Sunday, January 25, 2009

Michael turns five with good grace

Yesterday was Michael's fifth birthday. I remember being five myself, very clearly, so this birthday is a bit of a milestone for me, as was Marcus's fifth. The boys brains now are making the memories they will keep into old age.

Luckily his birthday fell on Saturday and we had his party right on the day. He woke up not particularly excited, but not quacking with grumpiness as with previous birthdays. He wasn't demanding to stay four, as he had demanded to stay three (and previously two). When Marcus brought in the presents Michael began to liven up.

Last week I took him in to Australian Geographic to look at prospective presents, so we knew he would like what we bought. From us he has a set of stick-on-glow-in-the-dark planets and stars, now adorning the ceiling of his room. From Marcus he has a solar system jigsaw - a very basic one but he loves it all the same. It came with a natty poster of the old S. system. In fact there are two double-sided posters, so now we can also use them to learn Spanish, French and German!

S. system merchandisers have adjusted to the new 'No Pluto' scheme of things, but what they didn't reckon on was Dwarf Planet Creep. Most of the material we are seeing says there are 3 dwarf planets (Eris, Ceres, Pluto), but there are currently five (+ Haumea and Makemake). Stay tuned for updates.

We put a fair amount of energy and stress into a party, and thankfully it all went well. Michael's choice of his kinder classmates came by with parents and some siblings, and everyone seemed to have a very nice time. Elf and I don't go all that much on party games, and for the fives we thought we could get away with just some kite flying and a general invitation to swing, bounce, and get immersed in lego. Three at a time were in the hammock.

I set up a treasure hunt at the park above our house, by way of getting kids up to the kite flying venue. Unfortunately, once I had set down 12 kinder eggs in quite a large field, I couldn't see even one of them. Somehow they were all tracked down. Kites flew. I scrambled down the hill to get hats for the hatless, as the sun was beating down. As I was scrambling back up again the rain began. It was that kind of day.

Michael really enjoyed his party and his whole day. He has a really nice bunch of friends, and we could tell by watching them all together that they are very fond of him. The parents are are also a good lot, very interesting people. But boy were we pleased when they all left! The wind down is so pleasant, after spending a few days getting everything scrubbed, wrapped and sorted out. The boys played with the new loot most of the afternoon and Elf and I lay about like (well dressed and attractive) sloths. One month from now Marcus turns seven.


Wendy said...

Happy Birthday, Michael! Mine was on Friday. January kids are COOL. :)

Laurel Kornfeld said...

Happy Birthday to Michael. I have a nephew who is five and a half, so I know this is a wonderful age.

Regarding solar system merchandise: many manufacturers have deliberately NOT adjusted to the "No Pluto" change because it is highly controversial and has been rejected by many professional planetary scientists. Besides having been adopted by only four percent of the IAU, most of whom are not planetary scientists, it also makes no sense in saying that dwarf planets are not planets at all.

I encourage you and everyone buying solar system merchandise to purchase only the items that include Pluto and even better, the other dwarf planets, which should--and hopefully ultimately will--be classified as a subcategory of full fledged planets. It is a disservice to children to produce objects with only eight planets, as this is an ongoing debate, and such merchandise does not properly convey this or knowledge of Pluto and the other smaller planets to the children.

I'm proud to say my nephew knows that Pluto is a planet and that all the solar system items I have bought him include Pluto as well as some of the dwarf planets.

chris rees said...

Thanks Wendy and Laurel - I'll pass on your good wishes.

Laurel - I'm staggered by and admiring of your dedication to Pluto and those other plucky little planets.

My only reservation is that a line needs to be drawn somewhere, with Planets on one side, and Handsome-In-Their-Way-But-Not-Planets on the other. Doesn't it?

I too think "dwarf" is a bit of a silly term, based on common usage. A dwarf hippo is still a hippo. But a dwarf planet is not a planet.

Thanks for dropping in Laurel!

chris rees said...

...and of course, Happy Birthday Wendy! Woo hoo!!