Five

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Mark posing for photos during the Thanksgiving long weekend, four days before turning five

Mark started the countdown to his birthday shortly after mine, in March. In hindsight, maybe buying him a super-heroes calendar was a mistake—I can’t remember a bedtime routine that didn’t include a quick check on the date and a promise that yes, one day it would be October 12.

The second week of this month is one of celebrations for us. Feng’s birthday is on October 11, Mark’s birthday is on October 12 and Thanksgiving is usually right before.

Before Mark, we barely acknowledged our respective birthdays. Feng had ODed on complicated and awkward Chinese gift-giving customs (“You don’t want anything? Here is something you don’t need, anyway, feel free to regift it to me next time!”) and we like to say we’re not materialistic.

But Mark likes ribbons, shiny wrapping paper, surprises, cake, candles, and everybody’s birthday must be celebrated with as much enthusiasm as if we were five again. Over the years, we upped our game. I’m rediscovering the pleasure of surprising someone and I received unexpected cool gifts too. At home, “birthdays” are now “Birthdays”, capital “B”.

Needless to say, I needed a plan for the guys.

“Mark, what would make you really really happy for your birthday?”

“A house.”

“A house?!”

“Yes, a big house.”

Since I know Mark doesn’t watch Property Virgins, I immediately blamed my in-laws for this sudden interest in real estate. They started brainwashing Mark to get through us. For instance, they want Feng to buy a new car because ours is old, so they give Mark car dealership brochures with the instruction to “pick daddy’s new car colour.” Which could be cute if we were in the market for wheels—but guess what, we aren’t.

So now, my in-laws apparently want us to move closer to their suburb, or in the area of a great school they heard about or whatever. Awe-some.

Not going to happen.

“Mark, why do you want a new house?”

“Er… this one is old.”

“Do you remember grandma and grandpa apartment in France? Yes? The building dates back to the 18th century. What? That’s like a long long time ago. Yes, before you. Now, this house was built 20 years ago. That’s not old. Besides, you don’t just buy a house for a birthday, sorry. Houses are super expensive.”

“Like, 100 dollars?”

“If you want to move to Detroit, maybe. More like a ‘one’ with six zeros. Is there anything else that would make you happy?”

“A boat that is a truck and a car.”

“A what?!”

“A boat, and it’s a car, and a truck, and a plane.”

“Did you see that in a store?”

“No, why?”

I sigh.

“Feng, what do you want for your birthday?”

“Nothing. I’m too old.”

“Guys, you’d better give me ideas or you will get a bunch of carrots…”

“MOMMY!”

“… and you will get books I’ll force you to read.”

“…JULIETTE!”

Gee.

It’s okay. Everything is under control. I have gifts hidden in the closet, I have plans in mind.

Love you, guys. Just don’t make a mess with the cake.

Mark’s calendar, counting down the days to October 12

Mark posing for photos during the Thanksgiving long weekend, four days before turning five

Mark posing for photos during the Thanksgiving long weekend, four days before turning five

Mark posing for photos during the Thanksgiving long weekend, four days before turning five

Mark posing for photos during the Thanksgiving long weekend, four days before turning five

Mark posing for photos during the Thanksgiving long weekend, four days before turning five

Mark posing for photos during the Thanksgiving long weekend, four days before turning five

Mark posing for photos during the Thanksgiving long weekend, four days before turning five

Mark posing for photos during the Thanksgiving long weekend, four days before turning five

Mark posing for photos during the Thanksgiving long weekend, four days before turning five

Mark posing for photos during the Thanksgiving long weekend, four days before turning five

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About Author

French woman in English Canada. World citizen, new mom, traveler, translator, writer and photographer. Looking for comrades to start a new revolution.

25 Comments

  1. Joyeux anniversaire Mark (And Feng 😉 )
    Is it me or Mark looks bigger since this summer?
    He always seems so happy and full of life on pictures, I can totally imagine him counting down the days and loving the day 🙂
    Good luck with your in-laws

  2. Happy birthday to the men in your life!
    Je plussoie la Frenchie de l’Ouest, un moment j’ai cru que tu avais pris les photos d’un autre enfant pour les mettre ici 🙂
    Yeah today is a mix of French and English, just because!
    Et , je suis désolée mais j’ai ri au sujet des beaux-parents, ça doit être lourd… mais ça fera des souvenirs!
    😀

    • Ah non, mais on a carrément le droit de rire des beaux-parents des autres. Ça fait tout son charme! 😆

      J’aurais bien pris des photos d’un autre enfant, mais il aurait fallu que j’attire la bête avec des bonbons et tout, j’avais pas ça sur moi. Alors je me suis rabattue sur Mark 😆

  3. Dear Mark, I wish I live closer.
    I wish I can send you a Captain America spinner, my supervisor has 1. It’s cool! Happy Birthday little traveler!

  4. Ah yes, Mark turns 5! Happy Birthday Mark!

    I do remember this 5 years ago, mostly because it coincided with my move to Berlin. Sometimes I wonder and get myself amazed that it’s been 5 years since that move happened. I am sure you also have these moments, that time feels so fast, Mark is already 5. Judging from the pictures, he seems to be turning into a handsome healthy kid!

    • It’s funny because I remember your move very clearly as well, and I have the same “wow, has it been 5 years?” moment when you mention Berlin on your blog!

  5. Martin Penwald on

    Tiens, ça ferait quoi à tes beaux-parents si vous leur annonciez que vous comptez déménager dans un grand centre urbain comme Iqaluit ou Tuktoyatuk ?

    • Y’aurais un grand silence le temps que je trouve le nom chinois de ces deux endroits. Pis après, il trouverait ça bien si ça voulait dire qu’on avait tous les deux trouvé un emploi pour le gouvernement du Canada, un truc stable, bien carré, derrière un bureau. Tiens, ils seraient même capables de nous suivre.

  6. J’adore son style ! 5 ans déjà! Ça se rapproche pour nous aussi (et ça me paraît beaucoup). Plus qu’à compter jusqu’à l’année prochaine maintenant ;p Joyeux anniversaire à Feng et Mark.

  7. Bee Ean Le Bars on

    Oh, I just realized Canada celebrates Thanksgiving earlier than USA. I was feeling weird that you mentioned Thanksgiving in October, as I remember it was always in November.

  8. Happy belated birthday Mark!
    Je me souviens bien quand j’avais lu que tu avais accouché ! J’étais dans la salle de bain de mes amis à Zion National Park. Je m’étais dit que tu avais été une petite cachottière ! 😀
    C’est marrant, 5 ans, déjà, et j’ai l’impression d’avoir vu Mark un peu grandir, à travers tes yeux !

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