Which meant the breakout of WWIII at our house.
It's hard to explain to a five year old why they can't go to something as fun as a birthday party - especially when it's someone they know! And the snarkiness of the six year old didn't help matters.
The sing-song: "I get to go to a birthday party, par-tee, puh-uh-ar-tee!" for the two weeks prior was bad enough. But the day of the party - oh the tragedy.
Zoe was so excited you could practically see her vibrating. Dmitri pouted. "Who cares about some stupid girl birthday party?" Oh, the kindergartner doth protest too much...
So when they were gone - Daddy picked Zoe up, gift bought on the way home from work - Dmitri stood forlornly at the storm door, steaming up the glass and watching them drive away. He stood there a long time. I knew he was crying and didn't want me to see.
So I knelt down behind him and whispered, "Let's you and me go play a game. You pick."
We made labyrinths with Mazabel and watched Dr. Seuss' Sneetches and drank hot chocolate. I even dipped into and shared my super-secret stash of leftover Christmas candy. I thought he'd forgotten about the party. We were laughing and his tears had dried. This, I decided, was what mommies were really for.
"Is the Star-On machine real?" Dmitri asked suddenly, sucking on a Wethers and referring to the story of the Sneetches, the elite half of whom had stars on their bellies and the shunned half who didn't.
"No. It's a cartoon."
He considered this. "But those Sneetches are lucky now that they're all mixed up."
If you know your Dr. Seuss, you'll remember that the Sneetches had gone through the Star-On and Star-Off machine so many times, no one knew who was who anymore - who the original snobby star-bellied or the once-outcast plain-bellieds were.
"Because they're all the same now?" I asked.
"Yeah." He sighed. "And because they all get to go to each other's birthday parties."
So much for forgetting!