Why hello, poor neglected blog, how are you these days?  I've been away, living my life.  I've recently become aware that I have one of those things outside of the Interwebs and have been trying to plug into it a little more.  What I learned out there is that it's scary.  Go back inside.  

While you were out:
  • The Shortlings are now both in legitimate school and dealing with their own issues thereabouts.  That's another post. 
  • The KingofHearts has been super busy at work.  That's also another post.
  • My work got crazy again.  Not busy, mind you.  Just crazy.  That's a post I won't be writing.
  • I taught a class on health and body image to teenage girls.  That's a post that, if I were to write it, would be called Hypocrisy.
  • The Caterpillar started karate class.  That's a post with hilariously awkward video attached.
  • Both girls started piano lessons again.  That's a post I'd like to call Overscheduled Much?

But the big thing in our lives over the past week is called, Goodbye Age Four, Don't Let the Door Hit You in the Fanny On the Way Out.

We tried, oh, so hard to think of a birthday celebration that didn't have a pirate theme, because that's been done once or twice (or three, or four times). But in asking The Caterpillar what she wanted to do, we never really got a firm answer.  First she said she wanted a party and to invite all her friends, but she just started kindergarten and all her friends we actually know have scattered since preschool ended.  Then she said she wanted to go on a family trip.  Which sounded awesome until we realized that the next weekend free we have will be sometime in November.  Then one day she said she wanted a pirate party which was surprising because she had told he she didn't want to do pirate things anymore and somewhere in there, well, we just got tired.  Then suddenly we were all, Oh yeah, there's that celebration thing tomorrow that we never did anything about.  And, as with all things that you don't spend enough time planning, we just reverted to the easy and comfortable.  And we are weird so for us, that's The Pirate Theme.  

That child will be so sorry she was born on Talk Like a Pirate Day by the time she is sixteen.

But guess what?  I just figured out The Dormouse's birthday is Mad Hatter Day.  So now we have a birthday theme for the rest of her life too.

Fortunately, we have a Pirate themed restaurant we've wanted to try since their renovation, so this seemed an appropriate punt.

Here's a little tip:  If you want to go to a pirate bar on Talk Like a Pirate Day, make reservations first.  

We didn't.

It's not like it didn't occur to me; I just figured it was, you know, a bar and you know, if we got there at say 5:00 pm for dinner, we wouldn't have an issue getting a table.    

Let me just say that initially, I was dubious about whether this was the appropriate place for a five year old's birthday dinner.  It is, after all, basically a BAR.  So much so that there's been a whole bit of drama and controversy surrounding this place recently.  We did watch that episode of Bar Rescue like good Wasingtonians who care about America's Suburb.  I followed the story on the FacePlace over the summer and have seen a lot of Bad said about both the douche-y host of the television show and the flake-y owners and employees.  Not knowing either, I was left undecided.  I looked up reviews to see if this would be worth even trying to go here for this purpose.  They were all over the place.  But laziness won out and it was close by so we decided to take a chance.  

And you know what?  These people could not have been lovelier.  They found us a table even though the place was pretty much reserved-out, they had a full children's menu and the employees were incredibly sweet to The Shortlings, who had dressed up like Pirates for the occasion.

They gave them pirate booty and promised them gold doubloons if they ate all their vegetables.  The patrons kept calling them Tiny Pirates.  So they were happy to show off their mad pirate skillz.

I'd been led to believe that the food would possibly be substandard, but everything we had was great.  I ordered hot wings, which, the menu stated, were "so hot, we make you sign a waiver."  That wasn't a joke.

That's some funny schtick, right there.  But the best part for me was that they were actually really good wings.

The girls loved the decor:

We told them this was what happened to the last diners who didn't finish their vegetables.

And the pirates sang an appropriate Pirate-y birthday song for The Caterpillar.  Which was, well, awesome... and came with a Talk Like a Pirate Tutorial.

She was struck by a bit of shyness while this was going on and later regretted it.  So she asked to go back and talk to them.  They elected her Captain for the Night by a show of hands, which made her night. 

Captain Caterpillar of the Boney Leg

Maybe it was a fluke. Maybe it was just a day when they were prepared for a lot of people.  But we had a great time at Piratz Tavern and would totally go back.

That's not actually pudding she's opening; it's a pink skirt.  But how awesome would it be if I had just wrapped up a box of pudding and this was her reaction?

We had planned to have cake at home, where we had fancy colored flame candles.

The Dormouse was so impressed by this you'd have thought we invented fire.

It's hard for me to believe that four years old is gone.  I actually liked four.  Sure, it had its moments.  You know the moments.  The tantrums about nothing.  The concrete thinking that won't allow any other view of the world but the messed-up one that's in her head... and then the subsequent fit because the world won't bend to her point of view. The arguments with her sister.  The NEED to DO EVERYTHING her sister does - even when it's something that's clearly not for her - ahem rollercoasters.  

Recently, I had to instill a new practice with The Caterpillar.  I told her that when she's disappointed that things don't go her way, she's to ask someone for a hug instead of throwing a fit.  This was born out of desperation, because we just can't listen to one more crying jag about how the wind is blowing the wrong way or that we can't drive in Momma's car.  It must be Daddy's car because Momma's car "doesn't have good air."  I finally told her I don't have an unlimited amount of patience, but I do have an unlimited amount of hugs, so maybe this would be a better way to get attention.

But you know what happened at four?  At four, she started actually asking for that hug occasionally - BEFORE THROWING A FIT.  Sometimes even before I know what the problem is.  She'll wander into the room for what appears to be no reason and say quietly, "Can I have a hug?"  That's progress, people.  So I'm gonna say that four wasn't all bad.  

And she does make a pretty cute pirate.

I did not make this cake.  But I did make the Pirate.