Cian turned five on Tuesday this week, and as everyone knows when you’re four, turning five is a big deal. His birthday weekend got off to an unexpectedly exciting start through his sister. When I came home from work last Friday, I found Áine lying on the couch listless, pale, burning up, and most alarmingly for her, indifferent. I called Sarah, who rushed home, scooped her up and ran her to the hospital next door while I stayed with Cian. Áine was diagnosed with both dengue fever and pneumonia, just a week after Sarah had recovered from her own bout with dengue. Áine is fiercely tenacious, however, and she is recovering from both quickly.
I stayed home with our dainty princess that Sunday while Sarah took Cian and some of our friends to brunch and Waterbom, the premiere water park in Jakarta. They had a great time.
Afterwards, the soggy bunch made their way over to our apartment for pizza, cake, and presents. Cian’s friend Indy (the ten-year old son of fellow teachers) had made a map to hunt and dig up a treasure chest of candy in the playground sand. Cian went to bed exhausted, full of chocolate, and very happy.
For his official birthday, Cian had a party with his class. As the day approached, Sarah and I started to get a small feeling of dread- most of the students at our school are unbelievably wealthy (each with their own car and driver, for starters) so party favors from Cian’s previous classmates have included monogrammed backpacks, swimming towels with hand-stitched names, etc. Fortunately in pre-k, matchbox cars and pencil kits still win out. All was overseen by Mrs. Elsa, Cian’s no-nonsense teacher from South Africa, and classroom assistant Ibu Sumi (Ibu in Indonesian is used as Mrs.). When you are spending the day with 15 four and five-year olds, you do not even remotely tolerate nonsense. I can’t help but smile when I see Cian’s class occasionally walking in the hall single file, each with their arms wrapped around themselves as if in straight jackets, and Mrs. Elsa watching closely for mischief, arms crossed. She is the perfect teacher for our five-year old mischief-maker.