Saturday, May 30, 2009


(Editor's Notes:  1. Perhaps you, like me, have conflated Winnie the Pooh and Bilbo Baggins.  It was Pooh who coined the term "Elevenses," not Bilbo.  Bilbo preferred "second breakfast." 2. I doubt that any of you, like me, have also conflated my brother with Pooh and Bilbo.  It was in fact my brother who coined the term "Eleven-y". 3. All of this is apropro of the fact that this year, as in all other years my firstborn wound up with a mighty multi-day birthday celebration and as a result I began thinking of her as turning "elevenses" or "eleven-y."  4.  I'm sure you're thrilled.  5. We decided to do a Q&A post to chronicle the big days.  Enjoy.)

M:  So Caitlin, how old are you now?

C:  I’m 11.

M:  And what did you do to celebrate your birthday?

C:  Well, on May 28 I had a big party with my friends.  Divya and Riya (friends from the lane) came over and we went to the Scout Grounds and picked up Ketaki and Shrushti and then we went to the other Shrushti’s Auntie’s house and picked her up too (friends from Bharaht Guides).  Then we came home and had cake.

M: You had cake first?

C: No, we played pin the tail on the donkey.  

L-R: Riya, Shrushti 1 (standing), Ketaki, Caitlin, Divya, Shrushti 2. After the picture Shrushti one started fake-crying and fussing that the donkey had bitten her finger...

M: What was that like?

C: It was fun and bit chaotic and some of the girls lost interest pretty quickly, but we were all pretty good.  Riya got the award from most creative guess for where the donkey’s tail should be.

M: Where’d she put the tail?

C: Off to the side and on the leg.  

M: So what what’d you do after that?

C: Then we had my cake that was absolutely a masterpiece! 

Mom made it and it was a four layer vanilla cake with vanilla frosting. (No baksheesh was involved in Caitlin's assessment of the cake.) We put crumbled Reeses Peanut Butter Cups around the outside but not all the way up to the top and then we put on green flower stems and red-y purple flowers.

M:  Were they real flowers?

C: No, they were frosting.

M: How did the cake taste? 

C: It was super delicious and there was enough that I could have a piece for afternoon snack today.

M: What did you do after the cake?

C: We went outside and took turns riding my bike.  Oh yea, and Ben and his friend Attarwa chased Ketaki with toy snakes.

M:  And what about all the screaming?

C: What screaming?

M: What screaming?! There was tons of screaming when you guys were outside

C: I guess Ketaki did scream when the boys got close to her and some of the girls did put up a fuss about taking turns with the bike, but that’s normal.

M: Alright, so after screaming, what did you do?

C: We all piled in to a big car and drove out to ABC Farms.  We sang along to the music and danced and Ketaki and I tried to do a bridge but of course there wasn’t enough room.  But eventually we put our hands on the ceiling and our feet on the seat in front of us and managed.

M:  Where was your mother for all of this?

C: In the middle seat, in deep conversation with Shrushri 2.

M:  Was this a plot? Did you plant Shrushti to distract me from your craziness?

C: NO! We had abolutly no idea that that was going to happen but we decided to have some fun and try it.

M: And since we’re here blogging about it, we obviously made it to ABC Farms safely.  So what happened once you got to there?

C: We got our golf clubs and golf balls, and, to sum it up in one word we invaded the golf course.   (Before you begin to doubt my midwestern cred (who mini-golfs on a farm?!), ABC Farms is a collection of restaurants and a mini-golf course, spread over a few acres along the river.)

M: You mean like a carefully orchestrated military manouver? 

C: No, I mean like everybody running to every different hole, not waiting in line, which wasn’t necessary because there were 18 different holes.  I think everyone did every hole at least 3 different times.  

Caitlin and Ketaki

Ben and Attarwa

Riya and Divya

Shrushti 2 and Shrushti 1

(Don't these all look like sweet, well-behaved children?  Certainly not the sort that would overrun a mini-golf course or, say, have a slap-fight, right?)

M:  Insane. Any causalties?

C: No, no.  Everyone made it out safe and sound but there was some slap-fighting between some of the girls.  They tried to explain it to me but it wasn’t successfully managed.

M:  Slap-fighting? Glad I missed that.  So did you mother ever feed you?

C: No.

M: What?! Yes I did!  What was all that soda and pizza I paid for?

C:  Oh yea. We had pizza except for 2 kids.  Ten times during the meal at least someone would yell, “Caca, ick arey fan turn carey.” (Uncle, come turn the fan please.)

M:  Really?  I didn’t hear that.  Must’ve been the Kingfishers I was downing.  Ok, so after dinner, did you all drop from exhaustion?  

(Kids-only table plus Kingfisher for Mom = blurriness...)

C: Nope.  We went outside and you had us play lining up games (gee, I wonder why).  Then we got in the car and drove people home.  First Shrushti, then Ketaki and then Shrushti 2.  When we dropped off Shrushti 2 her father took us out for ice cream.  (Shrushti 2's dad owns an ice cream shop across the street from their apartment so he insisted we all come in and have ice cream.  His specialty is something called a Mango Mastani, an ice cream drink named after Mastani, the concubine of  Pune's much beloved patriarch, Shivaji.   Shrushti's dad promises that if you have one mastani a day for a week you'll gain 4 kgs, a claim which I would never dispute, though I can see how a person would want to have one every single day.)

M: And after ice cream?

C: Everybody else rode back to Prabaht Road.

M: Do you know what time it was when you got home?

C:  I don’t know, 10?

M:  It was after 11, honey!

[C: Nonchalantly silent, appears to think roaming the city, partying, hours after bedtime is now the norm...]

M:  But that wasn’t the end of the celbrations was it?

C: No, have I ever had a one-day birthdy celebration? The next day I had breakfast in bed  

 (Swedish pancakes) and then presents.

M: Get anything good?

C: Yea,  Yahtzee and a watch.  (Ben got one too!)

M: Sweet, so that was it then, huh?

C: Uh, no, not yet.  We had an all day game marathon. 

(Painting too!)

I went out to lunch at Foodies with mom

 and then we had the regular Shabbat festivities.  And then today at Baraht Guides we brought cake for my friends and we took them out for sugar cane juice afterwards.

(At left is Pramila-tai, Caitlin's troop leader. Beside her is her sister and then about half of Caitlin's troop.)

M: That it?  Do you think you fully celebrated your 11th birthday?

C: Yea, I think so.

M:  Any hopes or plans for the coming year?

C:  Continue writing my book and when we move back to America, take horseback riding and cooking lessons.  Learn how to cook Tibetan food in Ladakh.

M: As our Indian friends say, "Many happy returns of the day!"


Susannah said...

There are many reasons to love this post, but the fact that the children appear to have taken to wearing matching striped outfits really made this extra good.

paul said...

...i was going to comment on that if no one else had already. the aunt of awesomeness and i were in scranton for the weekend and had a blast. glad to see caitlin had such a fun birthday and ben seems to be enjoying his new watch. horseback riding in virginia sounds like great fun, and i can't wait to see you guys when you get here.

Grandpa George said...

I'll bet Caitlin will be telling the story of her b-day party in India for years.

Looked like lots of fun.

Also reminded me of Chris at 5 coming home and telling us about the great cross-cultural song Jehada, Nurisha, and Shu-Ming had taught him at Riverside Church Weekday School. I'll let Chris do the punchline on this.

margaret said...

i am also a fan of this red and white team...might they have something to do with your home state? caitlin seems to be full of birthday giddieness and joy. i loved hearing about this birthday from the interviewee. top notch.