It's Carnaval! (That's how we spell it over here).
But sorry to disappoint all those of you hoping for a series of photos of carnival queens wearing nothing but body paint and a big smile - you'll just have to make do with David's plasticine figure. Because in this household, Carnaval is merrily passing us by almost unnoticed. In fact, if it wasn't for the fact that the kids are off school for the week and the roads are deserted, I wouldn't even know there was anything special happening at all. São Paulo just isn't a party town. Those who love to have fun have all packed themselves off to Rio for the duration, because that's where there are endless street parties and processions and samba bands and what have you. And those who love to avoid the fun have all packed themselves off to the hills for some peace and quiet. And those who have to write for foreign newspapers are sitting at their desks as if it's just another working week - because that's what it is.
And anyway, for us this week is all about something even more important than Carnaval - David's fifth birthday. It's not something I'm ever likely to forget anyway, but he's had me counting down to it since something like mid-November so I'm almost as relieved as he is to finally see the actual day arrive. In fact, celebrations began last week. As so many people will be away this week we decided to have his party after school last Friday and after much discussion and planning and a lot of parental vetoes we settled on inviting all the boys from his class - making a perfectly manageable total of five. And I have to say it all went incredibly well.
For once I managed to over-cater by no more than 20% or so - so thankfully we don't have to live off stale cheese buns and Doritos for the next week. The cake was eaten in its entirety, David was given some lovely presents, and the afternoon's only casualty was me, burning a finger and thumb in attempting to remove a sparkler from the cake. Our previous attempts at hosting children's parties in the house have resulted in several cuts and bruises, a finger trapped in a door and even a trip to A&E for some cranial stitches so this one was a piece of cake (ha ha).
Moving on to the birthday itself and the day began pleasantly late with a treasure hunt courtesy of James, who had spent a great deal of time hiding presents and clues all around the lounge the night before. David loved it. Every clue was exciting and every present was "absolutely awesome".
Sadly, the rain then decided to come down and as I'd promised to take the boys out for lunch to somewhere half-an-hour's walk away, things were not quite as perfect as I could have hoped for. Still, when Helen decided she could afford to take a two hour lunch break and join us, we went anyway. And really, it was only drizzle. It certainly didn't stop us enjoying the walk or the food at the end of it.
So, that's David pretty much dealt with. Now I can move on to James, who is already planning what he wants for his birthday. However, today being Fat Tuesday, I think I owe it to myself to give up planning birthdays for Lent - that ought to give me a few weeks of peace and quiet. Although now that I think of it, I should probably start hunting around soon for somewhere I can buy huge big Easter eggs. I suspect there will be requests...