maddy’s 4th birthday party.

two weekends ago we

carried on a tradition

that we’ve followed since 2009…

we had a birthday party

in our backyard

for maddy,

several weeks after

her actual the past,

there were no problems

or confusion

because i don’t

think maddy really

understood what a birthday

was, nor did she

really know the date

of her birthday.

she just thought

her birthday was a

month-long party.

but since her

third birthday party,

she has been looking forward

to her fourth,

(insisting that it must be a batman party)

and sometime in between

she learned

(and committed to memory)

that she was

born on march 24th.

as usual, we were

away from los angeles

for her actual birthday…

this year maddy

and i headed

to phoenix to meet up with


parents, sister, aunt & uncle,

plus we got

a little time with

my mom and

one of her friends, and

my aunt, uncle,

cousin, & her daughter.

(i’ll write about that soon).

we had a great day

in the pool that day,

but maddy woke up

on the 25th, wondering

why she didn’t have

her batman party.

i tried to explain that

we’d still be having

her batman party, just

on a different day.

a couple of weeks

later, it was almost

time for her party.

i told her that

her friends would be

coming to our house.

she looked at me

and she asked if it

was march 24th.

i explained that it

was april 15th

and that we were

celebrating her 4th

birthday again with

a bigger group of people.

she seemed confused,

but changed the subject

by asking for breakfast.

that morning we

were visited by


great friend and one

of my favorite

people in the

whole wide world, chandra

and her son quinn.

opening her gift from chandra & quinn.

they dropped in and hung

out for a bit,

playing with maddy’s race

track and swinging

in the hammock

before heading to

the airport to go

back home.

when maddy went down

for her nap,

the work began…

we had roughly 2

hours to transform

our backyard into

a venue fit

for a bunch of

little superheroes

(and their parents)

we had a bunch

of piñatas

filling the piñata.

with some piñatas.

(my mom, liz’s dad, and brooke’s sister joined me in the hunt for piñatas, and since we couldn’t decide on which one to get, we ended up getting four)

batman piñatas.

one was filled

with candy and peanuts

for the kids

filling the piñata.

and the other was

filled with

tiny bottles of booze

for the adults

filling the adult piñata.

because, well,

i’m an equal

opportunity entertainer

(and because last year i was mean and filled one with carrots).

the other two

were just decorations.

hanging decorations.

there was even

an incredible

batman cake:

batman cake.

by the time

maddy woke up,

the yard was

completely transformed

and she was ready

to party.

soon her friends arrived

maddy pointing at her friends.

friends on the hill.

spiderman and batman.

spiderman and batman.

then lunch was served:

bat sandwiches.

kids on a couch.

there was a hunt

for bats

hidden around the front yard

(hidden by brooke and tom)

and of course,

a piñata attack

oliver swings at the piñata.

jared goes after the piñata.

patrick ready to take a swing.

bella's turn.

maddy taking a crack at the piñata.

when the kids

couldn’t get the

job done, a few

adults stepped in

to help

(and to relive their childhoods),

brooke takes a swing.

deb ready to take on the piñata.

helping out the kids.

and the contents

of the poor batman

piñata spilled out

onto the grass

and the children

rejoiced, grabbing

as many pieces of

candy as they could,

much to the dismay

of their parents.

picking up piñata contents.

picking up piñata contents.

picking up piñata contents.

(the peanuts went largely untouched).

just when

everyone thought the

party was winding down,

batman arrived

batman arrives.

