My grandmother turned 88 today.
After a huge dinner with the rest of the extended family – including my 9 uncles and aunts with their spouses, children (my cousins) and their children’s children (err, quite a number of my cousins have their own families too) – we gathered around a row of tables for the mandatory (out of tune) birthday song and cake.
And that was when the drama began.
Little Luke – my older cousin’s three-year old son – bounced happily on my grandmother’s lap, clapping and waving his hands around wildly while the rest of the members of the new generation (more of my cousins’ kids – comprising another three-year old boy, two one-year old girls and one eight-year old dude) looked on.
Till now, I can’t get over how noisy little kids can be. They look so cute and innocent in small, bite-sized packages, until they open their mouths and … OH. MY. GOODNESS.
Oh yeah, I digressed.
Little Luke eventually couldn’t hold back the sight of the huge cream-filled cake in front of him, leaned forward and glomped down an entire mouthful of strawberry cream straight off the cake.
The response from the rest of the extended family looking on was a mixture of surprised yelps and some laughter. Little Luke, obviously pleased with the response he got, flashed a cream-smothered grin and proceeded to bend over the cake for a second mouthful.
My older cousin eventually responded (where was she the first time round?!) by running forward and grabbing the little fellow before he could attempt a third round. But alas, attempting to restrain Little Luke was a major struggle. Even with her firm grip on Luke, the latter had still managed to brush the tip of his tongue against the cake for his third helping of cream.
The extended family had eventually decide to ignore the little cream-obsessed monster and launched into an off-tune version of ‘Happy Birthday’, followed by a shower of saliva spray as members of the new generation (the little kids) blew out the candles.
Little Luke continued to bounce around on my grandmother’s lap, clapping his hands happily and flashing his (still cream-filled) grin at everyone around.
In the midst of the din around, my grandmother suddenly gave a yell. This was soon followed by another yell, and finally an extended call of distress.
Some of us dashed over, only to spot a huge wet patch of I-don’t-know-what on her right pant leg. Some of the sliminess was dripping off Little Luke’s right arm. Puke? We didn’t know. Little Luke was still happily bouncing around on my grandmother’s left leg while my grandmother continued to whine.
A few seconds later, Little Luke flashed another grin. This time, his grin was peppered with a mixture of strawberry cream and some remnants of puke. Plus, the stench was beginning to diffuse around the room like wildfire.
I could no longer see up-close what was going on at the scene because by then, I had already backed up at least twenty-feet away from the source of that offending stench (Little Luke and my grandmother’s soaked pant leg). Geez, I totally hated the stench of puke.
The birthday lady and the little puking machine were quickly escorted to the toilets for a quick clean-up while the waiters at the restaurant took the cake away for slicing.
Considering Little Luke’s close proximity to the cake, nobody actually knows whether he had puked on the cake or not. But from the looks of it, everyone is assuming he did because everyone was suddenly so reluctant to eat the cake after that.
Me? I didn’t touch a single slice.
Um, Happy Birthday to my Grandmother anyway.
And what’s an extended family gathering without some drama?