled and annoyed kind of freaks me out, in a Vengeful Rage kind of way. But, we went there VOLUNTARILY at lunchtime on Friday, a day which was within the two weeks to Christmas Day Shopping Frenzy aka HELL, because my friend was too pussy to drive on a wet road, and I'm too pussy to say "fuck that shit, we're going".
Point being, oh my heck, the CROWDS.
But we made it and no one died, not even in the parking lot (has anyone else noticed that men, when they see you're waiting for them to leave so you can bogart their parking space, will acknowledge your presence before speeding up the process, while women, specifically MOTHERS, almost ( actually??) slow the fuck down and after pointedly ignoring you but you know they've noticed you because the only place they DON'T look is At YOU, and when they ventually DO get in their car, will sit there and do shit all for AGES before actually leaving?), and the afternoon went off like a rocket.
Daniel had great fun, and we stayed for AGES and only had to pull The Other Kid off Daniel maybe five times, so TOK seems to be doing better with his control issues, though they were an hour late (which, aside: I don't know about y'all, but I can zen out for AGES doing nothing, but ask me to wait more than five minutes past an agreed meeting time, and my brain is toast) because he didn't want to get in the car, he was quite happy at home, thank you very much.
When the kids had exhausted their respective Plays Well With Others factors, we waved goodbye and headed into the fray to look for Father Christmas, who we found and placed under Daniel for probably the crappiest photo of my kid EVER.
You'd think Daniel had to have been SO over all this excitement by then, but he wasn't, so we wandered around the mall some more and found another small indoor playground, and then we went to the toy store and stood around looking at Thomas the Tank Engine.
Then we left and I was CERTAIN Daniel would want to go home, but he's a freak and asked to go to The Plaza instead, so we went to The Plaza and bought exciting things like MILK and BREAD and other sundry food purchases because that's all you can GET at the Plaza. By now it was 8pm (I KNOW) so I dragged him to McDonald's so I could drink my decaf, read my paper and pretend I didn't have a kid, and he could wander around with his regular sized take away container of warm milk and make people look at me with searing judgement in their eyes when he tells them "mmmmm, I LOVE mah coffee!".