(this was a surprise for the kids)

and maddy went

totally apeshit.

seeing batman for the first time.

she was so incredibly happy

that she had me

in tears, thinking

at once that

it’s pretty fucking

incredible that anything

in the world

can make a kid

so ecstatic, and as

always, thinking

how awful it is that


will never get

to see that

look on her

daughter’s face.

maddy was in total

disbelief, standing as

close to batman as possible,

maddy's batman cape.

batman & maddy.

reaching out

to touch him

in an attempt to

ensure that he wasn’t

a 2pac-like hologram

with batman.

batman & maddy.

batman & maddy.

at a certain point

i think she forgot

that anyone else

but she and

batman were at

the party, because

each time he

asked a question,

she jumped in with

the answer before

anyone else even had

a chance

(ex: batman: “name one of my enemies.” maddy: “joker!” batman: “name another.” maddy: “penguin!” “the riddler!” batman: “where do i live?” maddy: “gotham city!” and so on…).

she was a rapt listener:

listening to batman.

instructions from batman.


waiting for instructions.

awaiting each

set of instructions

for the batgames

and an eager participant:

so excited.



she rarely left

batman’s side,

and spent a ton

of time asking him

questions that

batman tried to answer

for her as he

attempted to finish

his routine in the

one-hour time period

we had agreed upon.

(funny story…i found batman on the internet (thanks to a suggestion from my friend, the male beecher) and called up the booking company in an attempt to get him to maddy’s party. the woman who answered the phone was so soft spoken that i could barely hear her. she described the services batman would provide for the party, then went for the upsell, explaining that in addition to batman (and for an additional fee), the joker could also come to the party. he would arrive early and steal presents, cake and other things, at which time batman would rush in and save the day. i was laughing so hard that i had to mute the phone as i listened to this woman with the quiet voice describe something that would surely terrify and scar everyone in attendance. i clearly made the correct decision by opting for batman only).

before leaving

to protect

gotham city from

his enemies

(or so he told the kids),

batman put maddy

on his shoulders

batman & maddy.

batman & maddy.

batman & maddy.

and led everyone

in a chorus of

happy birthday

maddy wasn’t ready

for him to leave,

but the “riding gotham

city of evil doers” explanation

made perfect sense

to her, so she waved

him goodbye.

soon after, the party

wound down

and most of her

friends were on their

way back to their lairs.

a few folks remained,

and we took

a swings at the

adult piñata.

kelly about to take a swing.

ashley taking a swing.

taking a swing.

it proved to be a

little too challenging

for most, so we

lowered it and let

everyone have a

few more cracks at it

kelly takes a swing.

jorge taking on the piñata.

elizabeth taking on the piñata.

tricia taking on the batman piñata.

bob ready to take another swing.

melanie with the adult piñata.

taking on the "adult" piñata.

with the party over,

it's over.

it was time to

bring out maddy’s present:

maddy's new (used) bike before it was cleaned up.

maddy had told us

that the one thing

she wanted was a batman

bike, and after months

of assuming that it

would be fairly easy

to find one, i discovered that

they are no longer

sold new,

and that to find a

used one is nearly impossible.

my mom, stepdad and i

drove all over

east los, searching

bike shops and thrift

stores for the one

thing that maddy

really wanted.

after finding it,

grandma and grandpa

decided it would

be the perfect gift

from them…

we took it to one

of the bike shops

we had visited

earlier, and had

a dude fix up

maddy’s new/used bike,

which she rode

for a bunch

of curious onlookers:

maddy on her new bike.

later that night

as she was headed

for bed,

her eyes glazed,

her head weary,

maddy asked me,

“why was batman at my house today?”

the whole thing

must have been

an incredible blur

to her, and the fact

that batman, who

until her party,

was a two-dimensional

being who existed only

on the pages of

her comic books or

on her ipad was

actually in her backyard,

well, her mind

was clearly blown.

i answered,

“batman was at your birthday party because he wanted to wish you a happy birthday!”

she stared at me

as if i had

just spoken

to her in a

foreign language…

“am i five now?”

i laughed, knowing

that i have confused her

once again.

“no,” i explained,

“you just turned four. we had another party for you so you could celebrate with your friends and everyone else who couldn’t make it to phoenix.”

“oooooooh. it was so cooooooool that batman was here. i love you, daddy.”

“i love you too, maddy.”

as everyone

left and went

off to bed,

i kept myself up,

wondering if i would

ever be able

to top this day

for her…

i may not

be able to, but

i will sure as hell

do my best.

time to

start planning for

her 5th birthday…

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