Monday, October 10, 2011

Quinlan's Birthday

My baby turned 9 on Sunday. Given that Quin has had some rough times of late (particularly with respect to making friends at school), we really wanted his birthday to be special for him. That was a little difficult given the lack of friends and family to celebrate with him, but we did our best anyway. Our plan for the weekend was to let him do what he wanted. On Friday night, that involved going out for pizza and then heading over to Temple Street Night Market. Each of the boys got a portion of their allowance, and we set them loose to negotiate for whatever they wanted. Unfortunately, Quin hadn’t been really…uh… “regular” last week, so he was not having much fun. He did manage to find lots of new Pokemon cards, but other than that, he just wanted to go home (the fact that the only toilets in the area were squatters did not help his outlook – although perhaps it may have helped his condition if he had only been brave enough to try). Berkley, on the other hand, was a shark; when the vendors would type a price into the calculator (an efficient way of communicating when language isn’t shared), he would type a lower one right back. He even managed to walk away several times when he couldn’t get the deal he wanted. By the end of the night, Berkley had scored a backpack full of deals.

Since Quin’s issues hadn’t resolved by Saturday morning, his choice was to hang around the house all day. Quin got money from most of his relatives and from us, which he adored. We thought he’d be bummed by not having a bunch of presents to open, but the way he saw it, getting money enabled him to buy one of the massive Lego projects he’s been eyeing, rather than getting quite a few smaller ones. On Sunday, he finished the one he bought on Saturday, so we’ll be going back sometime soon to spend the rest of his birthday money on another large Lego. As a bonus, all of our sitting around on Saturday paid off for Quin who is now back to normal – hurrah.

On his actual birthday, we went to the Hong Kong Zoo – Quin’s choice. They had quite a few monkeys and lots of birds, but that’s just about it. Not quite as exciting as we might have hoped for his big day. After a tram ride down to Wan Chai (which took way longer than it should have as our tram got stuck in a traffic jam created by the convergence of two separate protests – one in opposition to the current government and one in support of it), we stopped off for some more pizza – again Quin’s choice (astute readers might note a correlation between Quin's dietary choices and his "issues"; to which we respond: yes - we know. We're working on it now that the birthday weekend is over).

All in all, not a bad birthday weekend, but it was topped off by the surprise that Doug and I had been planning for a few weeks. On Monday morning, we had the boys get up and get ready for school, at which point we told them that instead of going to school, we were taking them to Ocean Park.

Ocean Park is a combination zoo/aquarium/amusement park. The boys agreed it was the best surprise ever. The aquarium was spectacular (probably the best I’ve ever seen – even better than the one in Boston), and the rides were just right for the boys. Despite the rain in the afternoon, it was a really fun day for all – just what we wanted for Quin and what the boys needed.

One critical mistake: putting the boys together on the first roller coaster ride. The ratcheting noise it made going up (in my mind, one of the best noises ever as it signals the fun to come) scared the dickens out of Berkley. He was convinced the coaster was broken, and he was going to die. As the coaster sits on the cliff looking out at the South China Sea (the picture below gives you an idea of what you see as you summit), this was quite terrifying for him. As a result, he preferred sticking to some of the less intense rides.

Quin, on the other hand, was in his element. He was fearless in the rides he tried, and even went on some of them by himself when Doug and I were too weak stomached to join him (in the picture below, he's in the back car - all by himself).

And I guess that’s what it’s all about: seeing your kids blossom into independence and confidence. While there have been trials and tribulations involved with coming over here, seeing Quin navigate through Hong Kong and deal with all of the issues he’s confronted here has made me so proud to be his mother. Happy Birthday Quinlan!


  1. Sounds like a lot of fun - thrills - and excitement for Quin's birthday. So happy it was a great day/weekend. Love to all - Mom and Dad/Grandma and Grandpa.

  2. To all,
    Sounded like a great weekend and what a surprise for the boys. I remember going to an amusement park in RI with Shannon when she was Quins age and Uncle Frank going on the roller coaster with her.

    Glad you had a good bday Quin.

    Aunt Trish

  3. Who was taking those pictures . Scary to me just looking at them. This post showed all the depths of parenting and most of all the deep love you share, and we all share with you.
    Dad and Judy

  4. Happy Birthday Quin!

  5. Sounds like the 9th B-day in Hong Kong ended successfully-when I started to read this I was a little concerned! The Monday surprise was a GREAT plan on your parts!!

  6. Happy belated birthday, Quin! It's so great to see you all having adventures in Hong Kong & Macau!

    Best, Tim

  7. Ha Ha! I read this to Tucker (he would like to wish Quin a happy birthday) and he ran away saying he, "would not go on that!"... Glad you guys are having a good time... Happy Birthday to you too Shannon (either today or tomorrow depending on what time it is there). Hope you get the perfect meal too!