We celebrated the birthday of this guy over the weekend:
The party was at ten in the morning, and he was hoping to wake up at nine so he wouldn't have to wait more than about ten minutes between his wake-up routine (dragging himself to the couch, complaining that he's not hungry, reluctantly eating a bowl of Kix before starting on the morning's business of bossing around Helen) and the arrival of the first guests. Of course this didn't happen and by 8:02 he was flopping about on various chairs wondering WHEN the party would START.
But start the party did, and it was remarkably pleasant. We even led everybody down to the park at the bottom of the street for a game of baseball, and yes, it was a bit chaotic, reining in eight eight year olds and a four-year-old helper (still weepy at being locked first out of the treehouse and then out of Si's room)--two of the boys wanted to take the Long Way, one needed me to carry a complicated piece of home carpentry that he'd whipped up during the free play of the first hour of the party (!), another found a crawdad claw that had to be kept track of--but also, I'm kind of shocked to say, fun. Walking along with two of the cheerfulest little boys on the planet (I took the Long Way too), one of them trying to make sure I knew where the Family Fun Center was and how to get there (just in case, you know), the other telling me about his recent trip to Philadelphia--I can't think of many better ways to spend a pleasant weekend morning.
Because this is the thing about eight year olds, I'm learning: they are pleasant company. They can make themselves juice and sandwiches. They are starting to appreciate humor, even that which does not involve poop, knock knock jokes, or cartoon characters slipping on banana peels (not that any of these forms of humor are NEGLECTED, you understand). They can go off by themselves. They can process. Excitement doesn't totally unhinge them. They can have a birthday party, three fun-size snickers bars and a slice of cake in the morning and still be able to play peacefully with their new toys until bedtime. They remember to add "I had a really fun time at your house!" when writing to grandparents to ask for more stuff.
Thank goodness. We're entering the sweet spot (which will last until he's approximately 12 and then end abruptly, I'm fully aware) (although I'm still hoping this won't happen to us and he'll be a CHEERFUL and PLEASANT teenager) (ha ha ha ha).