Unbelievable as it seems, my adorable baby is 4.  Totally, officially, 4.  Yesterday was the last hurrah in a week filled with birthday fun.  It was time to celebrate turning 4 at kindy, his preschool.   This was my first time observing how it’s done here.  I love, love, love the sameness and differentness of our two cultures.  I feel like Margaret Meade over here.

My oven(s) won’t bake properly.  Either my German is bad, or my ovens are confused.  Muffins & meats turn out fine, but cakes are just abysmal failures.  So Dave picked up two 1/4″ sheets at the commissary.  One vanilla and one chocolate.  Yesterday at 11:00 a.m. I brought them to the kindy to help Dane celebrate turning 4.

Dane got to sit in the super-duper decorate birthday chair.   Wooooooooohooooooooo!  Then the scary clown puppet, scary to people named Toiny, who are afraid of clowns, did the introductory favors and determined it was, indeed, Dane’s 4th birthday.  Dane’s I’m-too-cool-to-be-excited smirk almost turned into a full grin.  Then he got to carry the birthday treasure chest to his birthday decorate chair, with help of the scary clown puppet.  Together they choose a wonderfully, rainbow-colored, plastic pan flute as Dane’s 4th birthday present from kindy.  This time the grin broke through loud & clear.

In honor of Dane’s American background the whole kindy sang both Happy Birthday and “zum Geburtstag viel glück” in German.  Dane just beamed.  I really must get a camcorder.  Finally the cake was cut and every child got to choose between vanilla and chocolate.  Unfortunately, for many of them, waiting for their piece was completely nerve-wrecking, and they kept getting up when it was not their turn.  Their teachers gently turned them back to their appointed spots, encouraging them to wait their turn.   American cakes are much sweeter than German cakes.  There was enormous joy had by all, and seconds had by most.  I was ecstatic to leave once the sugar rush kicked in.

Poor Dane couldn’t finish his piece, and after it was all over he was completely partied out.  He turned to me, as all the kids were bouncing out the door to play in the kindergarten;

“Mama?  Can I come home and nap?”