A Very Merry Unbirthday to You

by | Jan 30, 2009 | Eli, Henry, Parenting | 13 comments

Once again, Eli is making his preference known regarding all matters birthday.

Henry: How many days until Eli’s birthday?
Julie: Twelve.
Eli: I don’t want a birthday.
Julie: No party?
Eli: No.
Julie [expressing deep relief]: Any special food you want to eat on your birthday?
Eli: Peanuts.
Julie: How about peanut butter cupcakes?
Eli: Ok.
Henry: But Eli! Don’t you want to have a party? You can get presents!
Eli: I don’t want presents.
Henry [perhaps knowing that he’d get to share whatever Eli got]: How about if you just get presents from us?
Eli: Ok.
Henry: Or you could have a moonbounce!
Julie: What?!
Eli: Ok! Let’s have a moonbounce!
Henry: That’s a great idea! We can get a moonbounce!
Julie: What?? No! We can’t get a moonbounce!
Henry and Eli: Why?
Julie: Well, I mean. Well. Ok. First of all, a moonbounce is expensive. Second of all, we’re not even having a party. Thirdly, it’s wintertime. You can’t have a moonbounce outside in the snow.
Henry: Do we know anyone with a moonbounce? Maybe we could borrow one.
Julie: Well, what you do is you rent it. But it’s still expensive [suddenly realizing she has no idea if this is really true…but they can’t be exactly cheap].
Henry [ignoring adulty argument]: Do we know anyone whose birthday is in the summertime?
Julie [skeptical]: Well…your birthday is in August.
Henry: Ok! Ok! That’s great! We can just get a moonbounce for my birthday!
Eli: Yeah!


  1. sutswana

    We’re still getting him a present.
    If no winterized moonbounce, how about your own backyard hockey rink?
    And a parade of clowns traipsing through your house? (Oh, right, you already have the neighborhood posse for that.)

  2. Paticus

    I’m sure, if you just moved every bit of furniture in the house, you could squeeze a moonbounce in there!

  3. Christina

    haha. The “peanuts” response really made me laugh. Moonbounces (moonbouci?) are ubiquitous here in So. Cal- drive past any given park on a random saturday and you’ll see dozens of them. Erik’s cousin seems to rent one every time she has us over for a BBQ. They are pretty cheap to rent here (I wont tell Henry). They are perfect if you want to host a party with adult conversation, etc- the kids just go in there and jump for hours on end.

  4. Elizabeth

    We went to the “Day Out with Thomas” this past summer – I won free tickets from our local PBS station. Anyhoo, we rode an ancient train (I’m thinking rural China with fewer people and less interesting food) while listening to Thomas songs crackling and fading in and out on the intercom. The train deposited us in the middle of a weird, dusty carnival designed to get us to spend money. Disenfranchised high schoolers and older carnie types manned the VCR movie tent (seriously), tattoo booth, and yes, you guessed it…the MOONBOUNCE! The lady in charge of the moonbounce was a fifty year-old tweaker. The best moment came when, as all the preschoolers were inside, jumping around (mine included), the thing started to deflate on top of them. She finished sucking on her cigarette, flicked it to the ground and shouted, “F****K!!!” at the top of her lungs. The parents just sort of looked at each other and laughed nervously. I will forever associate this woman with the Moonbounce.

  5. Aunt Sandra

    Reading your blog and comments each day increases my vocabulary! I had never heard of a moonbounce before, so had to look it up! I did look up “tweaker” to find that it means a catapult, but somehow that doesn’t fit…what’s a “tweaker”? Thanks for keeping your Aunt current, Julie!

  6. Beth

    I love how Henry reasoned through that whole argument. I think the moonbounce is around $125~$150 (my friend gets one for her little girl’s party every year.) They said they were thinking about just buying one…can you imagine OWNING a moonbounce? Talk about popularity with the posse. (I”m guessing you’d eventually find drunken teens inside your moonbounce on a Saturday night though, don’t you think?)

  7. Julie

    You all are cracking me up!

    Beth, I can’t believe you know people who might buy a moonbounce. That’s great. And crazy. It makes me think of a time Dave and I were driving out in the country somewhere, and we saw a lawn that had about 12 of those giant inflatable Christmas decorations, but, since it was during the day, they were all deflated. And they all looked so sad and limp and like giant colorful used prophylactics on the lawn. That’s what a moonbounce would be like, if you owned it.

    I will say that that also made Dave say, “Hey! Why don’t we make one!” (that and Christina’s comment about how having them at barbecues gives the adults a chance to talk). So now maybe we’ll be the freaks with the homemade moonbounce.

    But Elizabeth, your story is the best! First of all, that’s why you should move to this Portland, because our “Day Out With Thomas” things are at the historic narrow gauge railroad, and very quaint. Though they are also crazy expensive ($25/ticket??), so I don’t know anyone who has actually done it. But I am loving the image of this smoking carney cursing at the deflating moonbounce.

    Which also makes me remember the time we were in college and went to the truck stop, and I ordered, as I always did, apple fritters. When I got them, I tasted one, and it definitely wasn’t right. So I told the waitress, who said, “Aw f**k, yer s**tin’ me!” And then picked one up and broke it open with her fingers before declaring, “These are mushrooms!” and taking the plate away.

    Aunt Sandra, when did I use the term “tweaker”? Because I don’t know what that is either!

  8. Kate

    Some friends of ours seem to have just about everything under the sun, including a moonbounce that they bought at Costco (I think they ordered it from their site, actually) and they really aren’t that expensive considering. This is not to say that we’d ever purchase one though, because Miles would get annoyed if the lawn (such as our humble patch is) got burned out from the moonbounce sitting on it and I would get irritated for constant requests to set the darn thing up all the time. Much better to borrow one or play on one over at someone else’s house!

  9. Julie

    Oh my goodness, yes, I hadn’t even thought of that. I get annoyed with being bugged to set up the pool every day during the summer — I can’t even imagine the whining that would revolve around trying to get me to set up a moonbounce!

  10. Aunt Sandra

    In Elizabeth’s post, she mentioned a “fifty-year-tweaker”. I’m curious if it’s a word to refer to the older generation, an occupation, maybe it’s a hawker or some sort?

  11. Julie

    Ah, yes, in that case I would define “tweaker” as “someone whose life is tweaked.” Like a 50-year-old woman operating the moonbounce at a Thomas the Tank Engine carnival. Has nothing to do with seniority in general (i.e., you, Aunt Sandra, would most definitely not be a “tweaker.”) Though Liz might be able to provide further definition.

  12. Elizabeth

    Yet another reason to move to the “other” Portland. Here in the Pacific Northwest (and Northern CA, where we lived before), “tweaker” is a household word…in my usage, a methamphetamine user/addict, who is twitchy, fidgety, and…tweaking! It has nothing to do with being fifty! I now have the dubious distinction of introducing Aunt Sandra to the term. Such a proud moment! 🙂

  13. Julie

    How quaint and Puritan I am, describing “tweaker” as “someone whose life has taken a turn for the worse.” Yes, yes, Liz, move here! While I’ sure there are meth addicts, there are not enough for slang referring to them to become a household term.


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